Sikh Ceremonies

Sikh Ceremonies

In Sikhism there are only a few special ceremonies for events like birth, initiation, marriage and death, which are simple, inexpensive and having a religious cause to them. Every Ceremony in Sikhism must be performed in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib, and include singing of hymns, Ardas, or a formal prayer suitable to the occasion and after the ceremony Karah Parshad (sweet pudding) and Langar (food) must be served.


NAAM KARAN (Naming Ceremony):

The naming ceremony of a new born sikh child is usually performed at the Gurdwara in the presence of near and dear ones. During the ceremony hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib  are recited to celebrate the birth of the new child and  the blessings for the  good health and long life of the child are seeked. The holy Granth is opened at random and a verse (Shabad) from the pages opened is read. The first letter of the first word of the 'Shabad' (hymn) on the page is chosen as the initial letter of the child's name. The child's name is then chosen beginning with that letter and is announced to the congregation.  To this selected first name the word 'Singh' or 'Kaur' is added. 'Singh' (means Lion) is used for a boy and 'Kaur'(means princess) for a girl.


Amrit Sanskar or Baptism is the most important and sacred ceremony in the life of a Sikh. It is in the form of a formal oath and initiation ceremony by which a Sikh becomes a true Khalsa (purified or chosen one). The baptism is done in a quiet place, away from distractions, where Sri Guru Granth Sahib has been installed.

The person wishing be to baptized is required to wash their hair, cover their head, wear clean clothes and the five K's before presenting themselves before six Amritdhari Sikhs (Sikhs those who are already baptized).

Five Amritdhari Sikhs will conduct the ceremony while one reads the Guru Granth Sahib.

During the ceremony the principles of Sikhism are explained to the person wishing to be baptized which is then followed by Ardas and opening of Sri Guru Granth Sahib to a random page and reading of a hymn. Amrit (sweet water) is prepared in a steel bowl and stirred with a kirpan by the five beloved ones. This is followed by Ardas and then drinking of the Amrit five times each, by the person wishing to be baptized, in cupped hands and exclaiming Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.

Amrit is then sprinkled on the hair and eyes of the person and any leftover is drunk by all present.

This is followed by an explanation of the code of conduct and discipline required for a Amritdhari .

DASTAR BANDHI (Turban Tying):

The Sikhs tie turban for the first time on the head of a child in presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Usually, when a Sikh boy is between the age of 11 to 16, this ceremony is performed. At this ceremony, Ardas is recited and then the child's first turban is ceremonially tied on by the Granthi.

ANAND KARAJ (Marriage):

Anand Karaj is the Sikh marriage ceremony which' literally means a "Blissful Union". It is neither a contract, nor an agreement; it is a spiritual union. This ceremony normally takes place at a gurdwara (Sikh temple), although not necessarily so; the marriage may also be conducted at the bride's residence or any other place where the Guru Granth Sahib has been installed. Members from both families gather in the sangat (congregation).

In the Anand Karaj ceremony, the Granthi reads a selection of Shabads (hymns) written by the Fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ramdas.

In these Shabads, which are called the Lava, there are four stanzas.The first verse is recited by the Granthi while the couple sits. Then the Ragees sing the same verse and the couple walks gracefully clockwise around the Guru Granth Sahib the bride following the bridegroom. Same way the other three verses are recited. In doing so, they will reaffirm their commitment to the spiritual path. The six verses of 'Anand Sahib' (the hymns of joy) are then sung followed by the Ardas and by the distribution of Karah Parshad. Lunch is provided by the brides family.

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