PAÑCHAMĪ, lit. the fifth day of either phase (vadī or sudī) of the moon. Pañchamī of the sudī, i.e. the brighter, phase is considered an auspicious day in the Hindu tradition, with some ritualistic observances attached to it. In the three Sikh hymns entitled Thitīṅ/ Thītī devoted to the lunar days of the month, the point commonly made in verses on Pañchamī is that the people are too engrossed in the worldy pursuits to take to remembrance of the Divine which alone can bring real joy and bliss. Gurū Nānak says that people are mad about the world and the creation made up of the five elements, and fail to understand the Incomprehensible Unattached Being. Gurū Arjan has affirmed that those saints are really great who understand the reality of the five elements and, thus, get rid of the five lusts. Men are exhorted in all the three compositions to observe Pañchamī not by performing any rituals but by living unattached in the material world and by being devoted to the Name. By custom, however, Pañchamī, particularly of the bright phase, is observed in some of the gurdwārās when special dīvāns take place. Devotees forgather from distant places to offer homage and make ablutions in the holy tanks. The Basant Pañchamī (fifth day of the bright phase of the moon in the month of Māgh) falling in late January or early February is marked by special celebrations, especially at the historical Gurdwārā at Chheharṭā, about three miles from Amritsar, and at Gurdwārā Dūkh Nivāran Sāhib, in Paṭiālā. On that day women generally dressed in yellow garments and men wearing yellow coloured turbans join the festival. In Lahore, a largely attended fair used to be held until the partition of 1947 at the Samādhī of Haqīqat Rāi, the martyr, who was executed on the Basant Pañchamī day in AD 1734.

Tāran Siṅgh