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The Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine, pictured on Nov. 12.

India observes “Guru Nanak Jayanti” or “Gurpurab” on Wednesday, a day which marks the birth anniversary of “Guru Nanak,” the founder of Sikhism and the first of the 10 Sikh gurus. The date of Guru Nanak Jayanti, considered to be Sikhism’s most sacred festival, varies each year and falls on the full moon, or “Kartik Poornima,” in accordance with the Hindu lunar calendar.

On this day, Sikh devotees typically sing hymns in praise of the Guru, while Gurudwaras, or Sikh temples, organize “Langars,” community meals served without charge to people from all walks of life. Devotees also organize religious processions holding the “Nishan Sahib,” or the Sikh flag, to spread the teachings of the Guru. People performing “Gatka,” a Sikh martial art, is a common site during these processions.

Government offices, schools, colleges and stock markets are closed in India on this day.