Gurpurab of Guru Nanak: The birthday of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, comes in the month of November, but the date varies from year to year according to the lunar Indian calendar. The birthday celebrations last three days. Generally two days before the birthday, Akhand Path is performed in the Gurdwaras. One day before the birthday, a procession is organised which is led by the Panj Piare and the Palki (Palanquin) of Guru Granth Sahib and followed by teams of singers singing hymns, brass bands playing different tunes, ‘Gatka’ (martial art) teams show their swordsmanship, and processionists singing the chorus. The procession passes through the main roads and streets of the town which are covered with buntings and decorated gates and the leaders inform the people of the message of Guru Nanak. On the anniversary day, the programme begins early in the morning at about 4 or 5 am with the singing of Asa-di-Var (morning hymns) and hymns from the Sikh scriptures followed by Katha (exposition of the scripture) and lectures and recitation of poems in praise of the Guru. The celebrations go on till about 2 pm.
After Ardas and distribution of Karah Parsad, a special Langar is served on the day of Gurpurab. Some Gurdwaras also hold night prayer sessions. This begins around sunset when Rehras (evening prayer) is recited. This is followed by Kirtan till late in the night. Sometimes a Kavi-darbar (poetic symposium) is also held to enable the poets to pay their tributes to the Guru in their own verses. At about 1:20 am, the actual time of the birth, the congregation starts singing Gurbani. The function ends about 2 am.
The Sikhs who cannot join the celebrations for some reason, or in places where there are no Gurdwaras, hold the ceremony in their own homes by performing Kirtan, Path, Ardas, Karah Parsad and Langar.