Sikh new year starts March 14
The Sikh New Year, first day of the Chet month of Nanakshahi Sammat 546, is on March 14.
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh on Tuesday released the Nanakshahi calendar for the year 2014-15 with an appeal to all Sikhs to follow it and celebrate or observe all important days marked on it.
Senior members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) attended the release ceremony at their headquarters here.
Arguing that all religious and social organisations of the faith should accept the calendar as official almanac, the jathedar said the Akal Takht was yet to decide on the requests for amendments. The Sant Samaj, a conglomerate of Sikh religious groups, has proposed many changes in the calendar. In December last year, it favoured reverting to the Bikrami calendar, arguing that the Nanakshahi calendar, though revised in 2010, was still unacceptable to the community.
The Sant Samaj led by Damdami Taksal head Baba Harnam Singh Dhuma considers the Nanakshahi calendar confusing, and in this context, has referred to important Sikh days such as Gurpurbs being observed on different dates at different places.
People opposed to the Bikrami calendar, however, want the high priests to revert to the original, 2003-version Nanakshahi calendar that Sikh scholar Pal Singh Purewal had prepared. They had objected even when Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh had approved the amended calendar in 2010 on the suggestion of an SGPC team.
On the Sikh New Year's Eve (March 13), the SGPC-organised "kirtan darbar" (religious function) at Dewan Manji Sahib Hall of the Golden Temple will go past midnight. In the New-Year thanksgiving "ardas" (prayer) on March 14, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh and SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar will greet Sikhs.
March 14, first day of the new month of Chet, also Gurta Gaddi Divas (coronation day) of Guru Har Rai, seventh Sikh Guru, will be marked as environment day.
On this day, the SGPC will plant tree saplings outside all its important gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Chandigarh; and its educational institutions will hold similar greening drives.