Guru Govind Singh birth anniversary is celebrated by the Sikh community as Guru Govind Singh Jayanti over the world where Sikhs are present. Prakash Parva is another name for this festival. He was the tenth and the last Guru of Sikhism. The celebration date has a vast controversy and variations.
He was born on 22nd December 1666 according to Julian calendar in Patna, Bihar. When Julian calendar was replaced by Gregorian calendar, his birth date became 1st January 1667. However as per Hindu calendar, it was Saptami(7th ) , Paush, Sukla Paksh, 1723( Vikram Samvat). Whenever Sikh’s Nanakshahi calendar is concerned, Guru Govind Jayanti falls on January 5. This festival can occur twice a year, which is very rare. Since it is restricted holiday government institutions, banks, business and other offices remain open. Also holiday may depend according as locality.
Celebrations and Traditions of Guru Govind Singh Jayanti
This festivity is celebrated with a great zeal and fervour by the Sikhs. It holds a similar celebrations and ceremonies like other Guru Parva (Jayanti). A non-stop reading of their holy scripture ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ is held for 48 hours which is known as Akhand Path. One day prior to the birthday, a grand procession is arranged which is led by five beloved ones (Pach Pyara) holding banners . A palanquin carries the Guru Granth sahib in the procession. A team of equipped Sikh people( called Gatka team) show swordship and other martial arts. People accompany the procession singing hymns and religious verses.
On the actual day of the birthday celebration, the day starts with singing Asa-di-var (a collection of 24 stanzas written by Guru Nanak) and hymns from Guru Granth sahib. Kirtan Darbar and other religious gatherings are held at Gurudwaras (holy places of Sikhs) on this day. A community lunch is served among the people irrespective of caste, religion, rich, poor etc – this is called Langer. This Langer signifies the concept of unity of the Sikhs. A grand and beautiful celebration holds at Amritsar’s Golden Temple. Thousands of devotees and pilgrims get together at the temple to worship and pay homage. Punjab and Hariyana (India) are the main sites of this festival due to being majorly Sikh populated states.
About Guru Govind Singh
Govind Singh was the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of Sikhs. His mother’s name was Mata Gujri. After death of his father, he became the leader of Sikhs when he was just nine years old. He had two marriage—Mata Jitu Ji(Ajit Kaur) was his first wife and Mata Sundari was second one. He had four sons— Ajit Singh( from Sundari), Jujhar Singh(from Jitu), Zorowar Singh(from Jitu) and Fateh Singh(from Jitu). His father had sacrificed his life to protect the religious freedom of people.
Guru Govind Singh lived a period which was filled with political and religious stir environment. During that period the Mughals had terrorised the people forcing them to convert to Islam religion. Govind Singh dedicated his life to help the helpless against this oppression. He was a saint with a great devotion to God and also a brave soldier who followed Kshatriya Dharma to fight against oppression and injustice. He was also a great poet and philosopher. He penned a large body of literary work.
Guru Govind Singh baptized (to make someone change religion willingly) five men from the lower caste endowing them a great courage and devotion to God. He established the ‘Khalsa, a military force of saint-soldier whom he baptised’. ‘Khalsa’ followed a strict moral code and spiritual discipline. Khalsa must have to abide by four restrictions— 1) not to disturb the natural growth of hairs. 2) not to eat meat slaughtered in Muslim way. 3) not to make cohabition with a person other than one’s wife. 4) not to take any type of tobacco.
As while he was on his death bed, he passed the Guruship of Sikhs to the Guru Granth Sahiba and declared ‘ Guru Granth Sahib’ to be the permanent Sikh Guru . Guru Govind Singh died on October 7th, 1708 from wounds inflicted by an assassin.
Ten Sikh Gurus
- Guru Nanak
- Guru Angad
- Guru AmarDas
- Guru Ram Das
- Guru Arjun
- Guru Hargovinda
- Guru Har Raai
- Guru Har Krishna
- Guru Tegh Bahadur
- Guru Govind Singh