Guru parv, also known as Guru Nanak’s Prakash Utsav, Guru Nanak Gurpurab and Guru Nanak Jayanti, celebrates the birth of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak. This is one of the most auspicious festivals of the Sikh community. On this occasion, Sikhs across the world celebrate and offer prayers. The celebrations of Guru parv begin two days before the main festival with ‘Akhand Path’. The recitals of the verses of Guru Granth Sahib are done continuously in Gurudwaras for 48 hours.
The next day, all the Sikhs go to the Gurudwara early morning for ‘Prabhat Pheris’ which are performed with the chanting of hymns from Guru Granth Sahib. Afterwards, a grand procession known as ‘Nagarkirtan’ is organized. This ceremonious procession by the followers is carried out with singing and dancing and preaching Guru Nanak’s message. It is led by Panj Pyaras or 5 beloved ones followed by the devotees holding Nishaan Sahib and Sikh flags. On the main day of Guru parv, devotees visit the Gurudwara early morning and recite devotional prayers— Amrit Vela, for Prabhat Pheris which is followed by ‘Katha’ narration in which the teachings of Guru Nanak are taught to the devotees. The morning rituals end with ‘Kirtan’ where devotional songs are sung to please Guru Nanak Dev.
Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated on a big scale in the states of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. This festival is also joyfully celebrated in Canada and the UK where a large population of Sikh resides. On this auspicious day, he followers also offer their ‘Seva’ in the Langar by distributing meals to all the people who visit the Gurudwara irrespective of the caste or religion. ‘Rehrasi’, a special prayer is conducted at the time of sunset. The singing of prayers, as well as Gurbani, continues till 1.20 AM, as it is believed that Guru Nanak was born at this time with celebrations ending finally at around 2:00 AM.