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 Gurupurab, are occasions for celebration and prayer among the Sikhs. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, was born on April 15, 1469 in Rai - Bhoi - di Talwandi in the present Shekhupura District of Pakistan, now Nankana Sahib. It is a Gazetted holiday in India.
How is Gurupurab celebrated?
Gurupurab is celebrated with an Akhand path , a reading of the Sikh holy scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib, continuously from beginning to end. This is done by a team of Sikh men and women, each reading for 2 - 3 hours over 48 hours, beginning two days before and ending early on the morning of the birthday.
On the day of the Guru Nanak Jayanti, a procession takes place in the morning, which is more commonly known as the 'Prabhat pheri' . Five armed guards, who represent the Panj Pyares, head the procession carrying Nishan Sahibs (the Sikh flag). Local bands playing religious music form a special part of the procession. Sikhs also visit gurdwaras where special programs are arranged and kirtans are sung followed by langar and fireworks in the evening. Houses and gurdwaras are lit up to add to the festivities.
The celebrations are generally similar for all Gurupurabs. These are certain things that people mainly know about this festival, here are a few interesting facts about guru Nanak Sahib and this festival that you probably did not know:
- Guru Nanak refused as a child to wear sacred thread called Janeu , saying instead that he would wear the true name of God in his heart for his protection. He reasoned that the thread could be broken, soiled, burnt or lost and could not offer any security at all.
- He preached equality to all irrespective of cast, colour and creed
- The reading of the Guru Granth Sahib during Gurupurab is done for continuous 48 hours all 1430 pages, are read without pause.
- Celebrations during this festival also include martial arts known as ‘Gatka’
- Pakistan also has a gurudwara named ‘Panja Sahib' dedicated to Guru Nanak Dev Ji. This is one of the most holy places of Sikhism because of the presence of a rock believed to have the hand print of Guru Nanak imprinted on it.
India represents Unity in Diversity and oneness of all and that is exactly what was taught by Guru Nanak Devji as well. The Golden Temple in Amritsar is one of the most visited spots during this time.
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