Belief Beat

Thousands of Sikhs from around the world have gathered in north India and Pakistan to celebrate Baisakhi Festival 2010, a three-day religious holiday combining a harvest and New Year’s celebration. (The festival, sometimes spelled Besaki, Vaisakhi, or Vasakhi, is also celebrated by some Hindus.) I’ve never reported on this holiday before, but it sounds like fun — certainly a happier occasion for a Sikh gathering than the recent protest against a visiting Indian politician in New York City.

The Times of India reports that some of the pilgrims from India have had been encountering visa problems in Pakistan. It’s not clear whether this is a religious, political or security concern — knowing the region, I would guess all of the above, especially given that a previous story reported that Pakistan had to cut short a February pilgrimage after two Sikhs were abducted and killed by the Taliban.

In America, some immigrant groups are holding diaspora community celebrations, including one in Daytona Beach, Florida. Hmmm… sounds like a story that could use a travel budget!

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