Previously in this series: Into the limelight: Sikh truckers in America
The Sikh religion was founded in northern India in the 15th century. Sikh (pronounced “sick”) means “disciple” or “learner.” Traditionally, Sikhs believe in three basic principles: meditating on the name of God, earning a living by honest means and sharing the fruits of one’s labor with others. Sikhism rejects caste and class systems and emphasizes service to humanity.
Initiated Sikhs are required to carry or maintain what they call the Five Ks: Kesh (unshorn hair covered by a turban), Kara (steel bracelet), Kanga (small wooden comb), Kacchera (undershorts) and Kirpan (a tiny ceremonial dagger). The five articles signify commitment to the faith and its ideals of love and service.
Other facts about Sikhism:
• It is the world’s fifth-largest religion, with 25 million adherents globally.
• Sikhs have been in the United States for more than 100 years and now number roughly 700,000.
• Sikhism is a religion distinct from Hinduism and Islam.
• Sikhs believe in one God and freedom of religion.
• Observant Sikhs abstain from meat, alcohol and illegal drugs.
• Sikhs cover their hair with a turban, representing a commitment to equality and justice.
• 99 percent of people wearing turbans in the United States are Sikhs of Indian descent.
Also in this series: