Guru Nanak birthday, Gurupurab or Guru Nanak Jayanti is one of the most important days for Sikh communities. The day observes the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Ji- the first Sikh Guru and the founder of Sikhism.
In Sikhism, Gurupurab or Gurupurb stands for the festival of gurus. It is also known as Prakash Utsav. The festival unfolds beautiful aspects Sikh community holds. It gives the society a message of hard work and beautiful preachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Rituals and ceremonies on Guru Nanak Jayanti
Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday is celebrated on Kartik Purnima every year. The day falls as per Hindu Lunar calendar. In 2019, the day will fall on 12th November.
Ahead of the actual ceremony, Sikh community undertakes a series of rituals. They perform Akhand path in which people recite the holy words written in their holy scripture Guru Granth Sahib for two days without any interruptions. The path takes place either in Gurdwaras or individually at people’s home.
A few days ahead in advance, every Gurudwara is decked beautifully with lights and flowers.
The second day marks Prabhat Pheris that means early morning rounds of Gurdwaras. Devotees visit the sacred place early in the morning and chant verses and hymns from Guru Granth Sahib. Then a beautiful procession is held that is called ‘Nagar Kirtan’. The procession includes Panj Pyaras- the five armed guards who lead the group.
Devotees taking part in the procession hold Nishan Sahib- the Sikh flags. They march along the locality carrying the holy scripture on a decorated palanquin or wagon. A team of the local band also takes part in the procession. With beating of drums and display of sacred scripture, the whole environment dazzles with sacredness.
It also involves a team of Sikh devotees dressed traditionally. They display their proficiency in Sikh’s traditional weapons play called ‘Gatka’. They showcase their sword fighting and martial art skills all through the procession.
Third day- Guru Nanak Jayanti
On the third day or the actual Guru Nanak birthday, festivities kick off with the recitation of early morning hymns which is also called Asa-di-Var. People recite and hymns quotes exemplifying the life of Guru Nanak Devi Ji. After that, the ‘katha’ is performed. It includes the exhibition of Guru Granth Sahib ji followed by enlightening lectures. People also take part in Kirtan Darbars. After all these activities, a community kitchen or langar is held. In langar, people of all ages serve as volunteers. It showcases their devotion towards the society.
In Gurdwaras ‘Karah Prasad’ is served to the people. Later in the night, they sing Gurbani or sacred hymns and hence the festival is concluded.
Although Guru Nanak Devji gave many valuable lessons to the mankind, he led a very simple life. He was in the favour of bettering the lives of people through good deeds. According to Guru Nanak Devji-
- People should be honest and watchful.
- People must practice humanity and give up pride.
- One should control his/her mind and senses and remember the almighty God.
- They should stay away from the five evils of passion and be content.
For Guru Nanak Dev Ji, nobody is rich or poor, everyone is same and equal.
On the auspicious day of his birthday, we should keep his teachings in mind and do good for one and all.