I've made a poster on Guru Nanak Dev Jee's Parkaash Divas Gurpurb which I forwarded on to non-Sikh colleagues. Below is the information from the poster in case anyone wishes to use for educating their friends and colleagues on the Sikh festival. If anyone would like the information in a pdf or word format then please email me.
On 28th November 2012, the Sikh community celebrates the advent of Guru Nanak Ji, the founder of the Sikh religion. Sikhs don't tend to say "birth date" of the Guru because the Guru is Light. The word 'Guru' means 'Light that dispels darkness'. The Guru is neither born nor dies. The light is illuminated and then passed from one Guru to the next. Now the light of the Guru is in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikh Sacred Scripture, which is considered the Living Word of God.
Through Guru Nanak Ji (1469 - 1539) the Sikh religion and was revealed over 500 years ago, the youngest major world religion. From a young age he had mystical experiences and those whom came in contact with him began to recognise the Light of God shining through him and that he was speaking the Words of God. He began to preach service, humility, truthful living and meditation upon God, which became the foundation of the Sikh philosophy. A champion for the rights of women and the socially oppressed, the Guru was arrested by the rulers of the time for challenging their tyranny over the common people. Travelling throughout India, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Russia, parts of the Arab world, and Eastern Africa he discussed his revelation with people he met, and inspired admirers and followers from different communities.
Guru Nanak Ji showed people that everyone has the potential to be divine and live a spiritually elevated life that inspires others and society. The Sikh religion is not an evangelical religion and believes everyone has the human right to peacefully practise their beliefs and that we should show respect and love to all God's creation irrespective of labels of religion, colour, gender or social status.Guru Nanak Ji showed people God's Path which is a Path of love and compassion.
Teachings of Guru Nanak
“See the brotherhood of all humanity as the highest sect; conquer your own mind, and you conquer the world.” (p. 4)
“Why call women bad, when from women great kings are born?” (p. 473)
“The Omnipresent is with you. He is with you as is the fragrance in a flower or the image in a mirror. Similarly God resides within you where you should look for Him.” (p. 684)
“There is but One God; Truth is the Name; The Creator, pervading in all; Without fear; Without hatred; Immortal; Without Birth; Self Illuminated; Known through His Grace.” (p. 1)
“I am not called good, and I see none who are bad. O Nanak! One who conquers and subdues their ego, becomes just like the True Lord.” (p. 1015)
How do Sikhs celebrate the advent of Guru Nanak Ji?
Sikhs celebrate Guru Nanak's advent day and the other Gurpurbs (festivals which celebrate the lives of the Gurus) by reading and reflecting on the revealed teachings of the Guru contained in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikh Sacred Scripture. The Sikh community would come together to celebrate through singing hymns played with music (called Keertan), which reflect the Guru’s message and life. The community would also serve Langar or free community kitchen to all visitors and the public. Everyone sits together and enjoys a vegetarian meal to celebrate humanity and love for all creation.