Sikh Holidays beautifully combine the religious traditions with flavors of festivity making them a treasured memory for all those who celebrate the occasions.

Most of the Sikh festivals revolve around the life and events of the important persons who molded the Sikh religion, along with happenings that influenced the life and history of the Sikhs around the globe, and have made a permanent place in the history of Sikhism.

Traditionally the Sikh Holidays are observed in keeping with the Nanaksahi Calendar. The Nanaksahi calendar has been amended from time to time, and the latest version can be found scripted in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of the Sikhs. However, it was decided that the days should be commemorated in a way so that Sikhs all round the world can celebrate the festivals together on the same day – as such most Sikh Festivals are observed on fixed dates plotted against the modern day calendar.

However, there are some festivals that are movable, and when marked in the calendar, the dates change from one year to the other. Sikh holiday rituals encompass some common factors – in most of the festivals people congregate to the Gurdwara (place of worship of the Sikhs), participate in prayers, take out the Holy Script in procession while singing devotional songs (known as Nagar Kirtan), and partake of community meals (known as Langar).

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Horoscope 2016

Here is a list of festivals (both with yearly fixed dates and movable ones) that occur in the Sikh Holiday Calendar in the year 2016 —

  • Tuesday, January 5, Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh (Nanakshahi calendar) – This day is also known by the name of “Parkash Utsav Dasveh Patshah” which means “Rising of the 10th Divine Light or Knowledge”. This occasion is revered to by Sikhs all across the globe and is celebrated with much zest and zeal. The name finds its significance because of the fact that it is on this day that the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, was born in the year 1666. Guru Gobind Singh’s contribution to Sikhism is manifold, but he is best known for establishing the Sikh Collective Body which is known by the name of Khalsa. When he was about to leave the mortal world, Guru Gobind Singh nominated Guru Granth Sahib, the religious scripture of the Sikhs, to be the next and permanent Guru of the Sikhs.
  • Thursday, January 14, Maghi – This was a dark day for the Sikhs in the year 1705 when forty of their brave fighters were martyred at Mukhtsar as they tried to fight off a huge battalion of Mughal soldiers who attempted to capture Guru Gobind Singh. These forty men came to be referred by the name of Chali Mukte or the Forty Immortal Ones or the Forty Liberated Ones. This is because of the fact that because of their bravery Guru Gobind Singh blessed these men with Mukti (Liberation or Salvation). These men were cremated at Mukhtsar, and because of this every year during this day a fair is organized at Mukhtsar.
  • Sunday, January 31, Birthday of Guru Har Rai (Nanakshahi calendar) – This day commemorates the birth anniversary of the Guru Har Rai, who was born in the year 1630, and was the seventh Guru of the Sikhs.
  • Thursday, March 24, Hola Mohalla – This tradition was introduced by Guru Gobind Singh. The Sikhs faced several kinds of attacks in the ancient times, and as such Guru Gobind Singh thought that all Sikh men should be well trained to defend himself and his faith. As such the Guru encouraged them to learn military exercises. On the day of Hola Mohalla it is the custom for the Sikh men to gather and confront each other in mock battle and other forms of similar exercise like horse riding, fencing, martial arts etc.
  • Wednesday, April 13, Vaisakh/ Baisakhi – This is day when in the year 1699 the Khalsa Brotherhood was established. The establishment of Khalsa or the Collective Body was a very significant step that was taken by Guru Gobind Singh to unite the Sikh brethren. It gave the Sikhs a distinct identity that they could call their own, and also marked the code of conducts that they should follow. Guru Gobind Singh then baptized the ones joining the Khalsa with Amrit (sweet nectar). Even today on this day those Sikhs who are ready to join the Khalsa are similarly baptized.
  • Monday, April 18, Birthday of Guru Angad Dev and Birthday of Guru Tegh Bahadur (Nanakshahi calendar) – Guru Angad Dev, the second Guru of the Sikhs, who succeeded Guru Nanak, was born on this day in the year 1504.  His birthplace is a small village in the Mukhtsar district of the Indian State of Punjab. He was names Lehna, but when he succeeded Guru Nanak in the year 1538 as the second Sikh Guru, he was named as Angad Dev. He established Gurmukhi, the unique Sikh script.

    Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth guru of the Sikhs, was born on this day in the year 1921. Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb for resisting the Mughal Emperor’s attempt to convert the whole country to Islam.

  • Monday, May 23, Birthday of Guru Amar Das (Nanakshahi calendar) – This day celebrates the birth of Guru Amar Das, who was the third Guru of the Sikhs. He championed the causes of social equality and took measures to abandon the practices like untouchability and other forms of discriminations people faced depending on their caste and creed.
  • Thursday, June 16, Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib – This day marks the martyrdom of Guru Arjan, who was the fifth Guru of the Sikhs. He refused to preach religion as per the instructions of the then Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Because of that he was inhumanly tortured for five days before he was killed in the year 1606.
  • Tuesday, July 5, Birthday of Guru Hargobind (Nanakshahi calendar) — This day commemorates the birth of Guru Hargobind, who was the sixth Guru of the Sikhs.
  • 10.    Saturday, July 23, Birthday of Guru Har Krishen (Nanakshahi calendar) – This day commemorates the birth of Guru Har Krishen, who was the eighth Guru of the Sikhs. 
  • Thursday, October 20, Phalia Parkash Guru Granth Sahib – This marks the occasion that eliminated the trend of having human Sikh Gurus for it is on this day that the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, nominated the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of the Sikhs, to become the Guru of the Sikhs after him for eternity.
  • 12.    Sunday, October 9, Birthday of Guru Ram Das (Nanakshahi calendar) – This day commemorates the birth of Guru Ram Das, who was the fourth Guru of the Sikhs. He played a major role in properly organizing the Sikh community. He also composed the four hymns that are now part of the Sikh Wedding Rituals.
  • Sunday, October 30, Bandi Chhor Divas (Deewali) – This day marks the release from captivity of Guru Hargobind, who was the Sixth Guru of the Sikhs, along with fifty two of his companions, who were together fighting to resist the oppression that the Mughal Empire enforced upon them.
  • 14.    Monday, November 14, Guru Nanak Jayanti – – This day commemorates the birth of Guru Nanak, who was the first Guru of the Sikhs, and is considered to be one of the most significant and auspicious days by the Sikh community. 
  • 15.    Thursday, November 24, Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib – This commemorates the day when Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred by the then Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb for refusing to give up his religious beliefs to embrace and preach Islam. The Sikhs have always uphold the principle of tolerance and respect towards the freedom to practice any religion of one’s own choice.