Celebrating Guru Nanak Jayanti 2023: History, Traditions and Festivities

The festival of Guru Nanak Jayanti is also referred to as “Guru Nanak’s Prakash Utsav” or “Guru Nanak Dev ji Guru Parab”. It marks the birth anniversary of Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak.

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He is one of the most important and celebrated Sikh guru. As he is the founder of Sikhism or Sikhi. This year we will be celebrating Guru Nanak Jayanti on 27th November,2023.

Guru Nanak Jayanti History

Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, came into the world on the Puranmashi of Kattak in 1469, as per the Vikram Samvat calendar, in Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi, now Nankana Sahib, in the present Shekhupura District of Pakistan.

This day is recognized as a Gazetted holiday in India. According to the controversial Bhai Bala Janamsakhi, it asserts that Guru Nanak was born on the Full Moon (Pooranmashi) of the Indian Lunar Month Kartik. Sikhs traditionally celebrate Guru Nanak’s Gurpurab around November in adherence to this belief.

Nevertheless, some scholars and organizations advocate for celebrating Guru Nanak’s birthday on Vaisakhi. Which falls on April 14, as per the original Nanakshahi Calendar approved by Sri Akal Takht in 2003.

However, there is a preference among many individuals and organizations to uphold the traditional date. By celebrating on Purnima of the Lunar Month Kartik. The Nanakshahi Calendar aligns with the Gregorian calendar, marking the celebration on Kartik Purnima. This presents a challenge as it introduces a mismatch between different time units.

The intricacy of designing a precise calendar stems from the distinct durations. Which are the Earth’s rotation, the Moon’s revolution, and the Earth’s revolution around the Sun.

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Solar years last about 365.25 days, while lunar months are approximately 29.53 days. The accumulation of twelve lunar months falls short of a solar year by 11 days, 1 hour, 31 minutes, and 12 seconds.

This misalignment accumulates over three years, nearly equaling one month. The Moon’s orbit, spanning about 27.3 days, causes it to lag behind the Earth’s orbit around the sun.

Which results in a 10.87-day difference between a lunar year (354.372 days) and a solar year (365.2422 days).

Culture and Tradition associated with Guru Nayak Jayanti

Guru Nanak Jayanti has a deep culture. And have a beautiful tradition. That’s why it’s the most celebrated occasion in India. The celebration of Guru Nanak Jayanti is generally similar for all the Sikhs.

But the hymns are different for different Sikhs. The festivities typically begin with the recitation of hymns and prayers from the Guru Granth Sahib.

Which is the holy scripture of Sikhism. Devotees gather at gurdwaras. That is the Sikh place of worship, to participate in kirtans (spiritual hymn singing) and listen to sermons. Which emphasizes the teachings of Guru Nanak.

One notable tradition associated with Guru Nanak Jayanti is the Nagar Kirtan, a grand procession that takes place in various cities and towns.

This procession involves the ceremonial procession of the Guru Granth Sahib, accompanied by religious hymns and the singing of devotees.

It’s a vibrant display of Sikh culture, with participants often donning traditional attire and the Sikh flag prominently displayed.

Langar, a community kitchen offering free meals, is an integral part of the celebrations. Devotees, regardless of their background or religion, come together to partake in this communal meal.

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It emphasizes equality and selfless service.

Guru Nanak Jayanti

Guru Nanak Jayanti Significance

Guru Nanak preached anyone could connect with god by work-shipping with pure con-science. Guru Nanak Jayanti stands as one of India’s most celebrated occasions.

This day tells us the invaluable teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji found in the sacred Guru Granth Sahib. This day holds a special significance in the Sikh community, spreading lots of joy and excitement that resonates worldwide.

Celebration of Guru Nayak Jayanti

The celebration typically kick off with Prabhat Pheris, which are early morning processions originating from Gurudwaras and circulating through the neighborhoods while singing hymns.

Typically, two days before the birthday, Gurdwaras host Akhand Path, a continuous forty-eight-hour reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred scripture of the Sikhs.

In 2023 the celebration will begin this way. On the day preceding the birthday, a procession known as Nagarkirtan is arranged. This procession is spearheaded by the Panj Pyaras, also known as the Five Beloved Ones.

They lead the way carrying the Sikh flag, referred to as the Nishan Sahib, and the Palki (Palanquin) transporting the Guru Granth Sahib. Following them are groups of singers performing hymns, and devotees join in the chorus.

On the day of Gurpurab, the festivities kick off early in the morning, around 4 to 5 a.m., during a time known as Amrit Vela. The day initiates with the rendition of Asaa-Ki-Vaar, the morning hymns.

This is succeeded by a combination of Katha. Which involves the exposition of the scripture, and Kirtan, the singing of hymns from the Sikh scriptures, all dedicated to honoring the Guru.

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Then a special community lunch called Langar is organized at the Gurudwaras by dedicated volunteers. The essence behind this free communal lunch is rooted in the belief that everyone, regardless of gender, caste, class, or creed, should be offered food in the spirit of seva (service) and bhakti (devotion).

How Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated in Golden Temple?

With great enthusiasm, devotees celebrate Guru Nanak Jayanti at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The festivities feature early morning processions known as Nagar Kirtan, traversing the city and concluding at the illuminated Golden Temple.

Devotees actively participate in prayers, hymn singing, and listening to passages from the Guru Granth Sahib. The temple radiates a spiritual ambiance, and the Langar serves free meals, symbolizing equality and community service.

The celebration attracts numerous devotees who actively seek blessings and pay homage to Guru Nanak, the visionary behind Sikhism.

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