Me and my community
What events bring the Sikh community together?
In Sikhism, there are many festivals known as Gurpurabs. These are holy days honouring the lives of the ten Gurus.
One of the most important is Guru Nanak Gurpurab, celebrating the birthday of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak. After the death of Guru Nanak, beliefs were passed down through a series of ten Gurus for some 200 years.
How is Guru Nanak Gurpurab celebrated?
To celebrate Guru Nanak Gurpurab, the Sikh community gathers together to take part in a street procession called a nagar kirtan. The Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book) is carried through the streets on a specially decorated float, Sikhs join together to sing, dance and play musical instruments.
Sikh worship and festivals are followed by the langar. This is a free, vegetarian meal which takes place in the Gurdwara, the Sikh holy building. This meal is offered to everyone, regardless of their faith and is cooked and served by both men and women, with everyone sitting together on the floor to eat. The langar symbolises equality, which was one of the most important teachings of Guru Nanak.
Other Sikh festivals
Another important festival celebrated by the Sikh community is Bandi Chhor Divas , which means ‘liberation of prisoners day’. This marks the day when the sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind, was released from prison, along with fifty-two Hindu princes. Diwali means ‘festival of lights’, and the festival remembers when people lit lamps to welcome Guru Hargobind home. Today many Sikhs decorate their homes, work and public places with lights, and many communities come together to enjoy firework displays.