This week 6th-12th November marks the first National Sikhi Week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to do some Sikhi related educational posts on here and instagram @ajeetamritakaur.
Firstly, Nagar means town or neighbourhood and Kirtan means the singing of Shabads (divine hymns). Nagar Kirtan literally brings the message of God to the community. They take place all over the country and are common in the month of April for Vaisakhi (formation of Khalsa) and October/November for Guru Nanak Dev Ji Birthday (first Sikh Guru).
A procession goes through the town, usually from one Sikh Gurdwara to another, there is at least one main float with the Siri Guru Grath Sahib, here people make their way through the crowds to bow their heads to the Guru, while the float is moving. Other floats such as ones performing Kirtan and coaches with people unable to walk in the procession follow behind.
The Sangat (community of people) walk behind Guru Ji and foods and drinks are available for free from stalls/tents around the town. Usually you will find favourites like Chickpeas with rice, freshly made breads, Gulab Juman, Ladoo, sweets and Chai tea.
Nagar Kirtan is free for anyone to go along to, the food is free for anyone to have too. While here, it is advised you have your head covered (even if it is with a scarf or bandana) as you are beside Guru Ji and you may go to a Gurdwara for Kirtan or Langar (food) sometime during the day.
Sometimes demonstrations of Gatka (Sikh martial art) happens on the streets from students which is an interesting watch and stalls such as Basics of Sikhi are there , go along to ask any questions you may have, people are friendly and always willing to help.
Practical information for first time goers
- If your going to walk with the crowd be prepared to wait. The great thing about Nagar Kirtan is though it is busy and everyone is together, there is a peaceful atmosphere. I can’t even explain it, it’s incredible. It’s definitely something to experience.
- Take change to give to Guru Ji while at the float or inside the Gurdwara. There are also outdoor stalls selling things.
- You will hear the words ‘Bole So Nihal’ followed by ‘Sat Siri Akal’. (Whoever utters, shall be fulfilled and eternal is great/timeless Lord.) More information on that here.
- As well as Wahiguru ji ka Khalsa Wahiguru ji ki Fateh (The Khalsa belongs to Vaheguru. All victory belongs to Vaheguru). Wahe Guru being wonderous Lord who leads us from darkness to light.
- Have a scarf or bandana in your bag to wear on the day
- Take a plastic bag incase you collect foods during the day, food bags are useful too as you can put food given in brown bags that get oily in them. Some people bring tupperwear pots and even trolleys.
- Go with the flow to have an enjoyable day and connect with people in your community!
*Apologies for any mistakes I may have made