The Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev is a day that remembers the death of the first Sikh martyr in 1606. This Gazetted holiday in the Indian state of Punjab falls on the 24th day of Jeth-which is the third month on the Sikh calendar. This places it somewhere between May or June on the Gregorian calendar.
On this day, Sikh pilgrims known as the Jatha will travel to Pakistan to Gurdwara Dehra Sahib in Lahore. This event has happened every year since this holiday’s inception, but in 2021 that was temporarily put on hold due to restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The History Of Martyrdom Day Of Guru Arjan Dev
In April of 1563, Guru Arjun Dev was born in Goindval, India. He was the son of the future Guru Ramdas and his mother was Mata Bhani. In 1581, he would go on to become the 5th Guru of the Sikhs after the death of his father and would go on to lay the foundation of Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar.
He also declared that all Sikhs should tithe a tenth of their earnings to charity. His biggest contribution to the Sikh faith, however, would come when he compiled all of the writings of past Gurus into one book. A book that was known as the Guru Granth Sahib.
In 1606, the Muslim Mughal Emperor Jahangir found some of the hymns in the text offensive and ordered Guru Arjun Dev to delete them and pay a fine of 200,000 rupees. When he refused, he was tortured and executed.
Observing Martyrdom Day Of Guru Arjan Dev
This holiday is usually observed with a full reading of the Guru Granth Sahib. There is also a procession with the holy scripture and candies are generally offered to the public outside of their gurdwaras. There is also an annual procession to Gurdwara Dehra Sahib in Lahore, Punjab.