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.

Watch Nirvair as she celebrates the Sikh festival of Guru Nanak Gurpurab with her friends, family and the local community.

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.

Nirvair and her family visiting their gurdwara which has been specially decorated for Guru Nanak Gurpurb.

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.

Sikh festivals in pictures

Sikh men marching in a Nagar Kirtan

Vaisakhi

Guru Gobind Singh was the last of the ten gurus of the Sikhs and the founder of the Khalsa (a special community of initiated Sikhs who take on the wearing of the 5Ks). Vaisakhi is the festival celebrated by Sikhs to remember the formation of the Khalsa, and celebrate the start of the Sikh New Year.

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What events bring the Christian community together?
What events bring non-religious people together?
What events bring the Hindu community together?