The birth of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji
Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday is the most important celebration in the Sikh calander. It is in the month of November when the religion’s celebration starts.
“Out of the cotton of compassion, spin the thread of contentment”
Guru Nanak Dev Ji was the founder of the Sikh faith; he was born on the 20th October 1469 in Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in the present Shekhupura District of Pakistan, now known as Nanaka Sahib. Guru Nanak stressed:
“There is but one human race”.
Although Guru Nanak was born in the month of October his birthday falls on Kartik Puranmashi (full moon) of the month of Kartik. It is based on the traditional dates of the Indian calendar; the date varies year to year. The birthday usually comes in this month of November.
“Let compassion be your mosque, let faith be your prayer mat”
Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday celebration usually last for about 3 days in Nanaka Sahib. Generally two days before the birthday, Akhand path (a forty eight hour non stop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs) is held in the Gurdwaras.
Next; Kirtan, the singing of hyms, begins before the dawn and continues for 24 hours throughout the full moon lit night as fireworks explode. Finally, Shri Guru Granth Sahib is praded down the streets on a float throughout the town for several hours in a Nagar Kirtan where the demonstration of Gatka is also performed. Gatka is the name of the Sikh martial arts using swords and many other weapons this was introduced by the 9th Guru, Guru Har Gobind Singh Ji. This is concluded by returning to the Gurdwara.
All the while, Langar, the Guru’s divine sacred meal service, is available for any person.
The celebration in Punjab and Haryana are especially colourful.
“Accept all people as your equals and let them be your only sect;
conquering ourselves, we conquer the Worlds”
Guru Nanak Dev Ji founded and formalised three aspects of Sikhism:
Naam Japna: Chanting the holy name and thus rembering God at all times (ceaseless devotion to God)
Kirat Karo: Earning/making a living honestly, without exploitation or fraud.
Vand Chokko: Sharing with others, helping those with less who are in need.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji said
“We remember God in times of difficulty but boast of our cleverness when things go well”
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