The anniversary of the birth of Sikhism’s founder, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, is commemorated annually as Guru Nanak Jayanti. Every year, people all over the world commemorate one of the Sikh community’s most important holidays.
As the Hindu lunar calendar, it occurs on a full moon day in the month of Kartik. This year, the holiday will be observed on November 8, a Tuesday, instead of the customary dates in October or November.
Sikhs from all around the world honour the Guru on this day, who was born in 1469 in Rai Bhoi Ki Talwandi, today is known as Nanaka Sahib, close to Lahore (in Pakistan). The 553rd birth anniversary ceremonies are being held this year.
Prabhat Pheris, or early morning processions, which start at the Gurudwara, signal the beginning of the celebrations on this day. Akhand Path, or a 48-hour nonstop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikhs’ sacred book), takes place in the Gurudwaras two days before Guru Nanak Jayanti. The Panj Pyaras organise and direct a parade called Nagarkirtan the day before Gurupurab (Five Beloved Ones). While followers chant hymns, leaders propagate Guru Nanak’s teachings.
On the day of Gurupurab, worshipers recite Katha and chant hymns. A special community supper called langar is then served, which is organised by volunteers at Gurudwaras. Some locations also hold night prayers that start about sunset and go until well into the night.
Around 1:20 am, the actual moment of Guru Nanak’s birth, the assembly begins chanting Gurbani. The party comes to an end at about two in the morning.
A healthy meal is prepared on this day, and ‘langar’, which enables followers to perform Seva (offerings/serving), follows. Volunteers make the lunch, which is provided to everyone regardless of caste, religion, or faith. Daal, roti, chawal, sabji, and halwa are all included. India has designated Guru Nanak Jayanti as a holiday to honour the Sikh people.