The sikh festivals are celebrated as Gurupurabs. Every morning, for three weeks before any Gurupurab, there are processions through the streets of a town called Prabhat Pheris, these early-morning processions have Sikhs going around localities singing hymns. Those marching in the procession are offered sweets and tea by the faithful. The Gurupurab day signals the end of the Prabhat Pheris.
Beginning three days before the holy day, the Sikh holy book - the Guru
Granth Sahib - is read continuously, from beginning to end, without
break, in the gurudwaras. This is known as the akhand path. The reading
concludes on the day of the festival.
On the day of the festival, the Granth Sahib is decorated with flowers
and carried in a procession, accompanied by religious music.
A special open lunch, for anyone who is hungry, is arranged at
gurudwaras. The food is served with a spirit of seva (service) and
bhakti (devotion). On Guru Arjan Dev's martyrdom day, sweetened milk is
offered to passers-by. In the afternoon/evening, special programmes are
arranged in the gurudwara. Later in the evening, the houses and
gurudwaras are brightly lit, and add to the festive feel.
Guru Nanak's birthday falls in the Indian month of Kartik
(October/November). Sikhs believe that Guru Nanak brought enlightenment
to the world. So, the festival is also called Prakash Utsav, or the
festival of light.
The tenth guru, Gobind Singh, was born on December 2, 1666. The
martyrdom day of the fifth Guru, Arjan Dev, falls in May/June, while
that of the ninth guru, Tegh Bahadur, is in November. The other six
gurupurab days are connected to the birthdays of Guru Angad Dev (March
31) Guru Ram Das (September 29) Guru Har Gobind (June 19) Guru Har Rai
(January 16) and Guru Har Kishan (July 7).