Guru Nanak Jayanti, also known as Guru Nanak Gurpurab and Guru Nanak’s Prakash Utsav marks the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, first Sikh Guru. The day falls on the full moon day of Hindu month of Kartik. The festival is celebrated not only by the Sikh community but also by people from other religions from around the world. People celebrate the day by visiting Gurudwaras, eating langar, decorating their houses and lighting diyas. In 2017, Guru Nanak Jayanti falls on November 4.
Guru Nanak was born in 1469 AD in a Kshatriya family in Rai Bhoi di Talwandi, now located in Lahore, Pakistan. In 1496, he received enlightenment and taught humankind the significance of love, peace, and religious harmony. His birthday is celebrated by people in a three-day-long celebration. The first two days comprises of 48-hour-long reiterations of verses from the Guru Granth Sahib – the holy book of Sikhs and organising processions by singing and dancing to spread Guru Nanak’s peace message. The procession is led by Panj Pyaras. In the procession, devotees perform traditional bhangra dance and Gathka, a traditional martial art form. Gurudwaras are decorated with flowers and lights.
On the day of Guru Nanak Jayanti, the celebration begins in the early hours with Prabhat Pheris, a morning procession which starts at Gurudwaras. The morning session comprises of singing hymns, a Katha session, where teachings of Guru Nanak are recited and ends with ‘Kirtan’. Chanting of prayers and singing of hymns are carried throughout the day. This is followed by organising ‘langar’, a community lunch. The celebration ends at 2 am with singing Gurbani. Though Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated across the globe it is celebrated with full enthusiasm in Northern India, especially in Chandigarh, Haryana, and Punjab. The festival is also celebrated widely in the UK and Canada.