The Sikh community welcomed their New Year by offering prayers at the Golden Temple and by taking part in religious functions that were organised in various shrines of the city as well as at homes.
March 14 or the first day of the month of Chet marks the beginning of the Sikh New Year, which is Nanakshahi Samat 548. The main function was held at Dewan Manji Sahib Hall in the Golden Temple complex where a well-attended ‘Gurmat Samagam’ (religious function) was held. Harmandir Sahib Head Granthi Giani Jagtar Singh wished the community a happy and prosperous new year.
Later in the day, the ‘gurta gaddi diwas’ (enthronement) of seventh guru, Guru Har Rai was celebrated as ‘Sikh Environment Day’. The guru was a great lover of nature and ordained his followers to plant trees and keep their surroundings neat and clean.
To mark the occasion, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) distributed saplings of various varieties as ‘parsad’ at the Golden Temple and other shrines in the city. On the directions of SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar, plants and saplings of trees were planted outside the offices of the gurdwara body here and also in the lawns around the shrine complex.
SGPC additional secretary Daljit Singh Bedi said saplings were also planted in all SGPC-run educational and professional institutions and at its ‘sarais’ (resting place for pilgrims). A special cleanliness drive was launched in SGPC residential colonies.
The SGPC began celebrating the ‘gurtta gaddi diwas’ as ‘Environment Day’ on the suggestions of EcoSikh, US-based environmental group.
This year, EcoSikh gave a call for the introduction of organically grown ingredients in meals served in the ‘langars’ (community kitchens) of gurdwaras. The SGPC has already made a beginning in this direction by starting organic farming of food items particularly wheat and vegetables, on a portion of the agricultural land owned by the religious body.