Across the World Sikhs Celebrate Vaisakhi: A Time of Reflection and Renewal
Sikhs across the world will celebrate Vaisakhi, a day of historical significance that paved a way for the future. It was on this day in 1699 that Guru Gobind Singh ji, the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, established the Khalsa comprised of Sikh men and women initiated into the faith. On this day Sikhs received an external identity to bind them with the principles and discipline of Sikhism. With the establishment of Khalsa, all differences of caste, creed, gender and class were removed.
Culturally, Vaisakhi marks the celebration of the harvest; to welcome the new and give thanks for the bounty that is life sustaining. It is a time for celebration marked by prayers, parades and gatherings. The excitement is palpable as the Sikh community worldwide gathers to celebrate this important day.
It is a time of reflection and renewal. We look back on men and women throughout Sikh history who have stood up for civil and human rights of others at the cost of their own lives. As Sikhs we renew our commitment to be saint soldiers and to treat all with dignity and respect. Sikhs remember the edict they have received to be honest, hardworking and stand up in defence of those who need it the most. We remember the sacrifices made to practice our faith and keep our external identity. Even today, throughout the world, Sikhs continue to fight to be able to keep and carry their articles of faith.
Many people continue to live in a world full of injustice and oppression, so at this time of reflection, it is especially important to not take for granted the rights that many have: the right to free expression and free practice of religion. Many sacrifices have been made for us to be able to be who we are, and it is important we not forget that. We remember not to be afraid to stand up for what’s right, and fight for those who cannot fight on their own. Above all, we remember to use faith as a force for good, and to bring people together in harmony.
Rucha Kavathe, Health & Communications Manager at UNITED SIKHS