HYDERABAD: The city has geared up for a long weekend of celebrations. The 351st birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th and last Sikh guru who was the founder of the Khalsa Panth, is being celebrated by the Sikh community in the city. Churches across the city are also being decked up for the midnight mass to signal the beginning of Christmas celebrations.
Although the birth anniversary of the Guru falls on December 25, celebrations began on Saturday with a procession (nagar keertan) at Central Gurudwara Saheb, Gowliguda, which passed through Gurdwara Guru Singh Sabha, Afzalgunj, M.J. Market and Putlibowli. Gatka, a Sikh martial art, was performed by over 30 children consisting of boys and girls.
“Every year over 1,50,000 devotees attend the nagar keertan and this year was no exception. Another common practice during the procession is rendering of Shabad Keertans. We also carried the scripture of Sikhs on a decorated vehicle,” said Inder Singh, president of Central Gurudwara Saheb, Gowliguda. A community kitchen was also set up by volunteers who cooked food for the participants.
No stone is being left unturned for Christmas too as churches are getting ready for the midnight mass and carol singers are ensuring that Christmas cheer spreads across the city.
The city is bustling with many visitors. Thomas Sunny, a techie from Gachibowli, says, “Most of my relatives have flown in from Dubai, Australia and the US to spend time with the family. Christmas day would be incomplete without the entire family sitting down together for the feast.”
Many churches have began donation drives by putting together kits for young children and giving out blankets. Malcolm Taylor, a resident of South Nallakunta, says, “The midnight mass which begins by 11 pm will be packed. It will go on up to 1.30 am.”