Festivals and Other days Celebrated in Gurdwaras
Festival of Lights. It is an Indian seasonal festival ushering in winter. At night, lamps are lighted on parapets of the houses. In general, its importance is that Avtar Sri Ram Chandar returned home from his exile on this day.
Importance in Sikhs – It is important day for Sikhs as Guru Hargobind returned from Gwalior to Amritsar on Diwali day. This is celebrated with great fanfare and fireworks at Harimandir Sahib, Amritsar.
It is held at Anandpur Sahib, District Ropar, Punjab, one day after the festival of Holi.
Holi is a seasonal festival of India at the onset of spring, indicating end of the winter.
Sikhs replaced Holi with Hola Mohalla. Sikhs celebrate it at Anandpur Sahib, On this day, they display their valor and deftness in using weapons.
Rakhi – Rakharri
Rakhi Festival on full moon day. Rakhi or Rakhrri is a wristband. Sister ties a band on the wrist of her brother reminding his protection to her. It is celebrated at the Gurdwara Sahib of Guru Tegh Bahadur at Baba-Bakala; Chheharta Sahib (Guru Hargobind); and Goindwal Sahib (Guru Amardas).
On the 1st day of Sangrant, complete Baramaha (by 5th Guru Arjun Dev) is read out from Guru Granth Sahib (page 133), in every Gurdwara. At homes, if Guru Granth Sahib is not there, it is devotedly read out of Gutkas – mini prayer books.
This is a famous festival held at Gurdwara Sahib at Taran Taran (5th Guru Arjun Dev). It is called “Chaudaen” or “Chaudaen Daa Ishnaan.” (the bath of dark night – 14th day of the waning moon). It is the totally dark night. The devotees take bath at the nighttime, in the holy tank of Gurdwara Sahib. It attracts a huge rush. The villagers bring their animals also, for bathing them at this holy tank. The next morning, the people go to Amritsar for “Massiaa” or “Massiaa Daa Ishnan” (bath of the past dark night).
Massiaa is the moon-less (dark) night. This festival is held on the next morning of the fully dark night (the day next to Chaudass) at Harimandir Sahib (Golden Temple), Amritsar. It creates a great rush. The people take bath at this holy tank, too, after bathing at Tarn Taran.
Some Gurdwaras, even historical, celebrate their own, local or individual, special days.
Do not socialize in the prayer hall , even if the service has ended and Guru Granth Sahib is closed. Sikhs meet by saying “Sat Sir Akal” – the Lord is the truth!, or by saying, ”Waheguru ji kaa Khalsa, Waheguru ji kee fateh” – Khalsa belongs to God and glory to Him.
In Gurdwara premises, a very frank and too much informal meeting without a restraint is not appreciated. We have to be considerate of sanctity of the place, and supermacy of the environment. The prime need is of maintaining proper decorum – politeness, humility and sweetness.