India celebrates Guru Nanak Jayanti or Gurpurab on Wednesday, the most sacred festival observed by Sikhs worldwide. Gurpurab marks the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism and the first of the 10 Sikh Gurus.
Celebrations begin a day before Gurupurab, with devotees singing hymns and prayers in praise of the guru and organizing processions.
The festivities in the Sikh religion revolve around the anniversaries of the 10 Sikh Gurus. These Gurus were responsible for shaping the beliefs of the Sikhs. Their birthdays, known as Gurpurab (or Gurpurb), are occasions for celebration and prayer among the Sikhs.
The celebration is generally similar for all Gurpurabs; only the hymns are different. The celebrations usually commence with Prabhat Pheris. Prabhat Pheris are early morning processions that begin at the Gurudwaras and proceed around the localities singing hymns. Generally two days before the birthday, Akhand Path (a forty-eight-hour non-stop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs) is held in the Gurdwaras.
Guru Nanak Gurpurab is celebrated by the Sikh community all over the world and is one of the most important festivals in the Sikh calendar. The celebrations are especially colourful in Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh.