Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurpurab, also known as Guru Nanak’s Prakash Parv and Guru Nanak Dev Ji Jayanti, celebrates the birth of the first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. This is one of the most sacred festivals in Sikhi(Sikhism).
Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, was born on Puranmashi of Khattak in 1469, according to the Bikrami calendar in Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in the present Shekhupura District of Pakistan, now Nankana Sahib. International Nagar Kirtan was held on the ocassion of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 550th birthday.
It is a Gazetted holiday in Indian calendar.
According to the Bhai Bala Janamsakhi, it claims Guru Nanak was born on the Full Moon of the Indian Lunar Month Kartik.
However, some scholars and organizations believe that Prakash Parv should be celebrated on Baisakhi, which falls on April 14 according to the Nanakshahi calendar passed by Sri Akal Takht in 2003.
We have put together a guide to help you know how the Prakash Parv is celebrated:
The celebrations usually commence with Prabhat Pheris(early morning processions that begin at the Gurudwaras and proceed around the localities singing hymns).
Two days before the Prakash Parv, Akhand Path (a forty-eight-hour non-stop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs) is held in the Gurdwaras.
The day before the Prakash Parv, a Nagarkirtan(procession) is organised. This procession is led by the Panj Pyaras (Five Beloved Ones) carrying the Nishan Sahib(Sikh flag) and the Palki (Palanquin) of Guru Granth Sahib.
Devotees start singing Gurbani at about 1:20 a.m., which is the actual time of birth of Guru Nanak.
The morning begins with the singing of Asaa-Ki-Vaar (morning hymns) followed by any combination of Katha (exposition of the scripture) and Kirtan (hymns from the Sikh scriptures), in the praise of the Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Following that is the Langar(community lunch), which is arranged at the Gurudwaras by volunteers. The idea behind the free community lunch is that everyone, irrespective of gender ,caste, class or creed, should be offered food in the spirit of seva (service) and bhakti (devotion).
Night Prayer sessions are also held in some Gurudwaras, which begin around sunset when Rehras(evening prayer) is recited, followed by Kirtan till late at night.