A giant commemorative 550-hour candle will be lit to honor the 550th birthday of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, at the Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib in Surrey on November 8, 2019.
The birth of Guru Nanak, who lived from 1469-1539, is celebrated annually by Sikhs around the world. The lighting of the candle will mark the beginning of a Nagar Kirtan procession through the streets of Surrey that is expected to attract tens of thousands of devoted Sikhs. Specially created to burn steadily for 550 hours—nearly 29 days—the Light of Life candle is believed to be the longest-burning candle ever made.
It took 2,208 hours to create and cost $25,000. Standing 68 cm tall, it is 64 cm in diameter and weighs 15 kg and has three wicks to provide a steady burn and radiant glow.
The environmentally friendly candle is made of vegan soya wax, organic mustard seed oil and natural extract of jasmine. Giani Narinder Singh, High Priest at Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib said “When the Guru was born there was darkness and upon his birth came light. When you light a candle, the darkness goes. It will be a great honour to have this particular light glowing at our gurdwara for 550 hours.”
The Light of Life candle’s eco-friendly aspect was particularly important to Harbinder Singh Sewak, who commissioned its creation. Sewak, founding publisher of several newspapers and CEO of local gift shop AlooAtta, says that these days it is more important than ever that all people take care of the Earth. Since the candle is made from natural ingredients that burn cleanly it does not pollute the environment.
“One of the foundations of Sikhism is to honor all of creation,” says Sewak. “In the Japji epilogue it says, ‘Pavan Guru pani pitaa, mataa dharah mahat.’ Air is the Guru, Water the Father, and Earth the Great Mother. Guru Nanak emphasized a deep reverence for all creation.
We should honor all of life, for life honors us with its gifts. To respect the environment is to respect the creator.” On Saturday Nov. 9, the Nagar Kirtan parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib and continue until 2:30 p.m. Attendance for the procession is expected to exceed 20,000.
The commemorative candle, which is being donated to the temple by Sewak, will be on display throughout the celebration for everyone to see. Prior to the lighting of the candle at the temple, the Light of Life candle will be on display at the AlooAtta store in Surrey on Oct. 29, 2019.