How Do Sikhs Celebrate Guru Nanak's Birthday?

Sikhs celebrate Guru Nanak's birthday by organizing family gatherings at their place of worship, called a gurdwara. Prayers are offered, and the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, is read. Food and stories about the Guru's life are also part of the celebration.

Reading from the Guru Granth Sahib is an important aspect of celebrating Guru Nanak's birthday. This reading takes place non-stop over a 48-hour period that begins before the birthday and concludes on the morning of the auspicious day. A designated team of Sikh men and women read for two or three hours each, and the session concludes with singing hymns.

Parades are also an essential part of the birthday celebrations. Both in India and abroad, predawn parades are conducted, during which Sikhs walk together while singing or reciting from the holy book. The festivities continue through the day, culminating with fireworks in many parts of the world.

Guru Nanak, who is considered the founder of the Sikh religion, was born in Pakistan on April 15, 1469. The occasion of his birth is celebrated in November, but the date changes from year to year. The three key tenets of the Guru's teachings are to pray and recite the name of god, to earn an honest living through hard work and to share material possessions with those in need.