Today, Sikhs celebrate the birth one of the most important figures in their faith, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
A platform with 6 arrows is set up. A man lies, belly facing the arrows, on the platform. Breaths are held as four other men set an icy slab on his back and another two men hold him up. Finally, one last man enters, carrying a massive hammer, which he begins to swing heavily into the ice. Don’t worry, he’s actually okay. They are celebrating the Sikh Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 546th Prakash Parva, or birthday. Sikh’s celebrate this day with music, dancing and the use of their amazing weapons. They offer spear attack and defense and have displays of various weapons, such as the gurj, which is a kind of gladiator disc with spokes. The day is celebrated on Kartik Poornima, the full moon day in the month of Kartik, usually the eighth month of the Indian calendar and normally starts in November.
Who is Guru Nanak Dev?
He is the first Guru of the Sikh religion. When he was born the stars told of his importance. They said he would affect many people, and be respected by Hindus and Muslims. They were right, too. Growing up, he demonstrated spirituality through many different events. He wrote spiritual poetry as an adult, and traveled, preaching of one God. Followers flocked to him, the very first Sikhs, or “seekers of truth.”
When was Guru Nanak born?
There are two schools of thought on the true birthdate of Guru Nanak. The modern view and the traditionalist view both give a very different date for the birthday through different calculations. Researchers believe that his age of 70 years, 5 months and 7 days, as mentioned in a handwritten diary Audi Granth Sahib. They simply counted backwards, and checked sources, to arrive at the date Vaiakh Sudi 13 BK. Traditionalists, on the other hand, believe the age to be incorrect, and, through their own means, determined it to be 69 years, 10 months and 10 days, making the birthday 21 Kartik, 1526 BK. Part of the reason for such discrepancies is that our understanding of the lunar and solar calendars have changed throughout the years. However, similar to how Christians celebrate Jesus’ birthday on December 25th even though his birth date is also disputed, the modern-day celebration traditionally takes place on the full moon of Kartik which, this year, falls on November 6th.
- The Times of India
- Sikhism.About.com – The Story of Guru Nanak’s Birth
- Sikhism.About.com – Guru Nanak Dev
- Sikh Coalition
- United Church of God