SIKHISM

Family Life & Festivals that celebrate The Gurus

Family Life & Festivals that celebrate The Gurus

The Sikh code of conduct, the Sikh Rahit Maryada, contains instructions for ceremonies including birth, naming and marriage.

Baby rites

religious studiesWhen a Sikh baby is born, the Mool Mantra is recited to the infant who is given a drop of honey. Soon after birth, the parents visit the Gurdwara and the Granthi randomly opens the Guru Granthi Sahib. The first letter of the page opened will be the initial letter of the baby’s name. Boys are given the surname of Singh (lion) and girls Kaur (princess). Children may also be given their own family names.

Amrit Sanskar

This is a baptismal service carried out at an age when the initiate is old enough to understand the meaning of the ceremony. Once a Sikh has gone through Amrit he or she takes a new name and starts to wear the five Ks. They also become a part of the Khalsa.

Marriage and divorce

Sikh marriage is called Anand Karaj and can only be between a Sikh man and a Sikh woman. The service takes place in the Gurdwara and can be conducted by any Sikh who has gone through the Amrit ceremony. There is no Sikh divorce but widows and widowers may re-marry.

Death

The Sikh funeral is called the Antam Sanskar. Bodies are usually cremated after a service at the Gurdwara. Sikhs do not erect tombstones or other memorials as the body is considered to be a mere shell.

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Festivals and the Gurus

Festivals

Vaisakhi celebrates the Sikh New Year on April 13th or 14th and the creation in 1699 of the Khalsa, the community of Sikhs. The day is celebrated with singing, dancing and parades.

religious studiesDiwali, the Festival of Light, comes in the autumn and is also celebrated by Hindus. For Sikhs, it commemorates the release from prison in 1619 of the sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind. As well as attending religious services, Sikhs exchange gifts and enjoy firework displays at Diwali.

The Gurpurbs are a series of holy days through the year that celebrate either the birthdays or the martyrdom of one or other of the ten Gurus.

These are the most significant:

– Birthday of Guru Nanak

– Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh

– Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev

– Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur

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