The Five K’s

Hans, Why do you wear a turban? Does the colour of your turban represent something? How do you wear it?

It’s interesting how a lot of people are curious to know about my religion. Since the day I have moved to Dundee, people have asked me about my turban, which obviously led us to talk about my religion as well – some naive questions, some very interesting and sensitive ones but I’m always happy to reply them. And so the reason I’m writing some basics about my religion in this post.

I am a Sikh– A peaceful religion that accepts everybody. ‘Sikh’ meaning discipline.

Founded in the 16th Century in the Punjab district in India, Sikhism is a monotheistic religion, meaning god is one. Sikhs believe that all different races, religion and gender are equal in the eyes of god. It teaches the full equality of men and women. Sikhs do not believe in idol worship but rather emphasis is placed on respect of the holy book for the writings which appear within – the living guru of the Sikhs is a holy book called ‘The Guru Granth Sahib’, which is held in great reverence by Sikhs and treated with utmost respect. It’s the only scripture which does not only contain works of it’s own religious founders but also writings from other faith’s founders. It is a collection of devotional hymns and poetry proclaiming god, lays stress on meditation on the true guru and lays down moral and ethical rules for the development of the soul, spiritual and unity.

The Guru Granth Sahib.  Image courtesy- Google images
The Guru Granth Sahib.
Image courtesy- Google images

A baptised Sikh or a Khalsa (Embodiment of the Guru) will have the five K’s;

Kesh – Uncut hair kept covered with a distinctive turban. Also a symbol of leadership.
Kara – A steel bracelet symbolising strength and integrity.
Kanga – A small wooden comb symbolising cleanliness and order.
Kaccha – also spelt, Kachh, Kachera – A cotton boxer shorts symbolising self-control, chastity and prohibition of adultery.
Kirpan – A steel knife or sword symbolising readiness to protect the weak and defend against the injustice.

The Five K's Image Courtesy - Google Images
The Five K’s
Image Courtesy – Google Images

So, why do I wear a turban?

The turban is our guru’s gift to us. It’s to protect our hair – to represent complete commitment. It is how we crown ourselves as the Singhs and Kaurs. For men and women alike, it conveys royalty, grace, and uniqueness. It is a signal to others that we are dedicated to serving all.

Does the colour of my turban represent something?

Some colours – yes, they do but otherwise it’s more of a personal preference on what you like or if you want to match it with the colour of your clothes. For example; Saffron orange (represents wisdom and courage) and navy blue (worn by Gyani or in simple words priests) are more commonly worn and are traditional colours of Sikhism. And according to our customs, red colour turbans are worn for a wedding ceremony and other days of celebration. Apart from these, white and black are the most commonly worn meaning purity and humility respectively.

How do I wear it?

A Sikh turban can range from 2 metres to about 7 metres of turban cloth and in some cases even longer. Depending on personal preference and style of a turban, the cloth is folded from both ends and is wrapped around the head. It takes about 5-6 minutes everyday to put one on. If you guys are interested to watch a video, here’s a funny video on how to tie a turban from one of my favourite vloggers JusReign.

I think that’s all for now. Please feel free to ask any further questions without any worries. 🙂

If you’re interested to find out more about Sikhism, here’s a documentary by BBC. It’s a bit old but gives an overall view of the religion.

Have a great week ahead! See you all next week! 🙂

Written by:

I am a Master's student at University of Dundee graduating in August 2014. I am originally from India and this is my first time in Scotland although I have lived in England for the past three years. I love Photography and I enjoy meeting people from different culture and background.

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