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Baisakhi Mela

Sikh New Year festival, established in the 16th century by Guru Amar Das to take place at the same time as the Hindu festival of Baisakhi, which celebrates the barley harvest in spring.

 Baisakhi Mela is held on 13 April, and is the only Sikh festival with a fixed date; others are set by the lunar calendar. As well as being a religious occasion, when Sikhs gather to listen to Sikh teachings, it has become an animal fair, and a memorial to the Amritsar Massacre of 1919. 

Its importance was emphasized when the tenth guru, Gobind Singh, chose the Baisakhi gathering in 1699 to introduce the concept of the Khalsa (Sikh order). Baisakhi Mela is, therefore, an occasion for political as well as religious speeches.

On the day, worshippers will shower or bathe before private prayers. They will then visit thegurdwara (Sikh temple) for a service. In a special ceremony, the flag outside the gurdwara, the Nishan Sahib, is replaced, and new initiates are taken into the Khalsa. Gurdwara committee members are also elected during Baisakhi.