The birthday of the creator of the Sikhism exercise, the first Sikh Guru Nanaka ( Guru Nanak Jayanti ) falls on the full moon of the month of Kartik. According to the Gregorian calendar, the holiday is celebrated in November, but the date changes from year to year according to the dates of the traditional Indian calendar.
Guru Nanak was born in Talvandi near the city of Lahore ( is now located in Pakistan ) in 1469. Nanak's views were influenced by the Hindu reform exercise « bhakti » and Sufism ( mystic-ascetic direction in Islam ) and reflected the protest of urban artisans against the caste system and feudal oppression.
Nanak strongly opposed caste hostility, caste discrimination and the complex religious ritual of the Indians, as well as against fanaticism and intolerance of Muslim rulers. The basis of his teaching was the non-recognition of the division of people into castes and the preaching of their equality before God, which immediately attracted the peasants to a new creed and turned Sikhism into mighty power.
Nanak argues the idea of the existence of a single God, recognizes the Hindu doctrine of the relocation of souls, but condemns idolatry. Therefore, in Sikh temples there are no sculptural images of people or gods. However, unlike Islam, Sikhism allows drawing of both deities and people for decorative purposes.
The main center associated with the memory of Nanaka is the small town of Der Baba Nanak, located 56 kilometers north of Amritsar, on the border with Pakistan. Here, Guru Nanak lived, preached his teaching and died in 1539. Local gurudvara ( Sikh Temple ) — a pilgrimage object of Sikhs arriving here on Nanaka's birthday.
Guru Nanaka's birthday begins with a three-day ceremony « akhand patkh » ( reading from beginning to end without interruption of the sacred book of Sikhs « Granth Sahib » ). On the third day ( birthday ) « Granth Sahib » is submitted for procession through the streets of the city on a large platform. The five armed guards who lead the procession bear the Sikh flag. Women accompanying the procession sing hymns from « Granth Sahib ». Schoolchildren march, grouped into small units. The procession ends at the gurudvara, where a joint meal is organized.