By Tania Bagwan, Nov 19, 2021 12:00
Guru Nanak Jayanti, also known as Guru Nanak Gurpurab or Prakash Utsav, is deemed as the most significant and auspicious festival in the Sikh religion and is celebrated by the Sikh community all over the world. This festival marks the birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. This year, it marks his 552nd birth anniversary.
Read on to learn more about this auspicious day, and about Guru Nanak.
Guru Nanak: the founder of Sikhism
Guru Nanak was the first of the ten Sikh gurus. He was born in Nankana Sahib, Punjab. He was born into a Hindu Khatri family, with his father working as an accountant for crop revenue. According to the Bikrami calendar, he was born on Puranmashi of Kattak in the year 1469. Puranmashi means full moon during the Indian Lunar Month Kartik. Since then, the followers of Sikhism have celebrated this festival during the month of November. However, some are of the view that this festival should be celebrated on Vaisakhi, which is on April 14, according to the Nanakshahi calender.
Sikh tradition believes that Guru Nanak’s birth and the events that took place in his early years proved that he had been blessed with divinity. He was a precocious possessor of awareness and it is believed that he expressed his interest about exploring divine subjects as young as the age of 5.
Teachings of Guru Nanak
All of Guru Nanak’s teachings are in the sacred Sikh scripture, Guru Granth Sahib. They are recorded in this scripture as a collection of verses recorded in Gurmukhi (the Punjabi script.) Some of the most important aspects of his teachings include divine faith, belief and meditation in God, social justice aimed at the well-being and prosperity of all and unity of all humankind. He also encourages selfless service to community and humankind in general and a conduct rooted in honesty. He believed that one could connect to God through prayer. His teachings form the fundamental beliefs of Sikhism.
The celebration of Guru Nanak Jayanti
This festival is celebrated to recognise the enlightenment that Guru Nanak brought into the world. The celebrations actually commence 2 days prior in gurudwaras. During these 2 days, the Akhand Path, a recitation, is held and carries on non-stop for the course of these 48 hours. A day before the Jayanti, a procession is held where 5 men lead the way carrying the Sikh flag. This is known as the Nagarkirtan. It is a community bonding experience where people come together to play music, sing and celebrate this festival.