Guru Nanak Dev
Guru Nanak Jayanti -
Guru Nanak Jayanti is the birthday of first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak, and one of the most sacred festivals in Sikhism.
The festivities in the Sikh religion revolve around the anniversaries of the 10 Sikh Gurus. These Gurus were responsible for shaping the beliefs of the Sikhs. Their birthdays, known as Gurpurabs, are occasions for celebration and prayer among the Sikhs. Gurpurbs are part and parcel of Sikhism. In history we see that the Sikhs have to sacrifice even their lives in order to celebrate the Gurpurbs. Whether it is DIwali (Bandi Chhor Diwas), Vaisakhi (Khalsa Sajna Diwas), or Martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Sahib (Sahidi Diwas), Sikhs gather and remember their Gurus & pay homage to the great Martyrs. All the Gurpurbs are celebrated with great fervor & enthusiasm by the Sikhs throughout the world.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji (the First Guru, the founder of Sikhism) was born on 14 April 1469 in Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in the present Shekhupura District of Pakistan, now Nankana Sahib. The birthday of Guru Nanak Sahib falls on Kartik Poornima, i.e., the day of the full moon in the month of Kartik. In the Gregorian Calendar, the birthday of Guru Nanak usually falls in the month of November, but its date varies from year to year, based on the traditional dates of the Indian calendar.
The FestivalThe birth-day celebrations & Gurpurbs of Guru Sahibs usually last for three days. The celebration is generally similar for all Gurpurabs; only the hymns are different.
Two Days Before The Birthday - Akhand PathGenerally two days before the birthday, Akhand Path (a forty-eight-hour non-stop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs) is held in the Gurdwaras.
The Day Prior To The Birthday - Procession (Nagarkirtan)
Devotees carry a gold plated palanquin carrying the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib during a religious procession in Golden Temple, seen background, Sikh's holiest shrine, on the eve of 539th birth anniversary of the first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak Dev, in Amritsar, India, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Panj Pyaras and they head the procession carrying the Sikh flag
On The DayOn the day of the Gurpurab, the day begins early in the morning at about 4:00 A.M or 5:00 A.M. with the singing of Asa-di-Var (morning hymns) and hymns from the Sikh scriptures followed by Katha (exposition of the scripture) together with lectures and recitation of poems in the praise of the Guru. Kirtan-Darbars and Amrit Sanchar ceremonies are also held in the Gurdwara hall. Following that is the Langar or special community lunch, which is arranged at the Gurudwaras by volunteers. The idea behind the free communal lunch is that people should be offered food in the spirit of seva (service) and bhakti (devotion).
Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated by the Sikh community all over the world and is one of the most important festivals in the Sikh calendar. The celebrations are especially colourful in Punjab and Haryana.