Birthday of Guru Nanak: April 14
Birthday of Guru Nanak is a religious observance for the Sikhism followers.
April 14 for Sikhs all over the world celebrates the Birth of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru and the founder of Sikhism. He was the first of 10 Sikh Gurus and died on September 22 , 1539, leaving behind a great amount of spiritual writings and large number of followers.
History of Guru Nanak
The birthday of Guru Nanak is celebrated by Sikhs as the Prakash Divas of Guru Nanak. Guru Nanak was born on April 15th 1469, his family were the Bedi Kshatriya, hindus from the Punjab region, near Lahore in Pakistan. At the place where he was born was erected a gurdwara, Sikh worship place, called Gurdwara Nankana Sahib. Very soon the child demonstrated interest for the divine and when he was enrolled in school at the age of seven, he amazed the teacher by describing the symbolism of the first letter of the alphabet, talking about the unity or oneness of God.
Guru Nanak grew in body and spirit and his life developed as any other. He was married to Mata Sulakhni, and has two sons: Sri Chand, who became an ascetic leader, and Lakhmi Chand. Guru Nanak natural divine qualities were encouraged and supported to develop as Guru Nanak studied and traveled with the support of his sister, Bibi Nanaki. One day guru Nanak went missing, everybody feared that he drowned has he went for his morning bath. This happened at the age of thirty, and as he came back he proclaimed that there are no Hindus and there are no Muslims, and from then he began teaching what was then the beginnings of Sikhism.
During one of his journeys, Guru Nanak went to Mecca and was found sleeping with his feet turned to the Holy Kaaba. He was called to attention and told to correct his position. Guru Nanak then asked to be told to point his feet to where the house of God is not. Meaning that God is everywhere. Guru Nanak died on September 22, 1593 in Kartarpur, Pakistan, with 70 years of age. He appointed Baba Lehna as his successor.
Birthday of Guru Nanak Traditions, Customs and Activities
Sikhs celebrate the Birthday of Guru Nanak with an Akhand Path, this is the reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikh Holy Scriptures, from beginning to end without any interruptions. It takes 48 hours to do so and a team of men and women that start two days before the actual date of the Birthday. During the day of the Birthday of Guru Nanak there are large processions led by 5 men, that represent the Beloved Ones, or Panj Pyares, followed by musicians and singers.
All Gurdwaras, Sikh places of worship, are decorated with colorful flowers, images and flags. Communities of Sikhs join together to pray, sing and eat together. Early dawn of the Birthday of Guru Nanak, there are keertans, recitations of hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, and katha, readings about Sikhism. In the afternoon Karah Parasaad is served still warm, a sweet tasting previously blessed food, made of semolina, wheat flour, sugar and ghee butter. This is just the beginning of the langar, or meal, which is shared by all. The day will end with fireworks and prayers that will go into the night.