Guru Nanak Jayanti, also known as Gurpurab, is one of the most important holidays for Sikhs and those who follow Guru Nanak's, the founder of Sikhism, teachings. It is observed on the full moon day of Kartik, which normally falls in November.
Who was Guru Nanak?
Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in the Pakistani village of Rai Bhoi Ki Talwandi, now known as Nankana Sahib. He was a spiritual leader, poet, philosopher, and social reformer all rolled into one. He questioned the severe caste structure, ceremonial practices, and superstitions prevalent at the period. He taught the gospel of one God, equality, compassion, and human service. He traveled to many different nations and locations, disseminating his teachings and engaging in talks with people of many religions and backgrounds. He wrote several hymns and poetry, which are collected in the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism's holy scripture. He was the first of the ten Sikh Gurus, who developed the Sikh community's beliefs and practices.
When and how is Guru Nanak Jayanti observed?
Sikhs and everyone who revere Guru Nanak commemorate Guru Nanak Jayanti with great dedication and passion. The celebrations begin two days before the actual day with a continuous recitation of the Guru Granth Sahib at the gurdwaras (Sikh houses of worship), known as Akhand Path. On the eve of the celebration, the Panj Pyare (the five cherished ones) and the Nishan Sahib (the Sikh flag) lead a spectacular procession through the streets. The procession is accompanied by singers, musicians, and performers who recite Guru Nanak's hymns and praises. The streets are decked with flowers, banners, and lights, and participants are given sweets and refreshments.
On Guru Nanak Jayanti, people get up early and bathe in the holy rivers or ponds known as Ishnan. They then go to the gurdwaras to pray, listen to kirtan (devotional music), and eat prasad (holy food). They also serve and consume free meals with everyone, regardless of caste, creed, or position, at the langar (community kitchen). In the evening, people burn candles, lights, and fireworks and sing Gurbani (Guru Nanak's words) until late at night.
What significance does Guru Nanak Jayanti have?
Guru Nanak Jayanti is a day set aside to celebrate and honour Guru Nanak's life and teachings, he educated the world with his wisdom and compassion. He demonstrated how to live in harmony with ourselves, others, and God. He taught us to respect and love all of creation, as well as to aid the poor and oppressed. He motivated us to seek the truth within ourselves and to pray in God's name. He left us with a worldwide message of peace, fairness, and fraternity that is still applicable today.
Guru Nanak Jayanti is a day to honour Guru Nanak and the light of wisdom he offered to the world. It is a day to reflect on his lessons and put them into practice in our daily lives. It is a day to disseminate his message of oneness and purity, as well as to share his love and blessings with everyone.