How do Punjabis celebrate Diwali

Bernhard Peter
Celebrations and Festivals: Festivals of the Sikh

In the Sikh religion, many holidays are associated with the gurus: their birthdays (Prakash, Parkash), the beginning of their gurusah (Gurgadi, Gur Gadhi) and her death (Joti iodine, Jyoti iodine). As a result, several events are remembered on some days, such as the death of the previous one and the successor taking over the guru. Holidays, which remind of the life stations of the gurus, will be Gurpurbs or Gurupurabs called. These are celebrated in a relatively similar manner: readings from the holy book are held before the festival (Akhand Path), on the festival day the holy book is carried through the streets in a procession, followed by prayers in the Gurdwara (temple).

For this purpose, dates are remembered that are related to the holy scriptures (Granth Sahib). Others recall the suppression and persecution of the Sikh religion, and events from the recent past (June 4th, June 6th, etc.) are also reflected as days of remembrance.

Holidays according to the solar calendar:
According to the new Nanakshahi calendar, all public holidays are now "in phase" with the Gregorian calendar despite different monthly layouts and no longer have to be recalculated every year using the lunar calendar (with exceptions, see below). This also results in the distortions between the historical birthdays according to the Gregorian calendar and the days of remembrance in the current year.

January 5th (23. Poh) Birth (Parkash Utsaw) of Guru Gobind Singh (10th Guru, 1666 - 1708 AD), on December 22nd, 1666 AD in Patna Sahib as the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji and Gujri Ji, Gurushaft 1675-1708 AD.

13th January (1. Magh) Mela Maghi Muktsar

31 January (19. Magh) Birth of Guru Har Rai (7th Guru, 1630 - 1661 AD, Guruschaft 1644-1661 AD) on January 16, 1630 in Kiratpur Sahib (Ropar) as the son of Baba Gurdita Ji and Nihal Kaur Ji.

February 6th (25. Magh) Mela Kottha Sahib

the 14th of March (1. Chet) Beginning of the Gurushaft (Gurgadi) from Guru Har Rai (7th Guru, 1630 - 1661 AD) on March 8, 1644 AD.

the 14th of March (1. Chet) Sangrandh Chet (Chaitra Samkranti), Nanakshahi New Year. According to the Sikh calendar, the year 536 began on March 14th, 2004. Today, as I am writing this in November 2005, we are in the year 537 Nanakshahi.

March, 15 (2. Chet) S. Baghel Singh's Conquest of Delhi

19th March (6. Chet) Joti Jot (death) from Guru Har Gobind (6th Guru, 1595 - 1644 AD) on 02.28.1644 or 03.03. depending on the source in Kiratpur Sahib.

April 14th (1. Vaisakh) Baisakhi, birth of Guru Nanak (1st Guru, 1469 - 1539 AD) (according to the old calendar in November, see below). Guru Nanak was born on April 14 and April 15, 1469 AD in the village of Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi, today's Nanakana Sahib in the Shekhupura province in Pakistan) as the son of Kalayan Das Ji and Tripta ji. Even if the birthday of April 14th is clearly defined according to the new calendar, it is often still celebrated according to the old lunar calendar on the full moon of the month Katik (Katik Poonamashi), see discussion below.

April 14th (1. Vaisakh) Khalsa Sajna Diwas, Founding of the Khalsa. Khalsa literally means "pure" and means the brotherhood of the Khalsa. The tenth Guru Gobind Singh gave the Sikh community a prominent position among themselves. In 1699 AD, Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa community on the festival of Vaisakhi with a baptism ceremony. The five of his followers who were baptized first were Daya Ram Khatri, Dharm Das, Mokhan Chand, Sahib Chand, and Himmat Ra. For Sikhs, this festival is like a collective birthday. At the same time, this festival coincides with the traditional spring harvest festival after the sunny year on April 13th or 14th (Baisakhi). People wear new clothes and give each other gifts. A nishan sahib, a pennant pole with the khanda, belongs to every gurdwara. On this occasion he is given a new cover, a dress made of orange cloth. The festival is celebrated in the Gurdwaras across the country with prayers and kirtans (religious chants), readings from the Granth Sahib scriptures, followed by communal meals and dance performances, as well as processions and parades. The main festival takes place in Anandpur Sahib.

Fig .: Sikh holidays. Blue are months and dates according to the Gregorian calendar, red are the occasions of the Sikh festivals and their dates according to the Nanakshahi calendar.

April 16 (3. Vaisakh) Joti Jot (death) of Guru Angad Dev (2nd Guru, 1504 - 1552 AD) on March 29, 1552 in Khandur Sahib.

April 16 (3. Vaisakh) Beginning of the guruship of Guru Amar Das (3rd Guru, 1479-1574 AD). On March 26th, 1552 AD he is named as the third Guru of the Sikhs. He reformed existing rituals of transition (birth, marriage and death) and founded religious centers (Manji).

April 16 (3. Vaisakh) Joti Jot (death) of Guru Har Krishan (8th Guru, 1656 - 1664 AD) on March 30, 1664 in Delhi.

April 16 (3. Vaisakh) Beginning of the guruship of Guru Tegh Bahadar (9th Guru, 1621-1675 AD). Guru Tegh Bahadar is the son of Guru Har Gobind and takes over the guruship on March 20th in 1664 AD.

April 18th (5. Vaisakh) Birth of Guru Angad (2nd Guru, 1504 - 1552 AD), was born on March 31, 1504 AD to Pheru Mal Ji and Daya Kaur Ji in Mate Ki Saranh, Ferozpur.

April 18th (5. Vaisakh) Birth of Guru Tegh Bahadar (9th Guru, 1621 - 1675 AD) on April 1, 1621 AD in Amritsar as the son of Har Gobind Sahib Ji and Nanki Ji.

May 2nd (19. Vaisakh) Birth of Guru Arjan (5th Guru, 1563 - 1606 AD) on April 15, 1563 in Govindwal, Amritsar as the son of Guru Ram Das Ji and Bhani ji.

17th of May (3. Jeth) Chhota Ghallughara, “Little Holocaust”, this memorial day commemorates a Sikh persecution under the Mughal rulers (Yahiya Khan and Lakhpat Rai) in Lahore in 1746 AD (13 Chet 1802 Bk or 10 March 1746 AD).

23. May (9. Jeth) Birth of Guru Amar Das (3rd Guru, 1479 - 1574 AD) on April 5th, 1479 in Basarke, Amritsar as the son of Tej Bhan ji and Lachmi ji.

June 4th (21. Jeth): Ghallughara, Commemoration of the attack by Major-General Brar on Akal Takht (Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Sikh Parliament in Amritsar, on the bank of the pond) on June 4, 1984 (Operation Bluestar), where separatist Bhindrenwale holed up with his followers would have. The cause of the dispute was the idea of ​​"Khalistan" - an independent Sikh state on the soil of the Union state of Punjab. In the early 1980s, separatists had gained more and more supporters. They fought for their state "Khalistan" with terror, violence, extortion and kidnappings. Her command under Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale directed operations from the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The Temple of Peace had become an armed fortress.

6th of June (23. Jeth): Remembrance Day on Storm on Akal Takht and the Golden Temple in 1984, during which Jarnail Singh Bhindren whales came to death. Thousands of Sikhs were killed and buildings and institutions were badly damaged. The date marks the absolute lowest point in the relationship between the Indian government and the Sikh. The "Khalistan" citadel was stormed with heavy losses on both sides. The damage to the temple filled the Sikhs with pain and anger. Four and a half months later, the extremists took revenge by inciting two Sikh bodyguards, Indira Gandhi, to shoot the prime minister on October 31, 1984. This in turn triggered a cruel Sikh persecution, especially in the capital New Delhi. That 20 years later a Sikh would become Prime Minister of India was unthinkable at the time. Today there is no more talk of “Khalistan”.

June 11th (28. Jeth) Beginning of the guruship of Guru Har Gobind (6th Guru, 1595-1644 AD). Har Gobind takes over the guruship on May 25th, 1606 AD and emphasizes the balance between the spiritual (Miri) and worldly (Piri) spheres. The Akal Takhat, seat of worldly power, is established during his Gurushood.

June 16 (2. Harh) Joti Jot (Martyrdom) by Guru Arjan (5th Guru, 1563-1606 AD). The death of the Mughal emperor Akbar ends the phase of harmonious coexistence. His successor Jahangir stands for a phase of violence against the Sikh. In 1606 AD Guru Arjan was accused of blasphemy and tortured to death on May 30, 1606 on the orders of Mughal ruler Jahangir in Lahore.

June 29th (15. HarhBarsi (Death Day) Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji, the ruler known as the "Lion of Punjab", who united the regions of Amritsar, Lahore, Multan, Kashmir and Peshawar under his rule. Famous for the former possession of the Kohinoor diamond.

July 5th (21. Harh) Birth of Guru Har Gobind Sahib (6th Guru, 1595 - 1644 AD) on June 19, 1595 in Wadali, a village near Amritsar, as the son of Guru Arjan Dev.

July 23 (8. Sawan) Birth of Guru Har Krishan Sahib (8th Guru, 1656 - 1664 AD) on January 7th, 1656 in Kiratpur Sahib, Ropar as the son of Guru Har Rai Ji and Krishan Kaur ji.

August 30th (15. Bhadon) Completion of the Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Scriptures of the Sikh)

September 01 (17. Bhadon) „Pehla Parkash Guru Granth Sahib Ji", First Parkash (ritual opening of the day) of Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Scriptures of the Sikh) in the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple in Amritsar)

16th September (2. Asu) Joti Jot (death) of Guru Amar Das (3rd Guru, 1479-1574 AD) September 1st, 1574.

16th September (2. Asu) Beginning of the guruship of Guru Ram Das (4th Guru, 1534-1581 AD). Guru Amar Das appoints Bhai Jetha as Guru on August 30, 1574 AD. Bhai Jetha is then called Guru Ram Das. In 1577 AD Guru Ram acquired the land from the Mughal ruler Akbar and founded the city of Ramdaspur (also known as Chak Guru) with his followers, which is now known as Amritsar.

16th September (2. Asu) Joti Jot (death) of Guru Ram Das (4th Guru, 1534 - 1581 AD) on September 1st, 1581 in Govindwal.

16th September (2. Asu) Beginning of the guruship of Guru Arjan Dev (5th Guru, 1563-1606 AD). In 1581 AD, on September 1st, Guru Arjan Dev takes over the guruship. His merits include the completion of the water basin in Amritsar (Ramdas Sarovars) and in 1588 AD the laying of the foundation stone for the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple, Harmandir Sahib). Since then it has been the cultural and spiritual center of the Sikh. It was completed in 1601 AD. The most important achievement for the cult is the compilation of all the verses of the individual gurus and the summary into a single work, the Aad Guru Granth Sahib. It has been kept in the Golden Temple at Amritsar since 1604 AD.

September 18 (4. Asu) Beginning of the guruship of Guru Angad Dev (2nd Guru, 1504-1552 AD). On September 7th, 1539 AD, Guru Nanak appoints Bhai Lehna, who is henceforth Guru Angad, as the next Guru. This guru introduced the Gurmukhi script, which is still used in Punjab today.

September 22 (8. Asu) Joti Jot (death) of Guru Nanak (1st Guru, 1469-1539 AD) on September 22, 1539 in Kartarpur City.

5th October (21. Asu) Mela Beerh Baba Buddha Ji

October 09 (25. Asu) Birth of Guru Ram Das (4th Guru, 1534 - 1581) on September 24, 1534 in Chuna Mandi (Pakistan) as the son of Har Das ji and Daya Kaur ji.

the 20th of October (6. Katik) Joti Jot (death) of Guru Har Rai (7th Guru, 1630 - 1661 AD) on October 6th, 1661 in Kiratpur Sahib.

the 20th of October (6. Katik) Beginning of the guruship of Guru Har Krishan (8th Guru, 1656--1664 AD) October 6, 1661 AD.

the 20th of October (6. Katik) Beginning of the Guruschaft des Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Scriptures of the Sikh). The Guru Granth Sahib contains the united verses of the ten gurus and is regarded as a guru himself - thus the beginning of gurushood can be celebrated for the scriptures as well as for a human guru.

October 21 (7. Katik) Joti Jot (Martyrdom) by Guru Gobind Singh (10th Guru, 1666-1708 AD). The last guru, who previously lost all of his four sons at the hands of the Mughal rulers, dies on October 7th, 1708 AD in Nanded as a result of an assassination attempt.

November 24th (11. Maghar) Joti Jot (Martyrdom) by Guru Tegh Bahadar (Martyrdom) (9th Guru, 1621-1675 AD). He was executed on November 11, 1675 in Delhi under the rule of the fanatic Aurangzeb as part of the growing intolerance towards non-Muslims.

November 24th (11. Maghar) Beginning of the guruship of Guru Gobind (Rai) Singh (10th Guru, 1666-1708 AD). On November 11th, 1675 AD he took over the gurusship. He is the last guru of the Sikhs. He emphasizes the importance of countering tyranny and injustice during his gurusship. Another important concern for him was the emphasis on the need for mental and physical balance (the five K's). In 1699 AD, Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa community on the festival of Vaisakhi with a baptism ceremony. In 1708 AD he added the verses of his father Guru Tegh Bahadar to the Aad Granth Sahib. The entire work has since been called Guru Granth Sahib.

21st December (08. Poh) Shaheedi Sahibzada Ajit Singh, Shaheedi Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, Martyrdom of two elder sons (Bade Sahibzade) Guru Gobind Singhs (10th Guru, 1666-1708 AD)

December 26th (13. Poh) Shaheedi Sahibzada Zorawar Singh, Shaheedi Sahibzada Fateh Singh, Martyrdom of two younger sons (Tchote Sahibzade) Guru Gobind Singhs (10th Guru, 1666-1708 AD)

Holidays according to the lunar calendar (Purnimanta):
The following holiday days are still calculated according to the lunar calendar: Hola Mohalla, Baisakhi and Bandi-Chhor Divas. All three are examples of how popular festivals of the population were reinterpreted by the founder of Sikhism, so that it was not necessary to renounce the traditional festivals that were celebrated with great enthusiasm. You could celebrate just as before, only with a different background:

  • Instead of Holi, one day later they celebrated Holla Mohalla.
  • Instead of the old Baisakhi harvest festival, the founding of the Khalsa, the Sikh brotherhood, was celebrated on the same day.
  • Bandi-Chhor Divas were celebrated instead of Diwali.

The Nanakshahi calendar can assign specific days to these festivals. In practice, however, this has not prevailed, and as a current compromise, the festivals mentioned below are celebrated according to the traditional lunar calendar, above all to appease the traditionalists and not to celebrate on different days than the Hindu fellow citizens. It remains to be seen what development the future will bring.

Fig .: Position of the moving public holidays in the Sikh year. The basis of the calculation is the Rasis (black). The Sanskrit names for the Amantha months (red, from new moon (s) to new moon) and for the Purnimantha months (turquoise, from full moon (v) to full moon) are derived from this. Note that the Amantha months begin later than the Purnimantha months. The three movable Sikh holidays are shown in ocher. One falls on a new moon, the other two on a full moon.

Hola Mohalla, Holla Mohalla: This three-day Sikh festival is celebrated in the month of Phalguna and begins one day after the Hindu festival Holi. Holi is always on Phalguna Purnima, i.e. on Phalguna Shukla 15, on the Phalguna full moon, on the 15th of the bright half of Phalguna. Hola Mohalla was introduced to Anandpur Sahib (Punjab) by the 10th Guru, Gobind Singh, in 1757 AD to gather Sikh followers for military exercises. It serves to strengthen the cohesion within the Sikh community and the awareness of the defense of the faith. The festival was deliberately introduced as a counterpart to Holi, which had lost its meaning for the Sikh. The festival begins with prayers and readings in the Gurdwara. The Guru Granth Sahib is taken out and ceremonially bathed with milk and water. Exhibition fights, demonstrations of historical weaponry, parades of the Nihang Sikh (members of the Sikh army), horseback performances, music events, poetry competitions, etc. dominate the rest of the day. Hola Mohalla is a festival of joy and is celebrated throughout the Punjab. The location of the festival is still based on the lunar calendar, like Holi. Hola Mohalla falls e.g. B. on March 26, 2005 AD or on March 15, 2006, March 4, 2007, March 22, 2008, March 11, 2009, March 3, 2010, March 20, 2011, March 9, 2012, March 28, 2013, March 17, 2014 etc. Hola Mohalla Nanakshahi would always be on March 14th or 1st Chet of the year.

Bandi-Chhor Divas: Corresponds in time to the Hindu festival Diwali (October / November). Diwali is always on the 15th of Kartika Krishna, on the 15th of the dark half of the month of Kartika, i.e. on the new moon in the Kartika according to the Purnimanta calendar. The two festivals are also very similar in the way they celebrate, only the occasion is different. On this day, the Sikh celebrate the return of the 6th Guru (Guru Har Gobind) in October 1619 from imprisonment in Gwalior Fort and his moral victory over the Mughal rule under Shah Jahangir, because at the same time 52 captured vassal kings were released. "Bandi-Chhor" means the "leader from captivity". He arrived in Amritsar on Diwali, and the Golden Temple was illuminated with hundreds of lights. The story is a constant reminder of the struggle for freedom.The basis of Diwali is not so different from that: On Diwali the Hindus celebrate the homecoming of Rama after the victory over the demon king Ravana and the liberation of the kidnapped Sita - this, too, a victory for freedom, and Rama also became with hundreds of lights receive. In the fight against religious oppression by the Islamic Mughal rule, the festival gained a highly political background. In the Gurdwaras and at home, many lights are lit and fireworks burned to commemorate this. Dates are: November 12, 2004, November 1, 2005 AD, October 21, 2006, November 9, 2007, October 28, 2008, October 17, 2009, November 5, 2010, October 26, 2011, November 13, 1012, November 3, 2013, October 23, 1014 Etc.

Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Sahib: The only birthday of Guru Nanak Dev (1st Guru, 1469 - 1539 AD) in Punjab is often celebrated according to the old lunar calendar on the full moon of the lunar month Katik (15th Katik Poonamashi or according to the Hindu lunar calendar Kartika Purnima or Kartika Shukla 15, 15th of the bright half of the month Kartika). The holiday is always exactly 15 days after Bandi-Chhor Divas. On April 14 or 15, 1469 AD, Guru Nanak was born in the village of Talwandi (today's Nankana Sahib in Pakistan) as the son of Kalayan Das Ji and Tripta ji, although some other sources speak of October 20, which has now been refuted seems to be. His birthday is celebrated on a completely different day: E.g. November 15, 2005, November 5, 2006, November 24, 2007, November 13, 2008, November 2, 2009, November 21, 2010, November 10, 2011, November 28, 1012, November 17, 2013, November 6, 2014 etc. According to the new Nanakshahi calendar, which takes into account the current state of research on the birthday of Guru Nanak, Guru Nanak would be celebrated on Baisakhi (April 14th).

Festivals of India - Introduction
Feasts of Islam - Annual Overview
Baha'i Festivals - Annual Overview
Festivals of the Sikh - annual overview
Festivals of the Hindus - Annual Overview
Festivals of Rajasthan - annual overview
India: National Holidays
India: Festivals with a special rhythm: Kumbh Mela

Sikh calendar, other festivals, Festival literature
other country essays

© Text, graphics and photos: Bernhard Peter 2005