Manpreet Kaur’s house is fragmented with the essence of freshly prepared desi ghee kadha prashad along with the whistle of the pressure cooker which prompts loudly that the day is Gurupurab, or Guru Nanak Jayanti. Guru Nanak Dev Prakash Purab or Guru Nanak Aagman Divas, has just arrived. The celebration will take place on 19th November this year. It is considered to be one of the important festivals of Sikhism. It marks Sri Guru Nanak Dev’s birth, who founded Sikhism. Taking birth in 1469 in Talwandi, Pakistan, Sri Guru Nanak Dev spread the message of ‘Ik Onkar’, which means ‘One God’ who dwells in every one of his creations and constitutes the eternal truth.
The festival includes the three-day Akhand Path during which the holy book, Guru Granth Sahib is read continuously without a break from the beginning to end.
Prabhat Pheris are held in the early morning. These are processions that start from the Gurudwaras and proceed around the localities singing shabads (hymns). This procession is led by the panj pyara or the five armed guards (five loved ones). Carrying the Sikh flag they head the procession, known as the Nishan Sahib, and the Palki (Palanquin) of Guru Granth Sahib, ornated with flowers.
After that, some volunteers invite the Sangat (devotees) to their houses for tea and prasad (devotional food offering) being the host.
In gurdwaras, special programs are arranged and kirtans (religious songs) are sung. Community lunches (langar), including free sweets, are also offered to everyone.
Manpreet Kaur has volunteered for this year’s Gurupurab too like every year. She mentioned about 5 main food items included in the Guru Da Langar.
1. Kadha Prashad: Kadha Prashad is the most important traditional sweet that is prepared with the ingredients wheat flour, desi ghee, and sugar. It is made by roasting the wheat flour, very slowly in a substantial quantity of ghee in an enormous kadai texturing smooth, velvety like halwa. The sacred verse is recited during the entire process of preparation of the same. It is served hot with hands to sangat.
2. Sindhi Dal Pakwan: In Guru Da Langar, it is one of the most delicious items one could have. The aromatic and spicy features of Sindhi and Indian meals are mixed for the preparation of this dal. From soaked chana dal this dal is prepared. It is served with some chopped onions and green chutney and also with Pakwan, which is deep-fried, crisp, flat usually prepared with all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour.
3. Kheer: Kheer is a sweet rice wet pudding, generally made by boiling milk, sugar or jaggery, and rice. The substitute for rice is millet, Sabudana.
4. Makke Ki Roti, Sarson Ka Saag: Makki ki roti or Makki di roti is a flat chapatti made from corn meal, baked on a tawa (griddle) or tandoor. This roti is served with sarson ka saag and cubes of butter, green chili, and chopped onion. Lassi (Chaachh) is made of curd can also be served with the meal.
5. Aloo Gobhi: It is a dry vegetable meal prepared by frying potatoes, cauliflower, and mixing them with Indian spices. Further, it can be made by adding kalonji and curry leaves. It is cooked by frying the potatoes and cauliflower first and then adding to the gravy or masala.
Volunteers gather to prepare the community lunch (langar) of all age groups. Anyone can participate in the sewa — men, women and children which denotes the feeling of brotherhood. People gather at one place for chopping vegetables, cooking on huge fires and rolling out a countless number of rotis. The tasty langar is usually simple with dal, fresh seasonal vegetables, and piping hot rotis. But, since it is Guurpurab, the dishes have to be special just like the occasion itself.
(With inputs from ANI)