Guru Nanak Jayanti is an important festival of Sikh festival calendar. Guru Nanak Dev ji was the first of the 10 Sikh gurus and founded Sikh religion. The birthday of the Sikh Gurus is the most sacred festivals of Sikhs and is known as Gurpurab. Birthday is called Jayanti in Hindi. Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated with full dedication and devotion.
These Sikh Gurus affected the thought process of Sikhs and thus shaped their ideology. Guru Nanak was born on 14 April 1469 in Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in Shekhupura District of Pakistan which is popular as Nankana Sahib. Guru Nanak Jayanti falls on Kartik Poornima or in November according to Gregorian calendar.
Guru Nanak taught oneness of God and also advocated his formlessness. That's why we never see Sikhs worshipping an idol.
Though Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated by the Sikh community all over the world but in Punjab and Haryana it is celebrated with great fervor.
The festival Celebrations
The celebration continues for three day that includes the singing of hymns in praise of Guru Nanak.
Two days before Guru Nanak Jayanti non-stop reading of the holy Guru Granth Sahib for forty eight hours is done in Gurudwara. This ritual is known as Akhand Path.
A day before Guru Nanak Jayanti procession lead by the five beloved Panj Pyaras carrying the Sikh flag or Nishan Sahib and palanquin of the Sikh's holy book Sri Guru Granth Sahib is held through the streets. The people singing hymns, bands playing music and Gatka displaying martial arts follow the march. The leaders spread the teachings of Guru Nanak.
The streets of the town are decorated with buntings and special decorated gates are erected to celebrate this special occasion.
The day of Guru Nank Jayanti begins with prabhat pheris or early morning processions starting at gurudwaras. The morning becomes even more pleasant echoing with melodious hymns called Asa-di-Var which are then followed by Katha. Religious lectures and poems are recited.
Special lunch or Langar is organized at Gurudwaras for community people. The volunteers offer food as a service and devotion towards the people. The 'Karah Prasad' is now distributed to the public.
Facts about Guru Nanak and Sikhs
* Guru Nanak was born in Kshatriya family of Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in Shekhupura District of Pakistan on April 14, 1469.
* Guru Nanak Dev was the first of the 10 Sikh Gurus.
* Guru Nanak is the founder of Sikh religion.
* Guru Arjun Dev was the fifth Sikh Guru who compiled the Granth Sahib which was finally refined to its todayâ€™s form by the tenth Guru, Guru Govind Singh.
* Sikhs believes God has no form so they don't worship idols.
* Guru Govind Singh introduced the five Ks for Sikhs: "kes" or unshorn hair and beard, "kangh" or comb in the hair, "kara" or steel bangle on the right wrist, "kacchâ€ or short drawers and "kirpan" or steel dagger.
* The holy Golden Temple of Amritsar in Punjab, India is most revered and popular shrine among the Sikhs across the globe.