Guru Nanak Jayanti also known as Gurpurab is celebrated as the birth anniversary of the first guru of Sikhs and the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev. Guru Nanak Dev was born at Roi-Bhoi-di Talawandi (now in Lahore, Pakistan) on the full moon day in the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar. At Nanakana Sahib, the birth place of Guru Nanak Dev, is situated a Gurudwara and a holy tank (Sarovar). Devotees in large number visit this holy place to celebrate the birth of the Guru. This is one of the most important festivals of the Sikhs all around the world which is celebrated with full zeal and enthusiasm.
The celebrations of this day commence three days prior to the actual celebration of the festival. It begins with reading the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs. This recitation of the verses continuously up to the actual date of celebration of the festival is known as ‘Akhand Path’. The culmination of the Akhand Path marks the celebration of the Guru Nanak Jayanti or Gurpurab. The main celebrations are held at the Golden Temple, Amritsar. On this day, the holy book ‘Sri Guru Granth Sahib’ is adorned with flowers and taken out on a procession in the morning, which is known as ‘Prabhat Pheri’. The Prabhat Pheri starts from the Gurudwara Sahib and moves to different locations, in which the devotees sing hymns (“Shabads”) and returns to the Gurudwara Sahib. The ‘Panj Pyaras’ or the Five Beloved Ones lead the procession, each carrying the Sikh flag called the ‘Nishan Sahib’. One of the attractions of the processions on Guru Nanak Jayanti is the ‘Gatka’ team. Gatka is a form of Martial Arts that displays the skills of using swords and shields.
Several people belonging to the Sikh community take this auspicious day as an opportunity to participate in the ‘Karseva’ (a service to the community). This involves helping in preparing the community lunch and distributing the same as the “Guru ka Langar”. The traditional Karah Parshad is also offered to everyone.
Free sweets and community lunch “Langar” are offered to all the people at the Gurudwara Sahib on Guru Nanak Jayanti. This year, Guru Nanak Jayanti, the sacred festival of the Sikhs will be celebrated on the 5th November.
How to celebrate Guru Nanak Jayanti at home?
- Wake up early in the morning, dress up in new traditional clothes and visit the Gurudwara Sahib to offer prayer (Ardaas).
- Narrate the story behind celebrating Guru Nanak Jayanti.
- Together with your children read the hymns from the holy ‘Sri Guru Granth Sahib’.
- Involve your children in brightening your house with earthen lamps and candles.
- Prepare the customary ‘Karah Parshad’ and distribute amongst one and all.
So, on this auspicious occasion, devote yourself towards the worship of almighty.