Gurpurab or Guru Parv in Sikh religion, which marks the birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru ‘Guru Nanak Dev’, will be celebrated on Friday, 23 November this year.
According to mythological beliefs, the gurus who succeeded Guru Nanak celebrated his birthday.
The term gurpurab, which first appeared in the time of the gurus, is a compound of the word guru (an incarnation of god) and the word purab (or parva in Sanskrit), meaning a festival or celebration.
On this day, the devotees read the scriptures from the holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, in a single continuous ceremony, called Akhand Path, which usually lasts up to 48 hours.
Special congregations are held in gurdwaras to enlighten people on the lives and teachings of the gurus. Prabhat Pheris are also carried out on this day, with the Sikhs marching in processions through towns and cities chanting the holy hymns.
In a sign of service to the community at large, special langars are held throughout the day and according to a popular belief, the participants “receive the blessings of god in the form of Karha prasad (an Indian delicacy cooked using suji, desi ghee and sugar).”
Public functions are held in community centers, besides the more literary ones in schools and colleges.
People decorate their houses with diyas and lights to celebrate this “Prakash parv” (festival of lights) and friends and families exchange greetings.
Pak Issues Visas to 3,800 Sikh Pilgrims for Attending Celebrations
Pakistan on Tuesday, 20 November, issued visas to over 3,800 Indian Sikh pilgrims to participate in the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev from 21-30 November.
“These visas were in addition to those issued to Sikh pilgrims participating in the event from other countries.”Pakistan High Commission, in a statement on Tuesday, 20 November.
"This is by far the largest number of visas issued in recent years to Sikh yatrees for Baba Guru Nanak's birth anniversary celebrations, well beyond the maximum number of 3,000, mutually agreed between the two countries for this event," the statement said.
Under the framework of the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, a large number of Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals and occasions every year.
According to Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood, this was a "special gesture" by the Pakistan government in view of Guru Nanak's 550th anniversary celebrations commencing from this year.
(With inputs from PTI.)