The Sikh festivals are celebrated as Gurpurabs. They either mark the birth anniversary or the martyrdom of any Sikh guru. Every morning, for three days before any Gurpurab, processions are held through the streets of the town, known as Prabhat Pheris. These early-morning processions include the Sikhs going around the localities, singing hymns to the different tunes played on the brass bands. Those marching in the procession are offered sweets and tea by the faithful devotees from their homes. The Guru Purab day signals the end of the Prabhat Pheris. The celebrations for all the Guru Purabs are similar except for the hymns and history of a particular Gurpurab that is different in its own way.
Beginning three days before the holy day, the Sikh holy book - the Guru Granth Sahib - is read continuously, from beginning to end, without any break, in the Gurdwaras. This is known as the Akhand Path. The reading concludes on the day of the festival. On the day of the festival, the Guru Granth Sahib is decorated with flowers and carried in a procession in a Palki (palanquin), accompanied by religious music. A special open lunch is arranged at Gurdwaras for people from all religions. The food is served with the spirit of seva (service) and bhakti (devotion). On Guru Arjan Dev's martyrdom day, sweetened milk is offered to passers-by.
In the afternoon/evening, special programs are arranged in the Gurdwaras. Later in the evening, the houses and Gurdwaras are brightly lit, thereby adding to the festive feel. Guru Nanak's birthday falls in the Indian month of Kartik (October/November). Sikhs believe that Guru Nanak brought enlightenment to the world. So, the festival is also called Prakash Utsav, or the festival of light. The tenth guru, Gobind Singh, was born on December 2, 1666. The martyrdom day of the fifth Guru, Arjan Dev, falls in May/June, while that of the ninth guru, Tegh Bahadur is in November. The other six Gurpurab days are connected to the birthdays of Guru Angad Dev (March 31), Guru Amar Das (May 5), Guru Ram Das (September 29), Guru Har Gobind (June 19), Guru Har Rai (January 16), Guru Har Kishan (July 7) and Guru Gobind Singh (December 22).