Guru Nanak Jayanti 2019: Its significance, history & traditions

Guru Nanak Gurpurab, also called Guru Nanak Jayanti and Guru Nanak ji’s Prakash Utsav, is a significant festival for people who believe in Sikhism.

It is celebrated to commemorate the birth of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. It is the most important festival for the Sikh community and is celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm.

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It is celebrated on the day of Kartik Poornima, which is the fifteenth lunar day in the month of Kartik as per the Hindu calendar, and usually falls in the months of October and November as per the calendar.

This year will mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji and will be observed on Tuesday, 12th November 2019.

On 15th April 1469, Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born at Rai Bhoi Ki Talwandi, near Lahore, which is the modern-day Sekhpura district of Pakistan. A Gurudwara was built on his birth place and the city is also known as Nankana Sahib and is located in the Punjab province of Pakistan.

Guru Nanak Dev ji is regarded as a spiritual teacher who founded Sikhism in the 15th century. He started writing the Guru Granth Sahib and wrote 974 hymns in it.

The main verses from the Guru Granth Sahib emphasise that the creator of the universe was one. His verses also propagate selfless service to humanity, prosperity and social justice for all irrespective of any demographic differences. Sikhism also forbids the concept of messengers and reincarnation. The role of a Guru as a spiritual and social master forms the base of the Sikh religion.

Celebrations start two days before the main day in the Gurudwaras. A 48 hour non-stop recitation of the Guru Granth Sahib, called Akhand Path, is held. A day before Guru Nanak Dev ji’s birthday a procession called Nagarkirtan is organised. The procession is led by five men, referred to as the Panj Pyare, holding the Sikh triangular flag, Nishan Sahib.

The holy Guru Grant Sahib is placed in a palanquin during the procession. People sing hymns in groups and play traditional musical instruments while also displaying their martial arts skills.

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