In 1699 the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh, chose Vaisakhi as the occasion to transform the Sikhs into a family of soldier saints, known as the Khalsa Panth.
Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa in front of thousands at Anandpur Sahib. During the Vaisakhi festival Guru Gobind Singh came out of a tent carrying a sword. He challenged any Sikh who was prepared to give his life for his faith to come into the tent.
I am now a part of the khalsa
One man bravely volunteered he went inside the tent. There was a swish of a sword. The Guru returned alone with his sword covered in blood. He then requested another volunteer and repeated the same action four times until five men disappeared into the tent.
The crowd was very concerned until they saw five men return wearing turbans with the Guru. These five men became known as the Panj Piare, or 'Beloved Five'.
The men were then baptised into the Khalsa by the Guru. He sprinkled them with Amrit ('immortalising nectar': the Sikh term for holy water) and said prayers. This is the basis of the Sikh baptism ceremony.
Vaisakhi is celebrated in the same way as it was celebrated at the time of the Guru. Gudwaras are decorated and visited. Parades, dancing and singing happen throughout the day. Many Sikhs choose to be baptised into the Khalsa brotherhood on this day.