Baisakhi is celebrated throughout India as a harvest festival and is marked by community gatherings characterised by much merriment, singing and dancing.In the North
In Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, Baisakhi marks the harvesting of the winter rabi crop. This is a time of hard work but also a time when the community gathers together to mark the end of a successful agricultural season. In Punjab, the robust farming communities celebrate with rambunctious songs and dances. While the men dance the traditional Bhangra with energy and zest, the women folk join in with the gidha. Melas or fairs are held over a couple of days and people participate in the fun, games and entertainment.
Homes are cleaned and decorated with garlands of mango leaves and marigold flowers. People begin the day with prayers and offerings of thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest. The offerings are usually in the form of the first crop harvested. Prayers are also offered invoking the Gods for plentiful rains and harvest in the upcoming agricultural season.
In Kashmir, a ceremonial bath and general festivities mark the beginning of the New Year.In the East
In Bengal, April 14th is celebrated as Naba Varsha. Like much of the country, the New Year is a time for new beginnings. After a ritual dip in the Ganges or a purifying bath, prayers are offered to the Lord. New projects are initiated and houses are cleaned and decorated.
In Assam, the New Year coincides with the Goru Bihu or cattle festival. On this day, cattle are bathed and decorated with flowers.In the South
In Tamil Nadu, the New Year is marked with the ritually purifying bath. People wear new clothes and decorate their houses with marigold, mango leaves and jasmine flowers. Prayers are offered to family deities for a prosperous year. New projects are initiated on this auspicious day. Many traditional food items are prepared and in the evening, families share in the vadais and payasams that have been cooking all day in the family kitchen.
In Kerala, the New Year is called Vishu. People give gifts to little children in the family. They also give alms to the less fortunate. People decorate their homes with flowers and offer prayers for a bountiful harvest in the forthcoming agricultural season.