What is Gurpurab? Sikhs celebrate Guru Nanak Jayanti

This year, it will celebrate Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 553rd birthday and will place on Tuesday, November 8 (Getty Images )
This year, it will celebrate Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 553rd birthday and will place on Tuesday, November 8 (Getty Images )

The holy festival of Guru Nanak Jayanti, which is commonly referred to as Gurpurab, commemorates the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first guru of Sikhism.

This year, it will celebrate Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 553rd birthday and will place on Tuesday, November 8.

Every year, the occasion is marked on the full moon day of the Kartik month, which is also known as Kartik Purnima.

So who was Guru Nanak Dev Ji and how is Gurpurab celebrated?

Here’s everything 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?

Schoolchildren dressed as Sikh holy men known as Panj Pyare, gesture during a religious procession on the eve of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, at the Golden Temple in Amritsar (AFP via Getty Images)
Schoolchildren dressed as Sikh holy men known as Panj Pyare, gesture during a religious procession on the eve of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, at the Golden Temple in Amritsar (AFP via Getty Images)

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!