Sikhs are preparing to mark the most sacred day in their calendar with Guru Nanak Jayanti, the festival also known as Gurpurab.
The holy event commemorates the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first guru of Sikhism, and this year it will fall on Monday, November 27. This year it is Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 554th birthday.
Every year, the occasion is marked on the full moon day of the Kartik month, which is also known as Kartik Purnima.
Sikhs also celebrate Vaisakhi, an event marked with celebrations in London’s Trafalgar Square earlier this year.
Here is all you need to know.
Who was Guru Nanak Dev Ji?
Guru Nanak Dev Ji was a man of peace, who spent his life promoting equality and tolerance. He was born in 1469 in the village of Rai Bhoi di Talwandi. This is now called Nankana Sahib, near Lahore, which is now in Pakistan.
Numerous hymns written by Guru Nanak were compiled by Guru Arjan, into the sacred scripture of Sikhism, Adi Granth, when he travelled around India visiting holy places.
The verses of the Guru Granth Sahib, the central holy religious scripture of Sikhism, focus on the idea that there is only one creator of the universe. They also promote altruistic services to humanity.
How is Gurpurab celebrated?
Devotees around the world pray on this day, especially at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, north-western India.
It is one of the main Sikh festivals. Sikhs carry out processions, visit gurdwaras (places of worship), and offer prayers while conducting langars (whereby food and drink are given to the needy).
During the procession, the revered Guru Granth Sahib is carried in a palanquin (a covered litter for one passenger, consisting of a large box carried on two horizontal poles by four or six bearers). Meanwhile, devotees chant hymns in unison and play traditional instruments.
Gurdwaras recite verses from the Guru Granth Sahib non-stop for 48 hours, starting with the Akhand Path chant.
The opening line of the revered Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which incorporates the composition and bani of all 10 Sikh Gurus, is claimed to be the first word in Sikhism. It’s titled Ik Onkar.
Following the festivities, volunteers host langars at gurudwaras, with many people participating in sewa (selfless service) while serving food to visitors.
What are the most common wishes and celebrations for the festival?
There are a number of wishes and celebrations for the festival, which include:
May the holiness and wisdom of Guru Nanak Ji illuminate your heart and mind. Happy Gurpurab!
May Guruji bless us in both delight and suffering. Wishing you a Happy Gurpurab because prayers are never in vain!
May Guru Nanak Dev Ji grant all of your wishes and bestow upon you his blessings forever!
Waheguru Ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh. Happy Guru Nanak Jayanti!
What Guru Nanak Jayanti events are there in London in 2023?
There are many events around London for the occasion including The Sikh Network’s own event, Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurp. This will be on December 5.
On November 27, a craft afternoon will be held at Lea Bridge Library from 4pm.