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Happy Baisakhi! Find out why Neel and his family will eat “until they are stuffed to the brim”

"India is filled with colors, 1652 languages and countless festivals. Right now is the time where the festivals happen the most because the spring is starting. One such festival which is coming up soon is Baisakhi. It is celebrated by Sikhs and Hindus all over India and the rest of the world. Like Easter, Baisakhi is a spring festival and marks the start of the Solar new year.

For Sikhs, this is a special day, as on this day Guru Gobind Singh Ji became the tenth guru, and created the Khalsa tradition. They go to Gurudwara, do singing and dancing in processions, called Nagar Kirtan, and have a special meal with family.

For Hindus, Baisakhi is a special day too, as on this day, goddess Ganga, a personification of the river Ganga, descended to Earth, irrigating the fields and saving Earth from a fatal drought. In her honor, devotees take a dip at the banks of the river Ganga, and pray.

Baisakhi has a special place in the independence struggle of India. On one particular Baisakhi, 13 April 1919, General Reginald Dyer, committed a massacre in Jallianwala Bagh, killing 379 civilians and injuring over 1,200 people. This polarized both the British and Indian people, sparking Indians to revolt and ask for independence from the British raj.

In North India, Baisakhi indicates the starting of one of the most important harvest seasons in India. Farmers sow the seeds in the winter and harvest them in the spring. A few plants that people grow are: various lentils, Mangos, Wheat, Eggplants, etc. The festival usually lies on the 13 or 14 April every year. This year it is happening on Tuesday 13 April.

Food connects everyone together and Baisakhi is one such festival that encourages people to eat in large amounts until they are stuffed to the brim. A very popular dish which is eaten on Baisakhi is Kadhi. This dish is from North India and is made with yogurt, gram flour, and numerous spices. This is my sister’s favourite dish and she always waits for Baisakhi to come so she can eat it. A popular drink which is drunk on Baisakhi is Mango Lassi, it is smooth, creamy and sweet. Mango Lassi is very easy to make and you can find many recipes online to make it.

Festivals in India are meant for the community to come together and bond. I love Baisakhi because of all the history behind it, how many different people celebrate the same festival differently, and obviously the super tasty food which I love."

This article was written by Neel Dalela, Grade 5, standing between his sister and his mother in the photo.