Guru Nanak festival or Gurupurav also called the Guru Nanak Dev Ji's Prakash Utsav, is the day of celebration for the first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak. It is known to be one of the most sacred rituals among the Sikhs and in Sikhism. Some of the nanakpanthi Hindus, apart from the Sikhs also follow the philosophy of Guru Nanak and celebrates the festival equally. The festival of the Sikhs revolves around the Sikh gurus who started the beliefs in Sikhs. The birthdays are also known as the Gurupurab and are an occasional celebration for the Sikhs. The celebration of the Gurupurab or Guru Nanak festival is almost similar, but the hymns are just different.
Guru Nanak Festival
The celebration of Guru Nanak festival usually starts with PrabhatPheris. It is a procession in the early morning that begins in the gurudwaras and goes around localities by singing of hymns. There are 2 important days before the Guru Nanak day’s birthday. One is the Akhand Path that involves a continuous 48 hours of reading from the holy book of the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib. This is held in the gurudwaras. The day before the birthday procession is also called the Nagakirtan. The procession is led by the Panj pyaras. This procession is called the Sikh flag, also commonly known as the Nishan Sahib. There is also Palki procession of the Guru Granth Sahib. Many teams follow the main procession through singing of hymns, including the devotees singing the chorus.
Other Details about Guru Nanak Festival
There are the brass bands that play various tunes also known as the Gatka. These teams display swordsmanship, including various martial arts and various mock battle techniques through the use of traditional weapons. There is a procession carried out on the streets of the town. The gates and the passages are covered and decorated with flowers and flags for this very special occasion. The leaders help in spreading the message through this procession of the guru Nanak festival.
On the guru Nanak festival or Gurupurab celebration day, celebrations begin early in the morning at 4am or 5 am. This is also called the Amrit vela. The beginning of the day starts with Asa-di-Var or singing of hymns in the time of the mornings. The celebration is followed by scripture exposition also called the Katha and after that Kirtan. The Kirtan is also known to be various hymns from the holy scriptures of the Sikhs. This is done to praise the gurus of the Sikhs. After the Kirtan procession, there is Langar procession. In the langar procession, a community lunch of special kind is arranged by the volunteers of the Gurudwaras. It is also held in the Gurudwaras. The communal lunch is held in order to ignite the spirit (service) and bhakti (devotion).
Night Prayers and Rehras
There is a session of Gurupurab that begins early morning right around the sunset. This is also called the Rehras or the evening prayer. The hymns are recited in the evening by the Gurudwara followers and it goes until late at night. Around 1:30am in the morning, the Gurbani is sung. This was the actual time of birth for Guru Nanak Dev Ji. They celebrations end during 2am in the morning. Guru Nanak Gurupurab is known to be one of the most important festivals of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. They are mostly held in the Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh.