It is the anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh initiating the first five people into the Khalsa, so it is an appropriate time for Sikhs to follow their example and join the Sikh community
Was there any other outward sign that the Khalsa Sikhs took on apart from adopting the Five Ks?
The men took on a common surname, Singh ('Lion'), a reminder to be courageous, which they still do to this day. Women take on the name Kaur ('Princess'), to emphasise dignity. It was then that the men started to wear turbans.
What are the 'Five Ks'?
The community of men and women who have been initiated into the Sikh faith is known as the Khalsa (Community of the Pure)
In order to become a Sikh and join the Khalsa, people need to follow the Five Ks:
- Kesh: uncut hair as a mark of holiness and submission to God's will
- Kangha: a small wooden comb in the hair as a sign of cleanliness
- Kara: a steel bracelet, a reminder that they are connected to God
- Kachhera: short cotton underwear, more practical for daily life than the traditional dhoti worn in India
- Kirpaan: a sword, for protection.
Read more about the celebration of Vaisakhi in London (it happened last Sunday!)