The year 2018 will mark the 549th birth anniversary of saint Guru Nanak. Guru Nanak was the founder of the religion Sikhism and the first of the Sikh Gurus. Guru Nanak Jayanti or birth anniversary is celebrated worldwide on the day of Kartik Purnima. In 2018, Guru Nanak Jayanti will be marked on November 23 (Friday). He was the first Gurus of ten Sikh Gurus. Guru Nanak Jayanti is also called Gurpurab or Gurparv. Gurpurab is derived from two words ‘Gur’ meaning Guru or the master and ‘Purab’ meaning day, hence, it is called the day associated with the Guru. Below we tell you about the auspicious tithi timings, significance and celebrations commenced worldwide by Sikh devotees and many Hindus devotees.
Guru Nanak Jayanti is primarily celebrated by Sikhs, Hindu Punjabis and Sindhis. Guru Nanak was born on April 15, 1469 AD at Rai Bhoi Di Talwandi in Lahore, Pakistan which is now called Nankana Sahib. Hence, the occasion is also marked in Pakistan. Guru Nanak believed that there is no Hindu and no Muslim and there is only one God who is formless. The constant remembrance of God, also referred as ‘naamsimran’ is the only way to liberation, he preached. Guru Nanak Gurpurab is celebrated to remember the Guru and his teachings.
Guru Nanak Jayanti Timings (According to Drik Panchang)
Purnima Tithi Begins: 12:53 pm (November 22, 2018)
Purnima Tithi Ends: 11:09 am (November 23, 2018)
Rituals & Celebrations
The festival of Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm especially in North India and is marked over a period of three days. The gurudwaras are decorated with flowers and lights. Two days prior to his birth anniversary, Akhand Path is held in the Gurudwaras. It is a practice of non-stop reading of Gur Granth Sahib, the religious book of Sikhs, for 48 hours. One day before the birthday of Guru Nanak, devotees organise a procession which is led by Panj Pyaras. The Sikh flag known as the Nishan Sahib and the Palanquin of Guru Granth Sahib are carried in a procession. Group of singers participate in the procession and sing hymns. These processions are popular in the state of Punjab.
On the day of Guru Nanak Gurpurab, people wake up early in the morning (before sunrise) and go for Prabhat Pheris. ‘Prabhat’ means morning and ‘Pheris’ means taking rounds. It is a ritual where devotees gather in nearby Gurudwaras and take early morning rounds around the society and recite morning hymns or Asa-di-Var, hymns from Sikh scriptures. In the afternoon, Gurudwaras organise Langars, a free communal meal for everyone. The food is offered as a form of seva (service) and bhakti (devotion). Karah Parshad or Prasad is also offered to all devotees.
Guru Nanak’s teachings rested upon two themes – praise of virtues and condemnation of vices. He also wanted to bring an end to the conflict among various religions and rejected caste system. Nanak had both Hindu and Muslim disciples. His teachings remind us to overcome the five vices – lust, greed, attachment, anger and pride and devote one’s life in the selfless service of God.