Guru Nanak Jayanti
Among the Sikhs, Gurunanak Jayanti- the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of the faith- is an occasion for great rejoicing. Guru Nanak was born in 1469 AD at Tolevandi (near Lahore), and his birth anniversary is celebrated with much pomp and religious fervour across the Sikh community. The festivities for the day begin with early morning processions known as the 'prabhat pheri'; the procession starts at a local gurudwara and makes its way around the neighbourhood, chanting verses and singing hymns. Prabhat pheris are held on the days prior to Gurunanak Jayanti; and for the three days too, there is a continuous reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, from beginning to end, without a break.
The day of the festival is marked by a special procession in which pride of place is reserved for the Guru Granth Sahib, carried on a beautifully decorated float and accompanied by musicians and five armed guards (who represent the panj piaras). Prayers and kirtans at gurudwaras are followed by community meals (langar), where all- irrespective of religious conviction- are welcome.