ON THIS DAY – 30TH NOVEMBER, Guru Nanak Jayanti Is Celebrated


Guru Nanak Dev Ji – the first Sikh Guru’s birthday – is widely celebrated across the globe. The auspicious day is known as Guru Nanak Jayanti, Gurpurab or Guru Nanak Prakash Parv. Ahead of this day, Gurudwaras are decked up and the festive fervour can be seen as devotees offer prayers in huge numbers. One of the most sacred festivals in Sikhism, this year, the day is observed on 30th November.

The festival actually starts 48 hours before the full moon day. The Gurus start with 48 hours of nonstop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib. On the day before the birthday, a procession is organised.

In this procession, the Panj Pyaras (Five Beloved Ones) carry the flag Nishan Sahib (Sikh flag) and the Palki (the Palanquin on which the Guru Granth Sahib is carried around) in many different localities in the regions where Gurupurab is celebrated. The procession is then followed by singers singing hymns. Even the ‘Gatka’ teams display their swordsmanship through various martial arts and mock battles using traditional weapons during this Sikh festival.

Guru Nanak Gurpurab is a day of reverence and reminder for the devotees to follow the teachings of Guru Nanak and his selfless service to people.

Guru Nanak Dev was born in the year 1469 in Nankana Sahib. He was the founder of Sikhism, which is why his birth was considered nothing short of a divine miracle. His birth anniversary coincides with Kartik Purnima as per the Hindu calendar. Guru Nanak Jayanti is a day to remember and revisit the teachings of the Guru. One of the primary principles was the belief in one God, also known as ‘Ek Onkar’ and submission to the will of God, or ‘Waheguru’. The detailed teachings can be found in the holy book of Sikhism, Guru Granth Sahib.

The significance of Guru Nanak Jayanti 2020 is to observe the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. He is considered as the founder of Sikhism and somebody who preached peace and service to humanity. The day of celebration starts early in the morning at 4/5 am in the morning when the devotees start singing of Asaa-Ki-Vaar (morning hymns). This is then followed by the ‘Katha’ where different stories are told by the Sikh gurus. At some Gurdwaras, night-long prayers are held. Hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib are recited at 1:20 am, the birth time of Guru Nanak.

It is followed by langar, which is a community lunch at the Gurudawars made by volunteers. The teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is praised throughout the day in different forms of hymns. Two days before the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, Akhand Path is also done. A day before Gurpurab, Nagar Kirtan is organised in communities. Nagar Kirtan is a procession taken out by devotees early in the morning. People walk down the streets chanting beautiful hymns and prayers. The Nagar Kirtan is led with a Palki or Palanquin of Guru Granth Sahib.

The day holds greater significance for Sikhs and is revered as one of their most important festivals. In Sikhism, birthdays of the 10 Gurus are observed as major festivals and widely celebrated. It is their teachings which the Sikhs follow to tread on their life path.