Gurpurb Celebration

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Gurpurb is the a term generally used to refer to celebration associated with the birthdays of the Sikh Gurus

Main article: Gurpurb

The celebration is generally similar for all the various Gurpurbs; only the Shabads (hymns sung and history of a particular occasion is different.

All Gurpurbs are considered auspicious and important but special significance is accorded to the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, as the Sikhs believe that Guru Nanak brought enlightenment to the world, hence the festival is also called Prakash Utsav, literally the "birth of light".

Fifteen days before the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, celebrations begin. Religious processions called "Prabhat Pheris" are taken from house to house singing Kirtan and Shabads (hymns) from the SGGS.

These pheris generally start three weeks before the festival. Devotees offer sweets and tea when the procession passes by their homes. A day before the festival, an enormous parade starts from the Gurdwara, usually in the afternoon.

The first installation and Guruship of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji - The celebrations start with the three-day Akhand Path, in which the Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book of the Sikhs) is read continuously from beginning to end without a break. Conclusion of the reading coincides with the day of the festival.

The Granth Sahib is also carried in procession on a float decorated with flowers throughout the village or city.

Nishan Sahib are carried by five armed Sikhs, who represent the Panj Pyares, head the procession carrying Nishan Sahibs (the Sikh flag) and/or Kirpans.

Local bands play religious music and marching schoolchildren form a special part of the procession.

As they weave their way through the markets and residential areas of the city, people come forward to seek the blessings of the Panj Pyaras (Five Beloved Ones) , by bowing before the Guru Granth Sahib.

The procession gives an opportunity even to the old and the infirm to pay homage to the Guru Granth Sahib before it winds its way back to the temple.

Sikhs visit gurdwaras (Sikh temples) where special programmes are arranged and kirtans (religious songs) sung. Free sweets and langar (free community meals) are also offered to everyone irrespective of religious faith.

Local volunteers serve it with a spirit of seva (service) and bhakti (devotion).

At night Sikhs illuminate and decorate their houses and Gurdwaras with candles and electric lights.

On the martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev kachi lassi (sweetened milk) is offered to the thirsty passers-by to commemorate the death of the Guru who was burnt to death during the hot months of May and June.

Above based on article at www.ruchiskitchen.com