Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary: Significance, rituals of Gurupurab

In Sikhism, birthdays of their 10 Gurus is celebrated as major festivities. It is their teachings which the Sikhs follow to tread on their life path.

Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary: Significance, rituals of Gurupurab
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New Delhi: This year marks the 550th celebration of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, making the occasion of Gurupurab even more special. The auspicious day will be celebrated this year on November 12. Gurdwaras across the globe are decked up days ahead of the big day and the festive fervour can be seen as devotees offer prayers in huge numbers.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji—the first Sikh Guru's birthday is celebrated as Gurupurab, Guru Nanak's Prakash Utsav or also known as Guru Nanak Dev Ji Jayanti. For Sikhs, the day holds maximum significance.

In Sikhism, birthdays of their 10 Gurus is celebrated as major festivities. It is their teachings which the Sikhs follow to tread on their life path.

Rituals and Proceedings:

The celebrations begin with Prabhat Pheri which includes the procession of devotees which wakes early morning and starts singing prayers and hymns of the Guru. The procession begins from the Gurdwara and the group of devotees move around the localities.

As a customary practice, two days ahead of the Guru Nanak Jayanti, in almost every Gurdwara, Akhanth Path which means non-stop recitation of Guru Granth Sahib takes place. It is a 48-hour-long reading session.

One day before the birthday, Nagarkirtan procession is held where Panj Pyaras (The Five Beloves Ones) lead the troupe carrying Sikh flag, Palanquin of Guru Granth Sahib. The procession includes devotees singing songs of the Guru.

In this procession, bands playing music, swordsmanship using traditional weapons is also displayed. Guru Nanak Dev Ji's message is spread across the streets where the group is leading.

On the day of the Gurupurab or Guru Nanak Dev Ji's birthday, celebrations begin early morning known as Amrit Vela. Asaa-Ki-Vaar or morning prayer starts the day with immense gratitude. Then, Katha and Kirtan is organised where Guru's teachings are talked about.

This is followed by Langar which is considered to be a form of prasad. It's a community lunch where people volunteer to partake in offering services. They perform seva for free in the name of humanity.

In Gurdwaras, prayers are performed in the evening and night also. The Gurbani session begins after 12 in midnight at around 1.20 am which is believed to be the time of birth of the Guru. Kada Prasad is also distributed amongst the devotees.

It is believed that Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born on Puranmashi of Kattak Puranmashi of Kattak in Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in the present Shekhupura District of Pakistan, now known as Nanakana Sahib.

Here's wishing our readers a very happy Gurupurab!