The Gurpurab or Gurpurb festival, is the celebration of the birth anniversary of the Guru or Spiritual leader of the Sikh religion.
Guru Nanak was the founder and first Guru of the Sikh religion, and hence the Guru Nanak Gurpurab or his birth anniversary is celebrated every year is the Gurpurab, by Sikhs all over the world.
Gurpurab, ideally means the birth anniversary of any Guru of the Sikh religion. The Guru Nanak Gurpurab is the most important because he was the first Guru, but the birth anniversaries of the other nine Gurus are also celebrated as Gurpurab festivals in Sikhism. In addition, the martyrdom days of Guru Arjan Singh and Guru Tegh Bahadur Singh are also celebrated as Gurpurab festivals. Guru Gobind Singh who was the tenth Guru, conferred the authority and title of a ‘living Guru’ on the holy Scpriture called Guru Granth Sahib, which is the holy text of Sikhism. This day is also celebrated as a Gurpurab in Sikhism.
The Gurpurab festivals have a very special format and significance in the lives of Sikhs. They are focused around the teachings in the Guru Granth Sahib. They are spiritual occasions created as social reminders to the Sikhism followers of the basic precepts and values detailed in the Guru Granth Sahib. The Mool Mantar, the Jap ji Sahib, Sohila and the hymns of Guru Granth Sahib all focus on the same spiritual value – to recognise and worship the one true god within each one of us – that is the eternal, nameless, formless and timeless truth. The Gurpurab celebrations start with two days of continuous recitations of the Guru Granth Sahib, in the Gurudwaras or in private ceremonies. On the day of the Gurpurab, there are morning walks, where the followers of Sikhism and their leaders, spread the holy word and the hymns in the society. Mass prayers, recitations and meditations are organised. Spiritual lectures are organised. Langar – a free communal kitchen service is provided to people of all faith.
Gurpurab festival is a spiritual and social reminder of the values and principles of the Sikh gurus, for the Sikhs of the world.