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Thus, it is a primary duty by Sikhs to keep their hair in best condition and long, as a symbol of faith of God's will and importance of humility and acceptance; 2) Khanga, or wooden comb, is used, because it can be easily worn easily in the hair at all time. Besides its practicality, the comb stands for cleanliness. As the comb eliminates the tangles, so too do the Sikhs comb their lives to eliminate impure thoughts by repeating God's name, NAAM in the mind; 3) Karra, which means a link or bondage, is signified by wearing a steel bracelet o the right wrist as if it were a wedding ring or connection between a pair of people. This symbolizes the Guru's ring to Sikh and the never-ending bond with the Guru and among each other who belong to the Khalsa brotherhood. Similarly, the circle represents personal restraint and continually reminds the Sikh of ideal behavior even when facing weakness; 4) Kaccha represents a pair of boxer shorts and symbolizes continence and a high ethical character. The kacccha can be worn like regular shorts without any embarrassment, especially when the weather turns hot; and 5) Kirpan or sword, stands for power and spiritual freedom. Every baptized Sikh is supposed to wear a shortened version of the Kirpan (Duggal).
The Sikhs also have fairs and festivals that are based on their rich and long history. For example, the Hola Mohalla at the Anandpur temple welcomes in the spring season. This festival has considerable import, because it celebrates how the Sikh followers became more militant and expanded into the warriors, Nihang, with Guru Gobind. On the day after Holi, the crowds are enthralled by the martial arts, which include archery, fencing, horse-riding tricks and tent-pegging (Leaf).
Holi is one of the Sikh's better known holidays. For days prior to the festival day, the residents begin to gather wood to light the huge bonfire named Holika. Then on the night before Holi, the Holika effigy, the devilish sister of the demon king Hiranyakashyap, is placed on the fire. She is being punished for trying to murder Hiranyakashyap's son, Prahlad, who was a major supporter of Lord Naaryana (Leaf). The celebration represents the victory of good over evil and the importance of the sincere devotee. During the event, young children are told to yell abusive comments at Holika and play pranks, pretending that they are able to drive away Dhundh who at one time was cruel to the little ones in the Kingdom of Prithu (Leaf). Some families also take some of the wood's embers to keep their home fires burning.
The day of Holi, itself, is known for its play of colors. People of all ages spray colorful water and decorate themselves and the surroundings with a host of color. The natural colored gulal in bright shades of pink, magenta, red, yellow and green and abeer, consisting of small paper and mica crystals act as ways to decorate the body. There are also others who paint themselves instead with the silvers and golds. As an added treat for these celebrations, everyone loves to eat the gujiya, mathri and malpuas and drink such the thandai laced with bhang, which helps to further enhance the spirit of the occasion but if taken in excess it might dampen it also. So caution should be taken while consuming it (Leaf).
With its 19 million adherents worldwide mostly in India, Sikhism does not have ubiquitous locations as do the other religions. Yet, it can be found in many global cities and are now becoming a particularly major religious influence in the United Kingdom and Canada. Whether they were once part of the Hindu religion or originated on their own, over the past five centuries, the Sikhs, have become an integral part of the world religious culture.
Cole, W. Owen. Understanding Sikhism. Edinburg: Dunedin Academic Press, 2004. Cunningham, Joseph D. History of the Sikhs. London: John Murray, 1853.
Leaf, Murray J. Information and Behavior in a Sikh Village. Berkeley: University of California,1972
Singh, P. Guru Granth Sahib. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Sinha, J. Imagining Architectures: Creativity in the…[continue]
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