Guru Nanak Dev Ji is the first Guru of Sikhs and founder of Sikhism. Guru Nanak Gurpurab is one of the most celebrated and sacred Sikh festival. His birthday is celebrated as Guru Nanak Gurpurab and it comes on Katak Pooranmashi (full moon of Kattak month). This falls in October-November month. Nanak is claimed to have travelled across Asia, educating people about the teachings of ik onkar (‘one God,’) who resides in all of his creations and is the eternal Truth. He would establish a distinct spiritual, social, and political platform founded on equality, fraternal love, kindness, and virtue with this notion.
About the festival –
The day is celebrated with great thrill, enthusiasm and reverence. The hymns are varied, but the celebration is identical for all Sikhs. Prabhat Pheris is the traditional start to the festivities. Prabhat Pheris are hymn-singing processions that start at Gurudwaras and travel around the neighbourhood. In most Gurdwaras, Akhand Path (a forty-eight-hour nonstop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book) is held two days before the birthday.
A parade known as Nagarkirtan is organised the day before the birthday. The Panj Pyaras lead this procession (Five Beloved Ones). They lead the Nishan Sahib and Palki (Palanquin) of Guru Granth Sahib Procession, which carries the Sikh flag. They are followed by groups of singers who perform hymns and devotees who perform the chorus. Brass bands perform a variety of melodies, while ‘Gatka’ teams demonstrate their swordsmanship via a variety of martial arts and pretend fights with traditional weaponry. The parade spills out into the town’s streets. For this particular occasion, the corridor is decked with banners and the gates are decorated with flags and flowers.
The celebrations begin early in the morning on the day of the Gurpurab, around 4 or 5 a.m. (Amrit Vela). The day begins with Asaa-Ki-Vaar singing (morning hymns). In glorification of the Guru, Katha (exposition of the scripture) and Kirtan (hymns from the Sikh scriptures) are performed in any combination. Following that comes the Langar, a special communal lunch organised by volunteers at Gurudwaras.
People usually go to Gurdwara to pay obeisance and eat langar and thank you. Also, they light earthen pots and crack crackers to celebrate the day.