(Last Updated on : 10/09/2009)
The gurus are of prime importance within the Sikh community and this is also evident that the Sikh festivals will revolve around the lives of the Sikh gurus. The Sikh community celebrates various Sikh festivals based on the Nanaksahi calendar. As the Nanaksahi calendar is not yet widely accepted within the Sikh community some of the Sikh celebrations take place in accordance to the Hindu calendar. Some of the Sikh festivals that take place according to the Hindu calendar are the Guru Nanak birthday, the Diwali and the Holla Mohalla. Gurpurabs, Baisakhi, Holla Mahalla and Diwali are the major festivals of the Sikhs. The Gurpurabs generally commemorate the birth or death anniversaries of the Sikh gurus.
All the ten Sikh Gurus have their birth and death anniversaries marked in the Nanaksahi calendar. But it is the birth anniversaries of Guru Nanak
and Guru Gobind Singh that are widely celebrated with galore at Gurdwaras and Sikh houses throughout the country. On the other hand the martyrdom of Guru Arjan and Guru Teg Bahadur
are acknowledged by the Sikh community as Saheedi Gurpurab. Baisakhi is generally celebrated on the 13th of April every year. The occasion of Baisakhi marks the beginning of a new year. Sikhs celebrate the occasion of Vaisakhi because on that day in 1699, the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh had established the Khalsa brotherhood. On the day of Diwali
the Sikh celebrates Bandi Chor Diwas because on that particular day in 1619, Guru Hargobind was released from the imprisonment of Jahangir
. The festival of Holla Mahalla is celebrated on the day after Holi
. On the day of Holla Mohalla, the members of Khalsa Panth meet at Anandpur in order to display their warrior skills. As a part of their warrior skills they portray a number of fighting and riding skills simultaneously.
Apart from the various festivals the Sikhs follow certain rituals during the birth of a child and also follow a number of marriage as well as funeral rites. During the performance of these rites and rituals, the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy Sikh scripture, is mandatory.