Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, April 13, greeted the nation on the occasion of Baisakhi and the Odia New Year or Maha Bishuba Pana Sankranti. Baisakhi, also known as Vaishaki, is celebrated as the annual harvest festival that marks the beginning of the Sikh New Year. It is usually celebrated annually on April 13 or 14.
The Sikh New Year celebrations
The Baisakhi day marks the Sikh New Year and commemorates the formation of Khalsa panth of warriors under Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. The festival is therefore celebrated with much pomp and show, full of enthusiasm and zest in Punjab as well as in the neighbouring states like Haryana.
Among Hindus, the day is celebrated as Vaishaki, the Solar New Year that celebrates the spring harvest. Historically, Baisakhi day in 1919 marks much importance for the most brutal and gruesome incident, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre where the British officials with no prior warning fired on a gathering, killing hundreds of the people gathered there.
PM Modi greets the nation
Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Modi said in Hindi, Odia and English: "Many wishes to the countrymen on the auspicious occasion of Baisakhi. May the festival of new aspirations bring new energy and new enthusiasm in everyone's life."
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh also posted a video message on Twitter and urged the people of the state to celebrate the festival inside their homes and pray for the people of the country.
"I urge all to celebrate the auspicious festival of #VaisakhiAtHome and do an #ArdasAt11 am for Sarbat Da Bhala," he said.
The Prime Minister also wished: "Happy #OdiaNewYear and Maha Bishuba Pana Sankranti. May the coming year bring happiness and good health in everyone's lives."
Pana Sankranti in Odisha
Pana Sankranti or the Maha Vishuba Sankranti is the traditional New Year day festival of Buddhists and Hindus in the state of Odisha.
Believed to be the birthday of Hanuman, Pana Sankranthi is celebrated with visits offered to Shiva, Shakti, or Hanuman temples. People take a holy dip in the river and participate in melas, street dance or acrobatic performances. The celebrations end with the fire-walk, where volunteers sprint over a bed of burning coal while being cheered with music and songs.
Lockdown shuts down celebrations
With the national lockdown extended till the end of April, the people are strictly prohibited from entertaining all sorts of celebrations regarding the day. Most religious places still remain closed and people are asked to conduct minimal celebrations while remaining in their houses.