23rd November is widely celebrated as Guru Nanak Jayanti all over India. This day marks the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, who is the founder of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus and is the holiest festival for the Sikh community.
Guru Nanak travelled far and wide teaching people the message of one God who dwells in every one of His creations and constitutes the eternal Truth. He established a unique socio-religious platform based on the principles of equality, fraternal love, goodness, and virtue. Nanak’s teachings are compiled in the form of 974 poetic hymns in the holy text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib.
As for the main day, celebration starts at the crack of dawn, with Prabhat Pheris which are early morning processions that begin at the gurudwaras and proceed through the localities singing hymns. This is followed by a combination of Katha (exposition of the scripture) and Kirtan (hymns from the Sikh scriptures), in the praise of the Guru. Then comes the Langar which is a special community lunch held at gurdwaras, organised by volunteers. There is a beautiful and utopian notion ingrained behind Langar which is that everyone, irrespective of caste, class or creed, should be offered food in the spirit of seva (service) and bhakti (devotion).
Although this day is celebrated by the Sikh community all over the world, the celebrations are particularly colorful and grand in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.