Guru Parv or Guru Nanak Jayanti is one of the most prestigious festivals of the Sikhs. On this day, the first Sikh guru Guru Nanak was born. He is also the founder of Sikhism. The Sikh community highly admires him.
Born in the Karthik month of the Indian Lunar calendar, it occurs on the full moon day. Thus, Kartik Purnima is the other name for it. He was born on the 15th April 1469 in Rai-Bhaoi-Di Talwandi in the present district of Seikhpura in Pakistan. This is the most sacred festival of the Sikhs.
The celebration is generally near for all, simply the songs are exceptional. The celebrations generally start with the Prabhat Pheris. Prabhat Pheris are early morning marches that start at the Gurudwaras around the regions singing tunes. Generally, two days before the birthday, the Gurudwaras hold Akhand Path. It is a 48-hour preserving scrutinizing of the Guru Granth Sahib, the great holy book of the Sikhs.
A procession, Nagarkirtan, is the day preceding the birthday. The Sikhs carry the Sikh flag known as the Nishan Sahib and the Palki (Palanquin) of Guru Granth Sahib. A band of singers singing the hymns follows them and the enthusiasts sing the chorus. There are metal gatherings playing different tunes and ‘Gatka’ bunches show their swordsmanship through various aggressive methods. They show fake battles using standard weapons.
Banners, flowers, flags cover the whole streets of the city beautifully, On this day. The perfect blend of flowers and lights in the Gurudwaras beautifies it. The preparations are done beforehand for the main day.
Upon the arrival of the Gurupurab, the festival starts promptly in the first part of the day at around 4-5 a.m. This time is known as Amrit Vela. The days start with morning hymns known as Asaa-Ki-Vaar. Following it is the Katha and then Kirtan which continues late till night in recognition of the Guru. After that is the Langar, which is prepared and served by the volunteers of the Gurudwaras. This Langar is famous and people from all fields or religions participate in it and eat it. The thought behind this free public lunch is that the offering of food should be for everybody regardless of sexual orientation, station, class, or creed in the soul of the seva and bhakti.
The worshippers start singing Gurbani at about 1:20 a.m., which is the actual time of the birth of Guru Nanak. The festival finishes at 2 a.m.
It is one of the most important festivals in the Sikh calendar. With great zeal and enthusiasm, people all over the world celebrate Guru Nanak Jayanti. The government gives a gazetted holiday on this day. The Sikhs on this day wear new clothes and go to Gurudwaras.