Midlands joins worldwide celebration for 550th birthday of founder of Sikhism

The Midlands joined worldwide celebrations to mark the 550th birthday of the found of Sikhism and the first guru - Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Thousands turned out in Coventry to join the procession through the city, alongside many non-Sikh organisation.

  • Who was Guru Nanak Dev Ji?

He was born on 29th November 1469 in Talwandi, Punjab, India, which is now named Nankana Sahib after him and is now in Pakistan, following the partition of India and withdrawal of the British Raj in 1947.

He was known for his progressive outlook and teachings, standing up for the downtrodden, expounding the need to earn an honest living from hard work and the equality of all man and womankind.

  • What is Nagar Kirtan?

Nagar Kirtan is a Sikh custom involving the processional singing of holy hymns throughout a community.

The Nagar Kirtan is led by 5 Sikhs called the Panj Pyare or beloved ones, dressed in traditional attire with others playing drums to announce the procession as it moves through the streets.

Colour floats feature in the procession, led by a float carrying the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikh’s holy scriptures, which for Sikhs is the embodiment of the living Guru (“teacher”) and deeply respected.

Credit: ITV Central

The Coventry Nagar Kirtan joined hundreds of celebrations of this milestone which have been taking place across the globe with other cities also having Nagar Kirtan processions, special Kirtan Darbars, lectures and seminars which have been taking place over the past year ahead of the 550th anniversary.

In India a special route has been carved through the international border between India and Pakistan so Sikh’s can visit the birthplace of Guru Nanak whilst centres for inter faith studies are being established in India, the UK and Canada.

Commemorative coins and postage stamps are also being released as part of the celebrations.

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