Sikh Rituals, Holidays and Festivals Essay Example
The paper introduces the topic of Sikhism faith. In the introduction, the paper also highlights an overview of the values of Sikhism faith in relation to their scripture. The introduction paragraph also includes the thesis statement that represents the primary discussion of the paper.
This section of the paper provides an overview of the festivals by highlighting the general significance of the festivals. The paper also discusses the primary Sikhism festivals according to the seasons. It also highlights the various activities that usually takes place in these festivals. However, in the Sikhism faith, they often celebrate many festivals that play a significant role in Punjabi cultural heritage.
The paper describes the major festivals that are normally treasured by the Sikhs in the following order:
- Lohri- It usually marks the end of winter and the commencement of summer. It is performed on January 13th every year.
- Holla Mohalla/Hola
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The following body paragraphs also discuss several rituals that are common in the Sikhism faith. First, it is the Baptism that is also referred to as the Armit Ceremony. This ritual officiates one to be a member of Sikhism. It takes place at their place of worship and is undertaken by those who are young in the faith but want to become a loyal believer. Second, it is the wedding ritual, also known as the Anand Karaj. This ceremony is undertaken to those who wish to get married and are in the Sikhism faith. Lastly, it is the baby ritual. It is a ritual that is performed on newborns. It is in this rite that a child is named according to Sikh beliefs.
The paper discusses the rituals in the following order:
- Wedding -Anand Karaj
- Baby Ritual
The essay also focuses on some holidays in Sikhism. Diwali is one of the happiest holidays in Nepal and India. It is celebrated all over the world in the memory of Sikh Guru, who is among the founders of this faith. It reminds the followers of the day he was released from the prison. Another holiday is concentrated on Guru Nanak Jayanti. It is a holiday purposely done to appraise the teachings of Sikhism. People engage in social and volunteer work to emphasize on the fundamental teachings of kindness and hard work of the religion.
Sikhism has been regarded as one of the youngest but great faiths in the world that was established by Guru Nanak. The Sikhs are considered as monotheists; hence, they believe in the existence of one God. Their belief system teaches aspects such as justice, peace, social harmony and equality regardless of race and creed. It usually places a significant value on the human life as a privilege to live the spiritual life through their religious commitment to honest living and hard work. The Sikh scripture is the perpetual embodiment of the ten Gurus hence treated with great respect. It was referred to as Adi Granth until the time when Guru Gobind Singh transformed the name to Guru Granth Sahib. This essay examines the significant Sikhism festivals and holidays in their calendar. It also discusses the major rituals usually practiced in the Sikhism faith.
The Sikh festivals are usually referred to the special days connected with the significant events in the Guru’s lives. These events are usually meant for the re-dedication and revival of the faith and are commemorated in the fellowship and devotion spirit. These festivals are usually celebrated at the Sikh place of worship often known as gurdwaras. The worship place is open to all regardless of race, ethnicity, and creed. Such occasion is often characterized by significant teachings about belief in one God for the entire humanity. They also teach about equality for women and respect for their ways of life. The festivals are also used as an opportunity to exhibit the spontaneous acts of services such as helping the less privileged in the society.
The program for the celebration usually entails the continuous recitation of the scriptures, which is known as Guru Granth Sahib for around three days. They also accompany sacred hymns that are called Kirtan to worship god. The following is the explanation of the primary festivals that is treasured in Sikhism (Molloy).
Lohri is usually considered as the Sikhs version of the annual Thanksgiving and a significant harvest festival in India. It is celebrated in January, and the Punjab field is always occupied with the harvest of wheat. Farmers often celebrate this festival throughout before the gathering and harvesting of crops. Children usually engage in activities such as walking in the neighborhood singing the praises of Dulha Bhatti. The children are often given money savories and sweets that are known as Lohri.
The festival also acts as the end of winter and the beginning of Magha. According to the Sikhism calendar, the festival usually falls on January 13th when summer is about to start. It is linked to the worship of fire and the fire that all communities can observe in different geographical locations. The excitement is usually more for a family that has recently welcomed a newborn.
Vaisakhi is one of the Sikhism festivals which marks the commencement of a fresh harvest season. It falls on the first day of Vaisakh month that is usually 14th April based on the Gregorian almanac. It is the most significant festival in the Sikh history, because it is considered as the birthday of Khalsa order. It also appears that on the same day in 1699 is when the initiation of Khalsa, who are among the five brave gurus took place. Khalsa is a global fellowship involves Sikhs who undertake the initiation ceremony and offer themselves to living by high ideals. The Sikhs usually unite during the Vaisakhi to empower their practice of Sikh ideals and values. This aspect also includes praying and working to achieve prosperity for the entire human race. As they come together for the ceremony, it also helps them to establish the vision of a new and rejuvenated humanity. For instance, in the US and India, there is usually an enormous parade of people who come out to do several activities such as giving food and completion of other labor activities (Molloy).
This is a Sikh festival that is celebrated on the first of the lunar month of Chet that usually falls in March. According to the culture that was established by Guru Gobind Singh, the Hola Festival follows the Holi festival by one day. However, unlike the Holi festival, when individuals playfully sprinkle colors on each other, this occasion usually demonstrates their martial skills in stimulated battles.
Holla Mohalla usually means a mock fight. During this festival, processions are prearranged in the form of army type columns that is followed by war-drums and standard-bearers and the proceedings to a particular spot. This custom was started in 1701 in the Guru Gobind Singh era who organized such a mock fight event at Anandpur. It is usually a three-day festival where the exhibition of weapons are accompanied by kirtan, poetry, and competitions. Participants from various places regularly engage in activities such as Gatka, tent pegging and speeding horse among other feats.
The Baptism- Armit Ceremony
Amrit ceremony is an initiation ceremony taken by people of this faith when they become old enough to understand what is involved in the commitments of the rite. There are several requirements for those undertaking the ritual. First, they must wash their hair and tie a cloth around their head. They should not wear any jewelry or any other ornaments that may be symbols of another religion. They are only required to wear some holy symbols that in the Sikh religion are referred to as the 5Ks. The 5Ks are Kara, which is a wristband that is worn to enhance self-acceptance. The second K is the Kipran, which is a sword used in defense by those in the last line. The third K is the Kachera, which are in a form of shorts representing self-respect. The fourth K is the Kangha, which is a comb made of wood to emphasize on being tidy and purity. The last K is the Kesh, which is natural hair enclosed with a turban to signify nature.
The ritual then takes place in Gurdwara which is the worship place or any other quiet environment that is convenient. It involves five Sikhs or senior persons who represent the very first persons to undergo the rite. Several things take place as the ritual takes place. Firstly, those who are present sing hymns and song that are unique to this particular ritual. The songs are extracted from the Sikh scripture. Secondly, prayers are said, particularly for those undertaking the ritual. Lastly, there is the affirmation of the Sikh’s principles to help those conducting the ritual understand every detail. After that, some mixture of sugar and water is made and is stirred by a particular sword. This combination is referred to as the Armit in the Sikh’s religion. The candidates of the ritual drink the mixture while some of it is dotted on their eyes and hair. Besides, these candidates must recite the ground rules of Sikhism known as the Mool Mantra. The ritual is ended with the eating of some sweet food known as pershad. The food is considered blessed (Molloy).
Wedding Rituals-Anand Karaj
To start with, if a person does not belong to the Sikh faith, he or she cannot be joined in marriage through the Anand Karaj. This wedding ritual allows participation of only those people who are mature enough to face marriage and the responsibilities that come with it. An engagement ceremony that is not mandatory may happen before the real wedding ceremony. The wedding ceremony usually occurs in the morning whereby the two families meet. The service involves singing of hymns from the Sikh scripture and greetings as outlined in the same scripture. The service proceeds to the congregation whereby people are sited at the holy presence. The couples sit side by side as they follow the given instructions. The couple and their parents then stand up seeking for blessing as the new marriage begins. The person presiding over the ceremony reads the marriage teachings according to Guru. Bridegroom and bride know his or her obligations and responsibilities in that wedding. The couple then takes their vows before Guru and the congregation. The issuing of documents is not necessary for this ceremony as it is considered a sacrament (Molloy).
The Baby Rites and Rituals
Sikh baby rites start as early as a woman realizes that she is pregnant. Immediately after this news, the child’s father organizes a meeting with a priest, because prayer about health is the first action of Sikh women. After the arrangement, family members, friends, and guests attend the Gurdwara to meet with the rest of the congregation. The ceremony commences by reading a passage and singing hymns of joy. The priest prays and in the prayers asks god to grant the child with good health and that he may become a dedicated citizen and a follower of the religion. Afterward, the naming process begins. The selection of a name is not complicated since the family chooses a name by using the first letter of the hymn on the page opened. The parents might have chosen a name before or can choose from a list that contains names. After they select, the phrase ‘Singh’ is usually added to any male name while ‘Kaur’ is added to the female ones. The Granth (priest) then announces the name to the congregation and parents start calling the baby by that name henceforth. The ritual is concluded by sharing of a sweet meal (made from flour, semolina, butter and sugar) among the congregation.
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This is a holiday that is officially celebrated in some countries and comes around November. The Sikhs celebrate this holiday as a remembrance of Sikh Guru, who got released from prison in 1619. Sikh Guru was with fifty-two princes when they got their freedom. The release lead to excessive happiness and that is why people of Sikh religion celebrate it till today. During the holiday, people put on the best outfits and light candles at night. They also share delicious meals.
Guru Nanak Jayanti
This is a holiday held by Sikh people and is celebrated to exalt the doctrines of Sikhism. Its existence is marked by the presence of flowers and lights all over the Sikh’s people. The essence of this celebration is to emphasize the aspects of morality and hard work among these believers. They also stress on the Sikh’s preaching just as Guru Nanak did and enlightened the world with these teachings. The celebrations start before the actual day and are commenced by the continuous teaching of the Sikh’s preaching for 48 hours. After that, religious music and hymns are played at the birthplace of Guru. Visitors from other places can join to make the celebration more memorable. The Sikhs community serves food to all people especially to those living in the area regardless of their religion. They also engage in other voluntary and social work.
Taking everything into consideration, Sikhism faith entails significant rituals, festivals and holidays that are relevant in enriching their cultural heritage. They have an organized way of carrying out their festivals according to seasons of harvest and appeasing their god. They have confidence with their culture and track their records of adaptability to various periods and events in their calendar. Most of Sikhism believers are loyal to the religion and follow the teachings devotedly. It is a culture that has paid much attention to the issues of inequality today. The followers are in pursuit of fighting the inferiority associated with women. Their message is that all human beings are equal in the eyes of god and that god loves everyone regardless of his or her gender, race or ethnicity. Furthermore, the religion is at the front line to reject the worship of idols and urge people to believe in god instead of the statues worshiped by some people. They also do not conform to the superstitious beliefs associated with some communities or some groups of people. Therefore, the Sikhs ought to be appreciated and respected because most of their teachings are in pursuit of improving the life standards of people today. Furthermore, their faith will play a vital role in fighting hate and discrimination of some people.