Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh: January 5
Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh is a religious observance for the Sikhism followers.
The birth of Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Sikh Guru is celebrated on the 23rd day of the month of Poh of the Nanakshahi calendar followed by Sikhs to determine dates of important Sikh events, it corresponds to January 5 on the Gregorian calendar.
History of Guru Gobind Singh
Gobind Singh was born on December 22, 1666, his father was Guru Tegh Bahadur, the 9th guru of Sikhism. Gobing Singh at the age of nine became the 10th Guru, and last Guru of Sikhism. As a child he was very admired by everyone for his leadership skills and the wisdom he displayed. His studies included Punjabi, Sanskrit, Braj, Arabian and Persian languages. His father died in 1675 at Chandani Chowk, he was beheaded for not accepting to become a Muslim under the orders of the Emperor.
Since his father had declared that his son Gobind Singh would become the next Guru after his death, at the early age of nine, Gobind Singh became Guru of the Sikhs. He instilled a martial spirit into his followers so that they would not fear the persecutions of the Emperor. During his life he wrote many poems about love, worship of one god, equality and putting away superstition and idolatry.
As the threats to Sikhs grew around Guru Gobind Singh, he decided to do something that would mark forever Sikhism. He sent letters to all followers to meet at Anandpur for the annual harvest festival of Vaisakhi. He then talked to everybody that came to his call. He asked for anyone who would be ready to die for God, he had to ask the question three times before one of the followers came forward to him, Daya Ram offered his head in sacrifice. He was led by the Guru inside a tent. He then returned with a bloody sword in his hands and made the same question to everyone. Another volunteer came forward, and the same thing happened, they went inside the tent and the Guru came out with the sword full of blood. This happened three more times.
Finally the five volunteers came out of the tent dressed as the Guru and unharmed. They were the first Khalsa, the Panj Piare, the five beloved ones. The Guru them himself asked the new Khalsa ti initiate him into the new formed Khalsa to become the fifth member of this group. The Khalsa were the spearhead of defense of Sikhs against any aggression.
Guru Gobind Singh was assassinated as he intended to make peace with Bahadur Shah I. He left a great number of writings and told his disciples to consider Guru Granth Sahib, the collection of all writings from the previous Gurus as their eternal Guru and that this book would be the passage to meet the Gurus and understand their teachings.
Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Traditions, Customs and Activities
The Birthday celebration lasts for 3 days. Two days before the birthday there is a team of men and women that start reading the Guru Granth Sahib from start to end without interruption, this is called the Akhand Path and is done at any Gurdwara, Sikh worship place.
The day vefore the birthday a procession id organized, the Panj Pyares lead the procession and are followed by musicians, dancers and gatka teams performing martial arts. On the day of the birthday at early morning there are morning hymns, or Asa di Var, followed by an exposition of the Guru Granth Sahib. During the day there is food serving and everybody joins in prayers and joyous singing. Around sunset it is time for the Rehras, evening prayers.