Guru Nanak Jayanti (Gurparab) is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of the first Guru of Sikhs, Guru Nanak, on Kartik Poornima, 15 days after Deepawali. It is one of the most sacred festivals of the Sikhs. Apart from the Sikhs, Nanakpanthi Hindus and other followers of Guru Nanak’s philosophy also participate in the celebrations.
Guru Nanak was a social reformer having divine spirit. He gave the message of universal love, brotherhood and equality to mankind. He also exhorted to be kind to people, animals and birds. He was born in village Talwandi in Pakistan in 1469. The place today is known as Nanakana Sahib.
Guru Nanak travelled widely to almost all important religious places of the country as well as abroad. During his time no transport was available and so he travelled on foot. His knowledge of Persian, Hindi and Sanskrit helped him spread his divine message to the masses.
He was dead against following different religious rituals and superstitions and firmly believed in the existence of only one God. He had exhorted to speak the truth as he felt that God and Truth are the same.
Though born in an upper caste of Khatri family, he discarded the system of inequality of different castes. He treated women with dignity and equality and allowed them to participate in all religious functions.
A few days before Gurparab, people take out a procession from their gurdwaras in the form of Prabhat Pheri in the early morning, singing religious hymns. One day before Nanak Jayanti, Nagarkirtan is organised on a large scale. Several devotees arrange stalls of eatables for the people participating. This Nagarkirtan is led by five Sikhs symbolising Panj Pyare — the pure souls, along with musical band and other instruments.
Guru Nanak Jayanti reminds us to follow all the teachings of the Guru so that mankind at large is benefited.