Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh guru and the founder of the Sikh religion, was born on the full moon day in the month of Kartik as per the Hindu calendar. Hence, his birthday is celebrated as Guru Nanak Jayanti. The Sikhs visit Gurdwaras where special programs are arranged and kirtans (religious songs) are sung. Houses and Gurdwaras are decorated and lit up to add to the festivities. The date falls in October or November in the Gregorian calendar. This year it falls on 28th November, 2012.
Guru Nanak Dev is the founder of the Sikhism religion and the first of the 10 Sikh gurus. Guru Nanak was born in 1469 A.D. at Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi, some 30 miles from Lahore, in the present Pakistan.
• Guru Nank Dev was the first of the 10 Sikh gurus.
• The fifth Guru, Guru Arjun compiled the Granth Sahib, the final form of which was given by the tenth Guru, Guru Govind Singh.
• In order to give the Sikhs a different identity, Guru Govind Singh, introduced the five Ks: "kes" or unshorn hair and beard, "kangh" or comb in the hair, "kara" or steel bangle on the right wrist, "kacch" or short drawers and "kirpan" or steel dagger.
• The main shrine of the Sikhs is the Golden Temple of Amritsar, in Punjab
Guru Nank Jayanti is marked by prabhat pheris or early morning processions that begins from the gurudwaras and then moves to different localities singing hymns or shabads. The celebration lasts for three days. Usually two days before the Birthday of Guru Nanak, 'Akhand Path' or forty-eight hour non-stop reading of the holy book of the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib is carried on at the gurudwaras.
A procession is carried out on the day before his birthday which is led by the Panj Pyaras (Five Beloved Ones). 'Nishan Sahib' (Sikh flag) and 'The Palanquin' (Palki) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is taken out in the procession.
The birthday of the first Sikh guru is celebrated as Guru Nanak Jayanti in India and worldwide where Sikhs reside with immense fervor and gaiety. Free sweets and community lunches, or langar, are offered to everyone irrespective of religious faith. Men, women, and children, participate in this karseva as service to the community by cooking food and distributing it in the 'Guru ka Langar', with the traditional 'Karah Prasad'.