Guru Nanak Gurpurab
Guru Nanak Gurpurab (aka Guru Nanak Prakash, Guru Nanak Jayanti) celebrates the birth anniversary of the first Guru. The holiday is typically celebrated with Akhand Paths, Nagar Kirtans, and Prabhat Pheris but due to the Covid-19 lockdown this year, we're sharing an activity my husband and I created a few years ago to celebrate this holiday at home with your children. The holiday is observed on Kartik Puranmashi in the Bikrami calendar, which usually falls sometime in November. Here are the Kartik Puranmashi dates converted to Gregorian for the next few years:
The Universe Is My Temple
This activity is based on a famous shabad composed by Guru Nanak after he was disillusioned with the ritualism he saw in a temple in India. The shabad is called Gagan Mein Thaal and it metaphorically describes the natural world as a temple. Guru Nanak saw the starlit sky as an Aarti plate with candles and the forest as a bouquet of flowers. In this activity your children create a constellation in the form of ੴ.
Glow in the Dark star stickers
Black construction paper (optional)
Give each child a sheet of Glow in the Dark star stickers
Ask them to put the stickers on their bedroom wall and create a constellation in the form of ੴ. While they're placing their stickers, explain to them that today is the birthday of Guru Nanak and share the meaning of ੴ.
In the evening once its dark, turn on the lights in their bedroom for 10 minutes and then turn them off to show the stars glowing.
Share the story of how Guru Nanak travelled hundreds of miles to visit a famous temple but became disillusioned with the empty rituals being performed there and went outside and composed a hymn about the whole universe being his temple. Remind them that Gurdwaras give us a space for communal worship but God's presence is everywhere including our own bedrooms!
Alternatively, you can have your children place their stickers on a sheet of black construction paper instead of their bedroom walls