This festival is celebrated by the Sikhs,
the birthday of their tenth and last guru, this day
witnesses’ large processions and special prayer
gatherings at all Gurudwaras.
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Nanak (Sikh Guru),
was born at Patna Sahib on December 22, 1666, (Poh
Sudi Saptmi). His birthday generally falls in December
or January or sometimes twice within a year as it
is calculated according to Hindu Bikrami Calendar,
which is based on the lunar calendar. According
to the Nanakshahi Calendar, the birthday of Guru
Gobind Singh Sahib falls annually on January 5.
Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708 C.E.) lived during
an extremely dangerous time. His father, Guru Tegh
Bahadur, had sacrificed his life to protect the
freedom of worship by Hindus, who were being threatened
with conversion or death by zealous Muslim rulers.
Abduction of women and pillage of goods were rampant,
but the people were too timid and terrorized to resist.
In the midst of this political situation, Guru Gobind
Singh gained great stature as both Saint and soldier
a leader of firm spiritual principles and intense devotion
to God, and at the same time, fearless dedication to
protecting all people from oppression and injustice
through the practice of Kshatradharma. In 1699, He dramatically
initiated five men from the lower castes as His Five
Beloveds, blessing them with great courage as well as
nearness to God. They became models for the Khalsa,
the Order of the Pure, which Guru Gobind Singh created
to stand on the front line against injustice. The Khalsa
were held to a very strict moral and spiritual discipline
and under Guru Gobind Singh's courageous inspiration,
helped to turn the tide against Mughal oppression in
In addition to his spiritual and military leadership,
Guru Gobind Singh was a gifted intellectual and had
many poets in his court. He was inspired to write many
powerful spiritual compositions that infused a martial
spirit in the people.
This included the Jaap Sahib, but He did not include
them in the Sikh scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib. His
writings have instead been collected in a separate volume,
called the Dasam Granth. Upon His passing away, He instructed
his Sikhs to regard the Guru Granth Sahib as their teacher.
'Granth' literally means 'volume' (especially, a Holy
volume). 'Sahib' is a term of reverence used for anything
sacred. The Guru Granth Sahib is the perpetual guru
of the Sikhs today.
The prasad of Ugadi/Gudi Padwa is the bitter leaves
of the neem tree with jaggery. There are special foods
prepared for this festival. In the southern states,
puligore-a sour tamarind rice dish, bobbatlu, holige-
sweet stuffed bread and Ugadi Pachadi made of jagerry,
raw mango pieces, neem flowers and tamarind is prepared.
In Maharastra, shrikhand -a fragrant yogurt dessert,
with poori-a fried puffy bread is prepared.