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• Correct performance for all practices in the
Rehat Maryada
• Majority of mainstream follow Rehat Maryada
– variations though.
• During worship – male or female can lead
Langar and karah prasad constantly available
• Importance of the sangat (congregation)
• Worship at home also – interiorized
• All free to attend Gurdwara
• No special day – Sundays in UK. Bigger ones
• Can join worship at any time
• Punjabi schools, martial arts, sewing classes,
youth clubs, etc – social as well as religious
• Nishan sahib outside all gurdwaras
• Blessings on birth of baby
• Naming ceremony
Initiation ceremony
• Also known as ‘Amrit Sanskar’.
• The rite must be performed by five men or
women who symbolize the original panj-pyare, to
re-enact the original ceremony. The five must be
amritdhari and devout members of the
• Old enough to understand responsibility
• The Guru Granth Sahib is opened and the Sikh
teachings are explained to the initiates.
• Prayers are said before preparing amrit – holy
Panj-pyare kneel around steel bowl called batta which placed on pedestal
(sonera). They sit in the heroic posture (birasan), with the right knee on the
ground and the left knee kept upright. They place sugar crystals in bowl and one
by one stir it with small khanda (double-edged sword). The five keep their hands
on the bowl unless their turn to stir to it. During this shabads from the Guru
Granth Sahib are read.
When amrit is ready, a prayer is said and the initiates come forward one by one,
kneeling in the same manner as the panj-pyare.
• Each is asked to recite:
Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh.
Amrit is put into cupped hands of the initiate 5 times and is drunk by him/her.
Amrit sprinkled 5 times onto hair and eyes of initiate.
Initiates drink amrit that is left by sipping it from the bowl.
Mul Mantar is recited 5 times by the panj pyare and repeated each time by the
Initiates are told of their duties as Khalsa Sikhs, and told they must at all times
keep the 5K’s.
• The list of rules and regulations which form the
Rehat Maryada are read out, as well as the four
major prohibitions, known as kurahits, these are:
(1) Not to cut the hair.
(2) Not to eat halal meat.
(3) No extra-marital sexual intercourse.
(4) No use of tobacco.
• Other rules also include not consuming alcohol,
or any other intoxicants, not to eat with noninitiated Sikhs, not to dye the hair, and not to give
or receive cash dowries.
• Non-observance of the rules causes the initiate to
become a patit, an apostate.
The Marriage Ceremony
Called “anand karaj” – ceremony of bliss
Extended family
Assisted rather than arranged
Endogamous – caste/zat
Exogamous – surname (got)
No child marriages
Widow remarriage
No horoscopes – Hindu practice
Four circuits around the GGS – no fire from mid 20th century – Singh Sabha
Four stanzas composed by Guru Arjan for his own daughter’s marriage.
Lavan hymn stresses the grihasta stage and love between man and wife
Reception takes place – purely social, very expensive for bride’s family!!
No dowry
DVD – A Sikh Marriage ceremony
• Milni
• Kurmai
• Lavan
• Reception
• Biddai
• Groom’s mother
Watch the ceremonies and make notes on what
Write down any questions you may like to ask to
generate discussion about.
Sikh Funeral Rites
Body washed and clothed – dressed in 5K’s
Funeral pyre – eldest son.
Akhand path or sehaj path after cremation
White not black worn
No fasting or other rituals
If deceased was head of family- then “pagri” ceremony
Period of abstinence for close family – visit home of
family to offer condolences
• Strictly speaking no mourning – but allowed
Sikh festivals are divided into two:
Melas - these are Hindu festivals in origin but
are given new interpretations and are
important Sikh gatherings during the year.
Gurpurbs - these are essentially Sikh in origin
and relate to Sikh history such as the births
and martyrdoms of the gurus.
• The term gurpurb is derived from two words:
‘pur’ meaning holiday and ‘gur’ referring to the
particular guru concerned.
• Three gurpurbs are particularly important:
the birthdays of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind
Singh, and the martyrdom of Guru Arjan.
• Celebrated by carrying Guru Granth Sahib in
procession – led by panj pyare
• Akhand paths
• Lectures and seminars concentrating on the life
and works of the particular Guru
• April 13/14.
• Khalsa 1699
• Sikh New Year
• Originally Hindu harvest festival – still is
• Popular time for taking amrit
• Nishan Sahib changed
• Nagar kirtan
• Festival of lights
• Oct/Nov – same date as Hindu diwali except only
1 day for Sikhs, not 2
• Places of worship and homes lit up with divas
• Originally Ram and Sita – Sikhs for return of Guru
Hargobind from prison – release of 52 Hindu
• Presents exchanged
• Golden Temple lit up
• Fireworks – India and diaspora
Hola Mohalla
• March – April
• Coincides with Hindu Holi – Krishna and Gopis
• Guru Gobind Singh diverted Sikhs away from
the “frolics” by emphasising a day of
practising martial arts and military discipline
• Raksha bandhan/rakri
Family Religion
• Grihasta emphasized
• Extended/joint family
• Special terms for family members:
chachaji - father’s younger brother
mamaji - mother’s brother
masiji - mother’s sister
puwaji - father’s sister
taiyaji - father’s elder brother
bhabiji - brother’s wife
• The ending ‘ji’ indicates a title of respect.
• No asceticism
Research Activity
• Sikh attitudes towards meat – different opinions
amongst different Sikhs
• Critically evaluate Sikh attitudes towards euthanasia
• Research the activities of the Singh Sabha and the Tat
Khalsa – why did they want to steer Sikhs away from
what were essentially Hindu practices
• Describe how and explain why a Sikh marriage service
might guide a couple in their married life.
Include why marriage important, the meaning of the
four stanzas. Why it is called “Anand Karaj” – ceremony
of bliss. Other important parts of the marriage such as
the pala (joining of 2 individuals), milni (joining of 2