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Sikhs celebrate harvest festival in northern India

STORY: Sikhs in India’s northern Punjab state celebrated the harvest festival of Baisakhi on Thursday (April 13).

The festival marks the onset of the harvesting season for the farmers in Punjab and is observed as a thanksgiving day.

After the celebrations, the farmers start cutting the rabi (winter) crop and look forward to a better yield with each passing year.

Devotees thronged the holy Sikh shrine, Harmandir Sahib gurudwara or Golden Temple, in Amritsar city to offer prayers. Devotees also took dips in the holy pond at the shrine.

Punjabis – as the natives of Punjab are called – and Sikhs celebrate the festival with much fervour.

The day is also significant as the 10th Sikh Guru (spiritual master), Guru Gobind Singh formed Khalsa, or army of Sikh warriors, to fight the Mughals.

College students dressed up in traditional Sikh attires dressed up in colourful attires and danced to the tunes of ‘Gidda’- a popular folk dance of women in Punjab – and sang traditional songs.

Sikhs make up about 2 percent of Hindu-majority India’s population of 1.3 billion but they have majority in Punjab.

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