Vaisakhi, also called Baisakhi, is the festival which celebrates the founding of the Sikh community, the Khalsa, in 1699.

It is celebrated on either April 13 or 14 every year, with the 2022 festival occuring on Thursday, April 14.

Vaisakhi has cultural importance as a celebration of spring harvest primarily in Northern India.

Other Indian cultures and diaspora celebrate this festival, including the British Sikh community.

Here's what you need to know about Vaisakhi.

Why is Vaisakhi celebrated?

Aside from being a harvest festival, Vaisakhi has significance of celebrating the founding of the Khalsa order.

According to Britannica, a fair was held at Anandpur in 1699 and all Sikhs were ordered to attend.

Guru Gobind Singh emerged from a tent at this festival with a sword and demanded the head of one of his loyal followers.

One eventually came forward and was taken behind a screen before the Guru came back out with his sword dripping with blood.

He repeated this process for another four men, where it had appeared five loyal Sikhs agreed to die for him.

However, the screen was pulled back and all five were very much alive, with five goats having been killed instead.

The five volunteers became the Panj Piare, the “Cherished Five,” who had proved that their loyalty was beyond question.

Guru Gobind Singh explained that he desired the Panj Piare to be the beginning of a new order, the Khalsa.

How is Vaisakhi celebrated?

The festival is marked around the world with processions known as a nagar kirtan.

These processions are led through streets, and religious hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book) are recited.

In India the main celebration takes place at Talwandi Sabo in Punjab. This is where Guru Gobind Singh stayed for nine months, and where he completed the recompilation of the Sikh holy book.

Additionally, Sikhs will go to a Gurdwara in the morning for a service and have a meal with family and friends in the evening.

What are Vaisakhi traditions?

Traditional colours for clothing for Vaisakhi are yellow and orange, according to World Sikh.

This is because they represent the "spirit of rebirth and sacrifice of the Panj Pyare".

The colours are also symbolic of "joy and celebration", which is why they're worn by those observing the festival.