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Guru Nanak - The founder of the Sikh Community

Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated today on the 5th
November 2006. He was born in the month of Kartik and his birthday is
celebrated as Guru Nanak Jayanti. He was born in 1469 A.D. at Tolevandi
some 30 miles from Lahore. The anniversaries of Sikh Guru's are known
as Gurpurabs (festivals) and are celebrated with devotion and
dedication.

The
son of a Kshatriya (warrior) family, he studied Hinduism and Islam. He
got married but then he abandoned his family and became an ascetic.
Wandering for many years he came under the influence of both Hindus and
Muslims. The Muslim teacher Kabir made a deep impression on Guru Nanak.
He began preaching, "There is no Hindu, there is no Mussulman".

He
was a great seer, saint and mystic. He was a prolific poet and a unique
singer of God's laudation. A prophet of peace, love, truth and
renaissance, he was centuries ahead of his times. His universal message
is as fresh and true even today as it was in the past and Sikhs all
over the world, practice what Guru Nanak Dev preached, to reaffirm
their beliefs in the teachings of their founder.

Sikhs celebrating Guru Nanak's birthday...

The
celebrations of Guru Nanak's birthday start with the three-day akhand
path in which the Granth Sahib (the holy book of the Sikhs) is read
from beginning to end without a break. The 3rd day is usually the Gurupurab.

On
this day the Granth Sahib is carried in a procession throughout the
city on a big float. Five armed guards, who represent the panj pyaras,
head the procession carrying the Sikh flag.

Ladies
accompanying the procession sing hymns from the Granth Sahib.
Schoolchildren marching to the tune of local bands are a special
feature of the procession.

The
route of the procession is lined with people offering sweets and cold
drinks to the general public and the marchers irrespective of their
religious faith. Men, women, and children, participate in this karseva
as service to the community, cook food and distribute it in the 'Guru
ka Langar', with the traditional 'Karah Prasad'.

The procession ends at the Gurudwara where a special langar or community lunch is organized.

Sikhs
also visit Gurdwaras where special programs are arranged and kirtans
(religious songs) are sung. Houses and Gurdwaras are lit up to add to
the festivities. Guru Nanak Dev's life served as a beacon light for his
age.