Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Date in the current year: June 3, 2022

Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan is annually observed by Sikhs in late May or early June (since its date is determined according to the Sikh calendar, it falls on different days in the Gregorian calendar). It is an official observance in the Indian state of Punjab, which is the birthplace of the fifth Guru of Sikhism.

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that originated in Punjab in the 15th century. The founder and first Guru (spiritual master) of Sikhism was Guru Nanak. After him, there were nine more Gurus. The tenth and last Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, announced that Guru Granth Sahib, the central religious scripture of Sikhism, would be an eternal living Guru after his death, thereby ending the lineage of human Gurus.

Guru Arjan was the fifth Guru of Sikhism. He is best known for compiling the Adi Granth, the first official rendition of Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Arjan put together religious hymns written by the first four Gurus, translated selected hymns from Sanskrit to Punjabi and supplemented the collection with his own hymns, creating what would become the most important religious scripture of Sikhism.

Guru Arjan was born in 1563 in Punjab. His mother was the daughter of the third Sikh Guru, and his father Ram Das succeeded his father-in-law as the Sikh Guru in 1574. Following Ram Das’s death in 1581, Guru Arjan became the fifth Sikh Guru at the age of 18. Interestingly, he was the youngest of the three sons, but Guru Ram Das still chose him as his successor, which led to internal disputes and divisions among the Sikhs. Eventually, however, most Sikhs recognized Guru Arjan as the fifth Guru.

In addition to compiling the Adi Granth and composing religious hymns, Guru Arjan is remembered for founding the cities of Kartarpur and Tarn Taran Sahib, as well as building the Harmandir Sahib, also known as Golden Temple. The Harmandir Sahib is the preeminent spiritual site of Sikhism and the place where the original copy of Adi Granth is stored.

The city of Armitsar, which grew around the temple, is one of the most visited Sikh pilgrimage sites. In 2015, it was chosen as one of the cities for the National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), a heritage conservation initiative.

Guru Arjan also was the first Sikh martyr, and his death is one of the defining, although controversial, milestones of the Sikh history. In 1606, he was arrested by the officials of the Mughal Empire and imprisoned in Lahore Fort. According to the traditional Sikh account, the Mughal emperor was offended by some of Guru Arjan’s hymns and demanded that he remove the lines the emperor found offensive and pay a fine.

Even after several days of torture, Guru Arjan refused to do so and was executed. Although historians still dispute whether he was indeed executed or died during torture, Guru Arjan is regarded as martyr by Sikhs.

Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan is an important observance for all Sikhs around the world and an official holiday in Punjab. It is marked by solemn processions and public readings of the Adi Granth.

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Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan, Sikh observances, remembrance days, holidays in India, holidays in Punjab