“There is but One God, His name is Truth, He is the Creator, He fears none,
He is without hate, He never dies, He is beyond the cycle of births and death,
He is self illuminated, He is realized by the kindness of the True Guru,
He was True in the beginning, He was True when the ages commenced and
Has ever been True, He is also True now.”
– Guru Nanak
Guru Purab also well known as Guru Nanak Jayanti is the celebration of the birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak. It is one of the most important festivals in the Sikh calendar.
Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh Guru was born on this day of Karthik Purnima in 1469AD at Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in the present district of Shekhupura (Pakistan), now Nanakana Sahib.
The celebration for the day begins with ‘Prabhat pheri’ – a procession that is carried out early in the morning. Gurdwaras in their local area takes this procession in their community and they fill the air with holy hymns and verses known as the Asa-di-Var. Akhand Paath, the nonstop reading of the holy Guru Granth Sahib starts two days before Guru Purab. There is a special procession on this day carried out by the respective gurudwara authorities holding Nishan Sahib(the Sikh flag),a special Palki where Guru Granth Sahib owns the beautifully decorated place of pride, accompanied by musicians and the Panj Pyaras (five armed men). The procession includes the Gatka team, group of Sikh martial artists who display their sword skills and various forms of martial arts. They become the major attraction of the event. The procession concludes with the langar (community meals) well cooked and served by Sikh men and women.
In the evening, the Gurdwaras are beautifully decorated and illuminated with lights and are thronged by people to wish each other. People also illuminate their homes with candles and earthen lamps. The celebrations are especially colorful in Punjab and Haryana.
Guru Nanak Gurpurab is a festival giving the message of love, peace and social service to mankind.