Guru Nanak Jayanti, the most sacred festival of Sikhism celebrates the birth of Guru Nanak; the first Sikh Guru.
The Nanakpanti Hindus and the other followers of Guru Nanak’s philosophy apart from the Sikhs also observe this sacred festival.
Guru Nanak or Guru Nanak Dev Ji regarded as the founder of Sikhism were born on 15th April 1469 in Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in the present Shekhupura District ofPakistan, which is now known as Nankana Sahib. Guru Nanak’s birthday is celebrated in the month of Kartik on the day of full moon known as Kartik Purnima.
The Sikhs celebrate the birth of all their 10 Guru’s; the celebrations are similar but the hymns uttered on each of the occasions are completely different. The morning of Guru Nanak Jayanti starts with Prabhat Feris in the Gurudwara followed by processions in localities singing hymns.
The Sikh Flag known as Nishan Sahib and the Palki or palanquin of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is carried by the head of the processions followed by hymns sung by teams of singers. Mock battles and Marshal Arts using traditional weapons are also conducted on the streets of a city or a town.
On this auspicious occasion, the messengers of Guru Nanak spread his special message. Asa- Di- Var or morning hymns are sung during the Amrit Vela i.e. early morning at 4 or 5 a.m. These hymns are followed by Kathas and Kirtans in the praise of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. A Langar arrangement follows where everyone is invited to have a full meal and this Langar is hosted by the volunteers.
The real idea behind hosting this Langar is that each and every one despite their cast, creed, sex, religion are free to eat together without any social, communal or political restraints. This Langar as a matter of fact displays the Bhakti and Seva of the Sikh volunteers towards their Guru.
Rehars or evening prayers are also conducted in some Gurudwaras followed by late night Kirtans. Gurbani is sung by the congregation at 1.20 am at midnight which is the actual birth time of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. At around 2 a.m. the celebrations end. Guru Nanak Jayanti or Guru Nanak Guruparb is celebrated by the Sikhs all over the world and is considered as the most sacred day of the year by the followers of Sikhism.
Chandigarh, Harayana and Punjab celebrate Guru Nanak Jayanti on a large scale and a number of Sindhi’s also celebrate this festival. The Sikh kids wait for this festival throughout the year and Guru Nanak Jayanti has been marked as a holiday on the Indian calendar by the government of India.
All the Gurudwaras are lit up and decorated like a bride on this auspicious occasion which is remarkably the most celebrated festival in Sikh culture.
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