Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh faith was born in 1469 A.D. in the village of Talwandi in Lahore, Pakistan. Guru Nank Dev Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of the founder of the Sikh religion. Sikhs do not worship idols and believe that God is formless. They celebrate the birth anniversaries of 10 Sikh Gurus as Gurupurabs with devotion and dedication.
Celebrations : Guru Nank Jayanti is marked by prabhat pheris or early morning processions that begins from the gurudwaras and then moves to different localities singing hymns or shabads. The celebration lasts for three days.
Usually two days before the birthday of Guru Nanak, ‘Akhand Path’ or forty-eight hour non-stop reading of the holy book of the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib is carried on at the gurudwaras.
A procession is carried out on the day before his birthday which is led by the Panj Pyaras (Five Beloved Ones). Sikh flag, or the Nishan Sahib and the palki or the palanquin of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is taken out in the procession. The procession also includes a group of singers singing hymns in praise of Guru Nanak and Gatka teams displaying their showmanship through martial arts.
The leaders of the procession also spread the message of Guru Nanak. Gurupurab day begins early with the singing of the Asa-di-Var (morning hymns) and hymns from the Sikh scriptures. It is followd with Katha or the exposition of the scriptures along with poems and lectures in praise of Guru Nanak. Langar or special community lunch is prepared at the gurudwaras. The langar along with ‘Karah Prasad’ is offered to men and dwomen of all communities.
Brief background of Guru Nanak :
Guru Nanak was born into a Kshatriya family and was a son of an accountant. Even as a child, Nanak had a mystic disposition and had a contemplative mind. He was of a pious nature and started meditation and spiritual practices very early in life. As a seven year old boy, he questioned his Hindi teacher about ‘knowledge’ and how will it help to attain freedom.
His father then tried to divert his mind to worldly affairs and asked him to cultivate land and tend the cattle. He also put him in charge of a shop but all his efforts failed as his only work was meditation and praying to God. Guru Nanak eventually married and had two sons but he left his family life and became an ascetic.
Facts about Sikhs :
- Guru Nank Dev was the first of the 10 Sikh Gurus.
- The fifth Guru, Guru Arjun compiled the Granth Sahib, the final form of which was given by the tenth Guru, Guru Govind Singh.
- In order to give the Sikhs a different identity, Guru Govind Singh, introduced the five Ks:
"kes" or unshorn hair and beard,
“kangh” or comb in the hair,
“kara" or steel bangle on the right wrist,
"kacch” or short drawers and
"kirpan" or steel dagger.
The main shrine of the Sikhs is the Golden Temple of Amritsar, in Punjab