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Guru Ravidas Jayanti
Guru Ravidas Jayanti, also known as ‘Magh Purnima’, is a festival celebrating and commemorating the birthday of Guru Ravidas. It is celebrated with extreme joviality in North India, especially in the state of Punjab.
About Guru Ravidas
Guru Ravidas or Bhagat Ravidas was a famous saint of 15th Century CE, known for his involvement with Bhakti movement. He was born in Banaras in Uttar Pradesh in the house of Baba Santokh Dass Ji and Mata Kalsa Devi. With them being the people of lower caste, community has sidelined them as untouchables, going by the social order as prevalent at that time. The exact time and date of his birth are still under some contention, with different researches offering different times and dates.
His birth in an untouchable family persuaded him to raise his voice against discrimination of any sort, in particularly on the grounds of caste and creed. He encouraged others to fight for that cause, and that was what began to be his journey towards greatness. He spread the messages of equality, universal brotherhood, and tolerance amongst society.
He is one of the fifteen Sikh Gurus and the Satguru of the Ravidas Sect. Amongst masses, he gained immense repute as a social reformer, a poet, a thinker, a spiritualist, a traveller, a reformist, and a humanist. In specifically, his verses and devotional songs are considered to be extremely influential, and are credited for their immense contribution to his immense prominence and popularity. He donated manuscript of forty-one of his verses and poems on request of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Later, they were included in the holy Adi Granth which was penned down by Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru.
Time of Celebration
According to Hindu calendar, Guru Ravidas Jayanti is celebrated on full moon day in the month of Magh. According to Georgian calendar, it falls in the month of February.
This festival is of utmost significance for those who believe in the ideologies and beliefs of Ravidas religion. For them, it is the most important day of the year.
Rituals and Celebrations
1. On this special occasion, all Gurudwaras across the country make special arrangements. They are adorned with colourful lights. Special prayer meetings in adoration of Guru Ravidas Ji are put in place.
2. Amritbani, the holy book of Ravidassia religion, is read. Also, Nishaan Sahib, the official symbol of Ravidassia religion, is changed in a special ceremony.
3. The highlight of the day is the Naga Kirtan, a street procession in which people in huge numbers participate. Some people dressed up as Guru Ravidas and his followers, carrying the portrait of Guru Ravidas, move around through local streets, while singing his poems and verses.
4. Many people make sure to take a holy dip on this day, as it is considered to be one extremely important rite associated to this festival.
5. Though, all Gurudwaras put in special arrangements for the day, Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan Mandir in Seer Goverdhanpur of Varanasi is where every follower wants to be on this auspicious occasion. People from all over the world in great numbers show up to mark the occasion and to be a part of the grandest celebrations.
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