SEREMBAN: The Sikh community will be celebrating Vaisakhi today to mark the birth of the Khalsa order in 1699 by the 10th master Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
The religious celebration, considered the most important in the Sikh calendar, will be centred on gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship) nationwide.
Activities actually began several days ago with the recitation of the holy scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
Although this year’s celebration has been subdued due to the pandemic, many Sikhs still turned up to offer prayers and take part in communal services, which included preparing vegetarian meals in stages throughout the days.
Gurdwara Sahib Seremban secretary Prabhdial Singh said it was on this day 322 years ago that Guru Gobind Singh created the Khalsa through the Amrit Sanchaar (baptism) ceremony after which Sikh men began using “Singh” (lion) with their names while the women had “Kaur” (princess).
This, among others, was to put an end to caste discrimination and promote equality.
The Khalsa, Prabhdial said, are Sikhs who have undergone baptism according to their religious teachings.
Baptised Sikhs, among others, steadfastly hold to the concept of equality among human beings, advocate virtuous and truthful living and reject caste superiority.
In Punjab, which is considered the bread-basket of India, Vaisakhi is also celebrated to mark the harvest festival.
Prabhdial said in some Sikh communities, the festival was celebrated yesterday while others will celebrate the occasion over the weekend.
He also expressed his gratitude to the authorities for allowing gurdwaras to open this year despite the pandemic.
“Sikhs could not gather at the gurdwara last year due to the movement control order.
“Since we have been allowed to celebrate this year, we will ensure the congregation adheres to all guidelines, ” he said.
He said as with previous years, the Nishaan Sahib Salami or the hoisting of the Sikh flag ceremony, would be carried out in the courtyard in the morning.
“We will also have the singing of religious hymns after breakfast.
“The celebration will conclude after lunch when Guru Ka Langgar is served, ” he said.
Prabhdial said due to the pandemic, other programmes held during Vaisakhi such as annual games and demonstrations of Sikh martial arts and exhibitions are cancelled.
On Monday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin joined Sikhs at a high tea held to mark the occasion at the Gurwara Sahib Petaling Jaya.
Muhyiddin said Vaisakhi was not only a religious festival for the Sikhs but also an opportunity for Malaysians of all races and religions to appreciate the nation’s multiracial and multireligious society.