This is a festival in celebration of the installation of the Sikh holy scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, at Sri Harimandur Sahib (The Golden Temple) in Amritsar, India. The treasured scripture is at the heart of Sikh worship and devotion at Sri Harimandir Sahib, which was built in the late 16th century when Guru Granth Sahib was completed. In the early morning of Guru Granth Sahib day, Guru Granth Sahib is ceremoniously set on the Singhasan (throne) in the centre of the Temple’s sanctum. Passages are read from the scripture during the day and Sikh’s visit Sri Harimandur Sahib to pay their respects. In the evening, Guru Granth Sahib is respectfully returned to its usual resting place in the Akal Takhat, another building in the Temple complex.
Guru Granth Sahib was compiled in 1604 by the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev. He collated and edited the prayers and hymns of the four previous Gurus together with his own and those of Hindu and Muslim saints where he felt the sentiments echoed those of Sikhism. The result was a new Sikh Holy Scripture which was installed in Sri Harimandir Sahib on 01 September 1604, and conferred the title of ‘Guru’ on 20 October that same year. For Sikh’s, Guru Granth Sahib is worshipped as the revealed word of God written by Sikh Gurus and Saints. The Holy Scripture consists of 1,430 pages written in Gurmukhi (the script of Punjabi), containing 5,894 shabods (revealed hymns of six Gurus) arranged into 31 ragas (musical groupings).
Sikhs show the same respect to Guru Granth Sahib as was shown to the human Gurus. In gurdwaras (Sikh temples), the Holy Scripture rests in its own bed each night and is ceremoniously fanned whenever it is recited from. It is not permitted to place Guru Granth Sahib on the ground, nor for any Sikh to turn their back to it. Most Sikhs do not have a copy in their own homes because it is so difficult to show it the respect it commands.
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