Baisakhi is celebrated as a harvest festival by the large farming community in the states of Punjab and Haryana. Since Baisakhi falls in the middle of the month of April (April 13), Baisakhi marks the harvest time of the rabi (winter) crops. Farmers are loaded with cash at this time and are in full mood and spirit to enjoy the fruits of hard work as they celebrate Baisakhi Festival.
Festival of Baisakhi is celebrated as a Thanksgiving Day by the farmers. People wake up early on the day and take bath in rivers or pond water and pay a visit to the temple or gurdwara (Sikh worship place). Farmers thank god for the bountiful harvest and pray for prosperity in future also. Many people also perform charity on the day as a custom.
As the day progresses, loud cries of “Jatta aayi Baisakhi” reverberate in the sky as men and women move towards the field to celebrate the harvest festival. As a tradition men dress up in colourful lungi, kurta and pagri while womenfolk clad themselves in salwar kameez or lehenga. They further adorn themselves with loads of jewellery.
Major attraction of Baisakhi celebrations in villages is the performance of energetic bhangra and gidda dance by men and women respectively. This very popular traditional folk dance is performed in-groups on the fast beat of dhol. Dancers perform everyday farming scenes of sowing, harvesting, winnowing and gathering of crops through zestful movements of the body to the accompaniment of ballads.
Later during the day, people exchange greetings with friends, neighbours and dear ones and relish best of world famous Punjabi cuisine.
Colouful Baisakhi Fairs are organized at several places in Punjab to mark the harvest festival of Baisakhi. Performance of bhangra and gidda dance besides other recreational activities make Baisakhi melas a major crowd puller. People also indulge in shopping and eating spree in the numerous stalls set up in the fairs.