Christmas and New Year is a great time to get together as its a public holiday and everyone tries to be a good mood and share generosity and kindness. During the cold and dark time of year it is nice to see lights lit up and and people reflecting over the past year and try to plan forward for the next.
Most Panjabis of Sikh heritage living in the West on Christmas day will buy alcohol, a big fat turkey, and eat Christmas pudding (which has alcohol in it). On Christmas day the atmosphere in many homes is like a party, the booze is flowing, the smell of meat fills the house and children are engrossed in what gift they have got. Yet, we forget a big part of what makes us who we are!
Sadly many people of Sikh heritage forget during the Christmas holidays there are key historical events that are remembered. December doesn't mark one Sikh's martyrdom but countless martyrdoms. For this reason Christmas time is a sombre time for Sikhs for paying homage and respects for those who sacrificed their lives for us.
On this day the Battle of Chamkaur took place. Guru jee and his 40 Sikhs fortified a mud house on a hill in the village of Chamkaur whilst the Mughal army led by Wazir Khan pursued them. In a bloody battle, the 2 elder sons (Sahibzaadey) of Guru Gobind Singh jee Maharaaj, Baba Ajeet Singh jee aged 17 and Baba Jujhar Singh jee aged 15, and 36 of Guru jee's beloved Sikhs were martyred fighting against an army of hundred thousand Mughals.
On this day the younger sons (Sahibzaadey) of Guru Gobind Singh jee, aged 7 and 5, were barbarically bricked alive for refusing to embrace Islam and give up their faith. Hearing the news of the martyrdom of her grandchildren, Mata Gujjar Kaur jee, who had been kept imprisoned in a cold tower with her younger grandchildren, embraced martyrdom and breathed her last.
I suppose December for Sikhs is a period of "thanks-giving". Thanks-giving to whom? To four incredible Sahibzaadey, Mata Gujjar Kaur jee and the other countless Shaheeds (martyrs) who split their blood for us and sacrificed their tomorrow for our today. We enjoy the freedom of being Sikhs because of their sacrifices. If anyone was planning to have a Turkey or drink alcohol this Christmas, perhaps take some time to reflect upon how Baba Fateh Singh jee at the age of 5 and Baba Zoravar Singh jee at the age of 7 sacrificed their lives but not their Sikhi. Could those who eat meat and drink alcohol, sacrifice their turkey and drink in their loving memory?
May Guru jee guide us all to be proud Sikhs who live the Guru's Teachings.