Attractions of Baisakhi Processions or Nagar Kirtans
Nagar Kirtans is the term most popularly used for traditional Processions lead by Panj Pyaras. Here, Nagar means town and Kirtan is a term that means singing of hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book. The term, Nagar Kirtan therefore effectively describes the most essential feature of Baisakhi Procession, which is recitation of hymns from Guru Granth Sahib through the streets of the town. During the Baisakhi processions children and youth demonstrate their skills in martial arts to the accompaniment of musical bands, making the event more colorful.
Popularity of Baisakhi Nagar Kirtans can be gauged from the fact that the entire route of the procession is decorated with gates, buntings, streamers and flowers. Everywhere the procession moves, it receives warm reception from the people. Several religious, social and cultural societies besides market associations put up langars and chabeels at different places to mark the event.
Baisakhi Processions end with a discourse by senior members of Sikh religion who enlighten people on the significance of the tradition of Nagar Kirtans on important days in Sikh history. Children are taught to perform acts of charity on this auspicious occasion and are expected to continue to do so all through their life.
For people in the villages of Punjab, Nagar Kirtan is the last opportunity for relaxing before starting of the harvesting of corn. Vaisakhi processions are a special feature of the temples of Anandpur Sahib and Muktsar.
Baisakhi Processions around the World
Baisakhi Processions are carried out with much gusto in countries where there is a significant Sikh population. Vasaikhi Processions of Toronto, Canada is particularly marked. Here, after the morning ardas, procession is lead through important streets of Toronto and culminates with speeches by religious men.