Punjab is a land of devotion known for its extravagant festivities. Guru Purab is one of the auspicious festivals of Punjab observed as a mark of respect towards the Sikh Gurus. Guru Purab seeks to celebrate either the birth or the martyrdom of Sikh Gurus. The most important Guru Purabs are the birth anniversaries of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh, the martyrdom days of Guru Arjan and Guru Tegh Bahadur, and of the installation of the Guru Granth Sahib in the Harimandar at Amritsar.
Baisaki and the martyrdom days of the sons of Guru Gobind Singh are other important Guru Purabs. The date of celebration of this festival varies as per the lunar calendar. Two days before Guru Purab, a non- stop recital of Guru Granth Sahib takes place in Gurudwaras. This continuous reading ceremony is known as Akhand Path which lasts for 48 hours. A procession led by the Panj Piare (five senior Sikhs) and the Palki (Palanquin) of Guru Granth Sahib is organised on the next day. A troop of singers, brass band players, Gatka (martial art) follow the Palki while displaying their skilled arts.
At about 4.00 am on the day of Guru Purab, morning hymns (Asa-di-Var) and hymns from the Sikh scriptures are recited. Then there is a katha followed by Ardas, distribution of Kadha Prasad and serving of Langar (free meal). At around 2 am the celebrations come to an end.
By: Anuja Arora