The Birth of Guru Gobind Singh the tenth and last Sikh Guru is celebrated worldwide. It is a religious occasion which is marked by prayers in gurudwaras for prosperity and blessings.
Gobind Singh was the only son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Sikh guru, and Mata Gujri. He was born in Patna (Bihar). His birth name was Gobind Rai, and a shrine named Takht Sri Patna Harimandar Sahib marks the site of the house where he was born and spent the first four years of his life.
Guru Gobind Singh was an able general and an efficient organizer of men. He changed ordinary people (the former ‘low castes’) into the sturdiest of warriors that the world has ever seen. Guru Gobind Singh’s significance to the Sikh tradition has been very important, as he institutionalized the Khalsa, resisted the ongoing persecution by the Mughal Empire, and continued “the defense of Sikhism and Hinduism against the Muslim assault of Aurangzeb.
He grafted the courage of a soldier into the devotee of God; he taught a vanquished people how to obtain political ascendancy and freedom. Such a transformation of humans has rarely been witnessed in History; he was a lawgiver in the pulpit, a champion in the battlefield and a fakir in the company of the Khalsas.
Guru Gobind Singh initiated the Five K’s tradition of the Khalsa
Kesh: uncut hair.
Kangha: a wooden comb.
Kara: an iron or steel bracelet worn on the wrist.
Kirpan: a sword.
Kacchera: short breeches.
He also announced a code of discipline for Khalsa warriors. Tobacco, eating meat slaughtered according to Muslim ritual and sex with Muslims were forbidden.
When Guru felt his end was near he performed a ceremony transferring his spiritual authority to Adi Granth, with a parting advice to the Sikhs: “ With permission from the Immortal One, I formed the Khalsa Panth and nourished it. I require of all my Sikhs to consider the (Word in the) Granth as the Guru. Henceforth the Guru Granth is to be considered an embodiment of all the Sikh Gurus in a visible form for all times to come. Today SGGS (Shree Guru Granth Sahib) as a living Guru and seek its ‘wisdom for the day’ at the start and the end of Sikh worship every day, at every Gurudwara, and in every Sikh home.
Patna Sahib, the birthplace of the tenth Sikh Guru, is considered one of the holiest places for Sikhs around the world and is a major tourist attraction mainly among Sikh. People from various part of the world visit Patan Sahib shrine every year.
The birthday celebration lasts for 3 days. Days before the birthday there is an Akhand Path organized in Gurdwara which is reading of Shree Guru Granth Sahib that takes place non-stop over a 48-hour period that begins before the birthday and concludes on the morning of the auspicious day. Nagar Kirtan (Predawn parades) are conducted, during which Sikhs walk together while singing or reciting from the holy book and food is served for the whole day long.