Guru Nanak Jayanti
Guru Nanak Jayanti is one of the most sacred Sikh festivals. The occasion celebrates the birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev, who was also the founder of Sikh religion. The Guru was born on the full moon day in the month of Kartik, which according to the Georgian calendar, generally falls in the month of October or November. Besides being the founder of the Sikh religion and the first of the 10 Sikh gurus, Guru Nanak Dev was also a great poet, philosopher, humanist, social reformer and a preacher of mankind. He delivered the message that “There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim.” Some of his famous teachings include:
- There is only one God. Remember God, work hard and help others.
- Everyone is equal before God.
- It is your actions that make you good or bad.
- Be kind to all: birds, animal & people.
- Do not speak evil of anyone. Pray for the welfare of all.
Guru Nanak Jayanti is a three-day long festival which is celebrated with great religious fervour and high spirit all across India, especially in Punjab & Haryana. The festive spirit of the occasion begins with the recitation of Guru Granth Sahib (Akhand Path) in the Gurdwaras. The sacred scripture is read continuously, without any break. After the completion of the recitation, the holy book (Guru Granth Sahib) is carried out in a procession, a day before the actual celebration. The sacred scripture is decorated beautifully with flowers and is placed in a palanquin (Palki). The procession is headed by the Panj Pyaras, the five armed guards carrying Nishan Sahib, the Sikh flag. Starting from the Gurdwara, the procession leads towards the neighbouring locality. Children and adults take part in the procession and march to the tunes of religious hymns played by the local bands. Also, a special ‘Gatka’ team demonstrates mock-battles using traditional weapons.
On the day of the festival, the celebration begins early in the morning with the recitation of morning hymns called Aasa-di-var, followed by a Katha and Kirtan which continues till noon. This is followed by ‘langar’, a special community lunch where people irrespective of their caste, creed & colour, eat food together. Also, the Gurdwara distributes a sacred food called ‘Karha Prasad’ to all the people present there. During the entire festivity, the Gurdwaras are beautifully decorated and are illuminated with candles, diyas and lights.
How to celebrate Guru Nanak Jayanti with your children?
Here are some ideas for you to celebrate the festive occasion with your children at home, while instilling cultural values in them:
- Narrate stories related to the life of Guru Nanak Dev, to your children.
- Dress-up your children in new traditional clothes and offer the prayers (Ardaas) at the Gurudwara Sahib.
- Along with your children, recite the Shabads (religious hymns).
- Involve your child to prepare the Karha Prasad at your home.
- Dress up your children as one of the Panj Pyare and make them participate in the procession.
- Involve your children in brightening up your home by decorating it with earther lamps and candles.
Recipe for Karha Prasad
- 1 cup ghee
- 1 cup whole grain flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 cups water
- In a vessel, add sugar to water and keep the mixture to boil.
- Take another pan and melt ghee.
- Now, to this melted ghee, add whole grain flour.
- Continuously stir the mixture and roast until it turns golden brown.
- Now, add the sugar syrup into the flour and stir rapidly until all the syrup is absorbed.
- Continue stirring this mixture until it thickens into a firm pudding.
- Now, the Prasad is completely cooked.