This blogpost series is called Holidays and Holy Days to inform our OSU community about significant religious or spiritual observances.  If you know of a significant holiday or holy day coming up, please communicate the information to Hannah Pynn in the Dean of Student Life office.

This Wednesday celebrates the holiday of Guru Nanak Gurpurab.

Happy Gurupurab!
Happy Gurupurab!


The Sikh holiday Guru Nanak Gurpurab Diwali (also called Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Prakash Utsav) celebrates the birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak who was born in 1469 in what is now present day Pakistan.  Sikh’s holidays revolve around the anniversaries of the 10 Sikh Gurus and the dates change every year according to the traditional Indian calendar.  Guru Nanak Gurpurab begins on 28 November, 2012. 

Guru Nanak is regarded as the founder of Sikhism and celebrating his birthday is a time for festivals and prayers among Sikhs.


Guru Nanak is remembered in the Sikh sacred scriptures and is famous for saying, “There is neither Hindu nor Mussulman (Muslim) so whose path shall I follow? I shall follow God’s path. God is neither Hindu nor Mussulman and the path which I follow is God’s.”  This is a fundamental belief of Sikhs, that there is a supreme God that manifests in all major religions.

Guru Nanak’s teaching is understood to be practiced in three ways:

  • Vaṇḍ Chakkō:  Sharing with others, helping those with less who are in need
  • Kirat Karō:  Earning/making a living honestly, without exploitation or fraud
  • Naam Japna:  Chanting the Holy Name and thus remembering God at all times (ceaseless devotion to God)
In 1499, Guru Nanak was moved by seeing suffering in the world and set out to spread a message of peace and compassion.  Guru Nanak is famous for his five journeys across Asia, spreading his Divine message.



  1. Singing hymns
  2. A huge procession, beginning at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, Pakistan, the birthplace of Guru Nanak
  3. Swordsmanship and various martial arts to demonstrate mock battles
  4. Flags and flowers are displayed
  5. Early morning Katha, exposition of Sikh scriptures
  6. A community lunch that welcomes all, regardless of caste
  7. Demonstrations in the spirit of seva (service) and bhakti (devotion)
  8. Sunset prayer sessions that last into the late night until 1:20am, the actual time of Guru Nanak’s birth
Happy Gurpurab!
Additional Resources

Due to the political unrest in Pakistan, there is some tension about permitting Sikh’s entry to their traditional place of celebration for this holiday.

A video of Sikh pilgrims to celebrate in 2011 


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2 thoughts on “Holidays and Holy Days – Guru Nanak Gurpurab (Sikh)

  1. Great article!! Just to add some more information, “Na Koi Hindu Na Musalmaan” or “there is no Hindu or Muslim but only humans”, were one of the first words of Guru Nanak Sahib after he is believed to have attained enlightenment in the Bein river. He stuck to this message of equality of human race irrespective of religion, caste or color of skin for rest of his life by rejecting philosophies of both religions and creating a new religious order in Sikhism. He preached equality of humans and stressed that loving devotion to God and singing his glory is the only way to salvation. He also asked his followers to work hard to earn a living and share with the less fortunate.

  2. Thank you so much for your feedback and the additional information about Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Hopefully we can all work together to spread more awareness of peace among our diverse faith traditions and beliefs.

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