Happy Guru Nanak Gurparab!

454px-Sikh_Gurus_with_Bhai_Bala_and_Bhai_Mardana Happy Guru Nanak Gurpurab

Very few people in my world ever mention Guru Nanak.  Even less people in my world say “Happy Guru Nanak Gurpurab!”  I consider that to be evidence that I need to get out more.

Who is Guru Nanak?  The founder of the Sikh religion.  There are roughly 30 million Sikhs worldwide, and 250,000 Sikhs in the United States.

Happy Guru Nanak Gurpurab

I discovered that today was the day his birthday is commemorated, because I learned of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper extending greetings to the Canadian and worldwide Sikh communities.

President Obama offered similar greetings.

The last time Sikhs where mentioned in my world was the tragic incident at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in August of 2012.  In my experience, the American Sikh community dropped off the media radar very shortly after the shooting. The media was provided with very little whining, drama or victim narratives, and as such, found the Sikhs very unworthy of news coverage.  Here are a few basic facts about Sikhism.  Mitt Romney was mercilessly mocked over the temple garments of his Mormon faith, but it so happens that the Sikhs have ritual undergarments as well.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Guru Nanak’s birthday, or Guru Nanak Gurpurab, is generally celebrated in November, but the day changes from year to year, based on traditional dates of the Indian calendar.  Next year it will be celebrated on November 6, 2014.

I’m not trying to promote Sikhism.  I’m just trying to be reasonably polite. I’m trying to cultivate the politeness necessary for a world full of different tribes to get along. The poet Kabir is considered a holy man by the Sikhs, and some of his writing is included in the Sikh scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib.  Perhaps I have more affinity with the Sikhs than I thought.


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