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World Religions Project Religion 35

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Calum Ward

on 24 July 2013

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Transcript of World Religions Project Religion 35

World Religions
Taoism
Confucianism
Sikhism
Calum Ward
Religion 35

History
K'ung Fu Tzu, (Confucius) was born in 551 BCE in the state of Lu. He lived during the Chou dynasty, an era known for its ethical slackness. When Confucius was 22, he opened a school. He succeeded in teaching and this led to his appointment as minister of justice of the state of Lu. After a conflict with the nobleman of Lu, he left the state, his home behind him and wandered for 13 years throughout China, giving advice to their political rulers. He accumulated a small group of students during his time on the road. The last years of his life were spent back in his home province Lu, where he devoted himself to teaching. He died around the year 479 BCE at the approximate age of 72. His teachings founded the principles of Confucianism as he had written some of the Confucians sacred texts.
Bibliography
Rituals
Confucianism does not comprise of all of the rituals of some other religions, such as the rituals found in Christianity and Islam. It is primarily an ethical system to which rituals at important years and time during one's life have been added. Since the era of the Han dynasty (206 CE) four life passages have been recognized and structured by Confucian tradition:
Birth: The T'ai-shen (the spirit of the fetus) protects the pregnant woman and deals harshly with anyone and everyone who pesters and harasses the mother to be. A special practice is followed when the placenta is disposed of. The mother is given a special diet and is allowed rest for a month after delivery. The mother's family of origin supplies all the items required by the baby on the first, fourth and twelfth monthly anniversary of the birth.
Upon reaching maturity: This life passage or ritual is no longer being celebrated, except in traditional families. It takes the form of a group meal in which the young adult is served chicken.

Marriage: This is performed in six stages: Proposal: the couple exchanges the eight numbers: the year, month, day and hour of each of their births. If any distasteful event occurs within the bride-to-be's family during the next three days, then the woman is believed to have rejected the proposal. Engagement: after the wedding day is chosen, the bride announces the wedding with invitations and a present of cookies made in the shape of the moon. Dowry: This is carried to the groom's home in a solemn procession. The “bride-price” is then sent to the bride by the groom's parents. Gifts by the groom to the bride, equal in value to the dowry, are sent to her and her family. Procession: The groom visits the bride's home and brings her back to his place, with much celebration. Marriage and Reception: The couple recites their vows, toast each other with wine, and then take center stage at a banquet. Morning after: The bride serves breakfast to the groom's parents, who then also serve breakfast to their new daughter in law.
Death: The relatives cry out aloud to inform the neighbors and their friends. The family starts mourning and puts on clothes made of a coarse material similar to the coverings that modern day North Americans would put on their bushes to cover them in the winter. The corpse is washed and placed in a coffin. Mourners bring incense and money to basically pay for the cost of the funeral. Food and significant objects of the deceased are placed into the coffin and then they are buried.
A Buddhist or Taoist priest (or even a Christian minister) performs the burial ritual. Friends and family follow the coffin to the cemetery, along with a willow branch which symbolizes the soul of the person who has died. The willow branches are then carried back to the family altar where it is used to "install" the spirit of the deceased.

Rituals are performed on the 7th, 9th or 49th day after the burial and on the first and third anniversaries of the death.

Creeds
Confucians don’t necessarily have any creeds they just live by the teaching of their scared books.
Teachings
Confucius taught that when societies operate under laws, people are punished by authorities after having committed illegal actions. People generally obey the laws, often without necessarily understanding the justification behind them. He promoted a different way: to internalize behaviors so that actions are controlled beforehand so everyone comes out better. People then behave properly because they wish to avoid feeling shame and want to avoid losing their place in society. In theory, the result is a reduction in the number of forced laws required for smooth running of the society.
Confucian ethical and moral teachings include the following values:
Li: includes ritual, propriety, and etiquette, the way to act in public and in contemporary society.
Hsiao: love within the family: love of parents for their children and of children for their parents and respect between the individuals that make up the family.
Yi: righteousness
Xin: honesty and trustworthiness
Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others it is the highest Confucian virtue
Chung: loyalty to the state, loyalty to your country so on and so forth...

Sacred Literature
BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 15 July 2013. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/taoism/>.
"China Confucianism: Life of Confucius, Influences, Development." TravelChinaGuide. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 July 2013. <http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/religion/confucianism/>.
"Confucianism." Confucianism Info. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 July 2013. <http://confucianism.freehostingguru.com/>.
These were assembled, but not exactly written by Chu Hsi (1130-1200 CE) during the Sung dynasty. They comprise of:
The Si Shu or Four Books: The Lun Yu the Analects of Confucius.
The Chung Yung or the Doctrine of the Mean .
The Ta Hsueh or the Great Learning .
The Meng Tzu the writings of Meng Tzu (371-289 BCE) a philosopher who, like Confucius, traveled from state to state conversing with the government rulers.
The Wu Jing or Five Classics: Shu Ching or Classic of History: writings and speeches from ancient Chinese rulers .
The Shih Ching or Classic of Odes: 300 poems and songs .
The I Ching or Classic of Changes: the description of a divinatory system involving 64 hexagrams. The hexagrams are symbols composed of broken and unbroken lines; one is selected to foretell the future based on the casting of 49 sticks.
The Ch'un Ch'iu or Spring and Autumn Annals: a small history of the state of Lu from 722 to 484 BCE.
The Li Ching or Classic of Rites: a group of three books on the LI the rites of decency .

Social Experiences
Confucianism is centered and based on relationships. Many duties arise when someone’s situation I relation to others changes. As a young Confucians grow their relationships change as they grow. In Confucians society has a common theme of mutuality and it can also be seen throughout Asia in different cultures even in contemporary society. Harmony in society is one of the great goals of Confucianism, and Confucians knowing their place in society and following their duties and playing their parts well help the society run smoothly. Confucius replied to a king who asked him how to keep government in control and said, “There is government, when the prince is prince, and the minister is minister; when the father is father, and the son is son. (Analects XII, 11, trans. Legge)”. Respect is one of the greatest virtues in Confucianism and must be show between each Confucian to another, living or dead. Through this relationship this “Filial Piety” was extended into five relationships:
Ruler to Subject.
Father to Son.
Husband to Wife.
Elder Brother to Younger Brother.
Friend to Friend.
High Reverence was held to elders as they were ancestors of the present generation, but the relationship that did not stress respect was the friend to friend relationship. These relationships did and still do hold quite a large place in Confucians thinking.

Religious Traditions
Culture
Symbols
Practices
Confucians don’t exactly have practices but they do have rituals.
Exclusive among the great religions of the world, Confucianism has no standard universally recognized symbol similar to our Christian cross. But they do have 3 symbols that are somewhat well known.
This is a graphic symbol for water that is often used to represent Confucianism. It represents the source of life in Chinese philosophy.
The yin-yang symbol of Taoism is also sometimes used as an ideogram for Confucianism. It symbolizes balance in nature between opposing forces. The black symbolizes the bad and the white symbolizes the good. The dots in the opposite color represent the good in the bad and the bad in the good. Balance is extremely important to Confucianism, so the adoption of this symbol is rational.
This last symbol is often used in wedding ceremonies and wedding parties within the Chinese culture. It is also sometimes used to represent Confucianism. It means total harmony, righteousness, in your own life and in your relationships with others, which are the basic principles of Confucianism.


Confucians culture is very a very respecting and fair culture. This is illustrated through their philosophies that they live by. The main principle of Confucianism is ren ("humaneness" or "benevolence"), signifying excellent character in accord with li (ritual norms), zhong (loyalty to one's true nature), shu (reciprocity), and xiao (filial piety). Together these constitute de (virtue). Confucianism is characterized by a highly positive and optimistic view of human nature. The faith in the possibility of ordinary human beings to become remarkable mentors and worthies is deeply rooted in the Confucian heritage (Confucius himself lived a rather ordinary life), and the insistence that human beings are teachable, improvable, and perfectible through personal and communal endeavor is typically Confucian. Most Confucians are peaceful people who strive to make the word a better place through their actions and by promoting love, respect and peace.
Confucians do not really have any specific religious traditions such as going to church or certain religious holidays.
History
Practices
Creeds
Teachings
Sacred Literature
Social Experiences
Religious Traditions
Culture
Symbols
Rituals
History
Practices
Creeds
Teachings
Sacred Literature
Social Experiences
Religious Traditions
Culture
Symbols
Rituals
"Confucianism." - ReligionFacts. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2013. <http://www.religionfacts.com/a-z-religion-index/confucianism.htm>.
"Confucianism: A World Religion Foundedby K'ung Fu Tzu (a.k.a. Confucius)." CONFUCIANISM. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2013. <http://www.religioustolerance.org/confuciu.htm>.
BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 17 July 2013. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/taoism/>.
"Sikhism Religion of the Sikh People." Sikhism Religion of the Sikh People. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2013. <http://www.sikhs.org/summary.htm>.
BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 18 July 2013. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/sikhism/>.
Taoism is a different religion than the traditional religions. It has no founder and no certain founding date. This religion was drawn out of many different religious and philosophical views and traditions. A man by the name of Zhang Daoling became the founder of the first organized Taoist school of though and philosophy. The early religious Taoism was entrenched in the thoughts and ideas of Taoist thinkers, and added to this were the local religious views, practices and beliefs. This integrated Taoist thinking into the modern religious views of Chinese society on all social levels. Taoism was recognized as a religious method during the fourth and third century B.C. The official publication of their religious book the Tao Te Ching helped provide focus and direction for Taoist members. This religion became a semi-official religion in China during the Tang and Song dynasties. Eventually Confucianism gained more members and became every popular, Taoism fell to only a popular religious tradition no longer recognized as an official religion in china. Unfortunately during the communist takeover in China, Taoism was banned and the result was the fall of its members by 99% in 10 years. At this time it started to flourish in Taiwan, and then after the end of the Cultural Revolution in china, small religious freedom was allowed. This revived Taoism in china and presently practiced Taoism can be seen throughout China.
Taoism has 2 most important books. The key one being the Tao Te Ching, and was compiled around the third century B.C. The name of this book means “The Way and Its Power”. This book has 81 short chapters as the book only contains 5000 Chinese characters. The chapters have small perplexing paragraphs that gives advice on many aspects of life, and certain poetic ways to describe the Universe and nature. To many Taoist followers, it is their essential guide to living amoral, spiritual and ethical life. The authors of this book are many, as it was not written by one person as it is a compilations of writings.
The second important book is the Chuang-Tzu. This books compilation took longer to compile than the Tao Te Ching, and even though it was published after, the compilation began earlier. This book includes early writings including writings on chi and some of the ideas in this book are different than the ideas of later Taoist philosophy.
Taoism has a few rituals, one of them being the ritual of bringing harmony and order to the layers of the cosmos, the cosmos being the world around an individual. Some ways to do this are purification, meditation and offerings to deities. These rituals are quite often complex, confusing and technical so they are left to the Taoist priests. The rituals involve chanting, playing instruments, and also dancing. There is a ritual which is the rite of cosmic renewal. Offerings are made by families, and the priest dedicates the offerings in the name of the families and performs a ritual to restore order to the universe and asking the gods to bring peace and prosperity to the village. Temple rituals are also used to regulate chi and balance yin and yang for individuals and wider communities. There are other temple rituals that involve praying, meditation, and reciting or chanting prayers and texts.

The Taoist practice of alchemy is not referring to the medieval chemical science, but the Taoist physical practices designed to convert a person mentally and physically to bring them closer to a state of harmony and closer to Tao. Taoists also practice external alchemy which involves eating a diet of healthy super foods and taking minerals and herbs to prolong their life, and to lengthen the time that they are going to spend on earth. This also follows the Taoist ritual of keeping your body pure, avoiding things like lust, greed, pride and dishonesty which pollute the purity of a Taoist. Diet is an important piece of being a Taoist, as classical Taoists teaching recommends refraining from consuming alcohol, beans, meat and grains.
To Taoists physical practices are considered spiritual as well. Their physical activities, such as yoga and martial arts are considered to be spiritual acts, enhancing not only body but mind and spirit as well. Meditation is a practice that is performed by many Taoists to create mental stillness and enhance concentration and self-awareness. Breathing exercises are quite often performed by Taoists as breathing exercises are perceived as Chi.

Taoists don’t exactly have creeds, but they do recite passages from their holy books. This religious tradition has been a spiritual practice of Taoists for 2000 years; strangely enough Taoists have no defined or set creeds. But the passages they do recite are the ones that pertain most to their current lives at the time recitation.
In today’s contemporary society there are many differing views on Taoism. Some people say it’s a religion, some say it’s not. Some say Taoism is a corruption of a Taoist philosophy. Others say Taoism is a way of life. The social experiences of a Taoist cannot be applied to every Taoists life, as it differs from person to person. Taoist’s are instructed to be kind to others, as the action is reciprocated. This is similar to Jesus’s message, so if the Taoists abide by this, they must be peaceful caring people. Another important experience that may differ from other religions’ is the equality between woman and men. Weirdly enough the Taoist books say that a male should become more feminine and a female should become more masculine, to experience their life from both sides of the gender barrier. Sexual energy is important as it seen as life enhancing. Sexual energy is supposed to be conserved and prolonged by both genders to heighten their pleasure and to control their sexual practices.
"Concepts, Beliefs, Practices, Symbol, Names, Tai Chi, Courses, & Objects." TAOISM. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 July 2013. <http://www.religioustolerance.org/taoism2.htm>.
Teachings in Taoism are not as many as say the teaching in Catholicism. Their first and most important teaching is that Tao is what created the Universe, and it is a force flows through everything. Taoism also instructs to listen and allow Tao to cause them to find enlighten. The priests believe and teach that there is only one Tao and their many gods are just aspects of Dao, this is similar to the belief of Hindus. They also believe and teach that time is cyclical contrast to western thinking. Respecting nature and one’s own body is central to Taoist teaching as they believe the air ability to breath has been given to them by Dao. The Taoists also teach that the three jewels to be sought after are compassion, moderation and humility. They also believe that nature should never be interrupted for one’s own needs.
In a sense the Taoists are somewhat superstitious. A religious tradition that some Taoists practice are keeping Talismans because they are thought to bring good luck, and to ward off or remove evil spirits. They are strips of paper on which words of powerful religious significance are written, or drawn to purify, heal the sick, and drive away powerfully evil demons. Another very prevalent religious tradition practiced by Taoists is Recitation. They recite passages from the Tao Te Ching, believing that reciting passages makes the reciter a better person. The words are considered to be very powerful and thought to induce miracles such as curing incurable diseases, bring good luck etc.
The most widely and easily recognized Taoist symbol is the symbol of Yin Yang. It supposedly represents the balances of opposites in the Universe. They have to be balanced, and if not there is disorder and dismay. It was derived from astronomical studying and the observations of the sun through a full year. Some say that the Yin is feminine and the Yang is masculine, so opposites, but each are can be found in one another. There are many different views of what Yin and Yang represent but the only similarity between all the different views is that they are opposites, and that either can be found in each other. Taoists believe that they should keep the balance and not to disrupt the natural occurrence of Yin and Yang. They believe that intervention I nature by other people is frequently disrupting the balance.
"Library." Taoism Ethics, Morality, Community, Taoism Vision for Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 July 2013. <http://www.patheos.com/Library/Taoism/Ethics-Morality-Community/Vision-for-Society.html>.
The Taoist culture has a vision of a Utopian and ordered harmonious society. They believe that they can achieve this this through maintaining positive and friendly relationships with themselves, family, friends, neighbors and strangers. The Taoist culture is also centered on following nature rather than trying to control and destroy it. This is why the Yin and Yang symbol is at the heart of Taoism, because trying to keep balance in nature, relationships and the home is so important. Their cultural views seem to be hard to explore and maintain in China. Taoist groups have pleaded with the United Nations to help them with making china have better laws on pollution and waste in China, which was successful. Taoism is a peaceful, caring and free religion that is accepting and different for every Taoist.
"Library." Sikhism Origins, Sikhism History, Sikhism Beliefs. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 July 2013. <http://www.patheos.com/Library/Sikhism.html>.
Sikhism was founded in the year 1450 C.E. making this religion surprisingly young. It was founded in India by a man named Guru Nanak, in the Punjab region. Nanak preached and lived a life of love and understanding, criticizing the so called “blind” rituals of the Muslims and Hindus. Once he had set a basis for his enlightened religion, he passed it on to his nice successive Gurus. The last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh established the order of “the pure” soldier saints. This is called the Khalsa and it upholds the highest virtues of commitment, dedication and a social conscious. The people that are in the Khalsa are men and women who have been baptized as a Sikh and who firmly follow the Sikh code of conduct, and who wear the items of clothing that are prescribed by their faith. Sikhism does not have priests, as they were abolished by Guru Gobind Singh. He felt that they had too much ego and were corrupt.
Sikhs have one most basic yet important creed. It is called the Mul Mantra and it is gives the idea of what reality really is in a few symbolic Punjabi words. Punjabi being the primary language that Sikhs speak. The creed goes like this, “Ekonkar Satnam, Karta Purkh, Nirbhav, Nirvair, Akal Murat, Ajoni, Suabhav, Gur Parsad.” Guru Nanak praises God and mention some of his greatest characteristics and attributes. The first word Ekonkar means “The only one absolute God who is forever unfolding”. God to Sikhs is indescribable and unfathomable. Satnam means that God is true, real and that is not an illusion or a myth. It also means that God is never the same, as he is always changing, evolving, growing and is never the same. The third word Karta Purkh means that God is the one and only creator of the universe, and everything and anything that inhabits it. Nirbhav means that God is fearless and is not afraid of anyone, as he is the Lord of all the Universe. The fifth word means that God’s love and protection covers all beings. Akal Murat means that God is timeless and can never die. The 7th word Ajoni means that god is not born and has never been born and will never be birthed in any form. Suabhav means that God is unique and exists by himself without the help of anything or anyone else. The last word Gur Prasad means that through the Guru Sikhs can learn about God and experience God.
Sikhism has many important teaching but these are just few of the key ones to a Sikhs life. Gurus teach that there is only one god and that this god is the same God for every race and religion. They also teach that a soul is born, dies, and is reborn many times before it reaches or enters the human form. This soul at human death is supposed to merge to be one with God. They teach that in order to go to heaven, Sikhs must live a life as a householder, earn n and honest and good living, and avoid sins and temptations as well as any other evil. Sikhs are taught to not to follow certain blind rituals (such as the rituals of Hindus and Muslims) which are illustrated as fasting, pilgrimages, worshiping the dead, superstitions and idols, similar to the Catholic faith. They also preach and embrace that all people regardless of race, religion, sex, are all equal to God. Therefore they should embrace this as their Gurus teach to embrace Gods idea of equality. In Sikhism women and men are fully equal and may both participate and lead religious celebrations.
The Sacred Literature for Sikhs is their holy book called the Guru Granth Sahib. This book was made so that there would be no more living Gurus. The Sikhs then turn to this book for guidance so essentially the holy book is their teacher or Guru. Their holy book is a collection made up of writings and teachings by Guru Nanak. This book is also made up of writing and teachings by other Gurus that are Sikh, Muslim and Hindu. This holy book is written in Punjabi and is revered as the living word of God. The Guru Granth Sahib is usually kept on a raised platform under a canopy in a place of worship. As the holy book is the living word of God all Sikhs take off their shoes in the presence of these Holy Scriptures, and never turn their back to them as it is considered disrespectful to God. At every single Sikh festival ten holy book is read continuously from begging to end, taking about 2 fully days, and 2 full nights.
Sikhs have somewhat different social experiences than ourselves. The live to avoid their five vices that make people narcissistic and self-centered. These vices are said to build barriers against God in their personal lives. The five vices are: Lust, Covetousness and greed, Attachment to material possessions, Anger and Pride. If a person can avoid these vices they are on their way to being saved and accepted into heaven. Sikhs do not believe in abortion, sex before marriage, contraception, euthanasia, suicide, and war. Sikhs do believe in organ donation as it helps others and bring God’s goodness to another.
Sikh culture is mostly focused on their relationship with God. They do this through being an active member in the Sikh community. Action and belief is at the center of Sikh culture as they believe that to live a good life, and to be a good person, they must do good deeds and meditate to God. They believe that God did not intend them to only focus their life on religion. Sikhism teaches that Sikhs must use their ordinary life to get closer to God. The believe that God wants them to serve others by devoting their lives to service to eliminate ego and pride, pride being one of the five vices that avoid. The Sikh culture is very connected and caring, which is why they take care of their elders, the poor, the sick and carry out chores at their Gurdwara as their community service.
Sikhism has three primary symbols. Their most important symbols is similar to the cross of Christians, the star of David to the Jews. The symbol of the Sikhs is called the Khanda. This symbol is said to reflect the fundamental concepts of Sikhism. The name of this symbol is derived from the double-edged sword which is also called a Khanda which is placed at the center of the symbol. This sword is a metaphor of divine knowledge, the sharp eyes slicing truth from falsehood. Chakar is the circle around the Khanda. Because it has no beginning or end it symbolizes God who is eternal. The curved swords that surround the Chakar are called Kirpans. The fact that there are two symbolizes the concepts of Meeri and Peeri. One is temporal authority and the other is spiritual. They emphasize that a Sikh must pray to god and lead a lfe in the community helping others.
The name of the flag that is seen flying outside of every Sikh Gurdwara is Nishan Sahib. This flag is usually a crimson yellow color, with a red symbol of the Khanda. The flag is usually made out of ochre or saffron, or colored cloth.
The symbol for Sikhs that says “There is Only One God”. These words are the cornerstone of Sikhism so it is only rational that there would be a symbol for this. This describes God in one sentence and is finite.
Sikhs have the ritual of worshiping God which almost every Religion has. They have some guidelines to follow when they worship. Sikhs can worship in public or private. In private they can pray at anytime and anywhere. Thy have daily rituals that include getting up early, bathing and then starting their day by meditating to God. The Sikh code of conduct has a stern discipline for the start of the day, which is the most important time of day to Sikhs. They must get up three hours before dawn, take a bath not shower, and then concentrate on his/her thoughts on one immortal being repeating the name Waheguru. There are also set prayers that Sikhs have to recite at certain times of the day. They must pray and spend time with God in a sense. For public worship they believe that God is present, and this worship must take place in the Gurdwara. These are some of the most important rituals even though they do have more.


"Diversiton - Sikhism - Ceremonies, Celebrations and Festivals." Diversiton - Sikhism - Ceremonies, Celebrations and Festivals. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 July 2013. <http://www.diversiton.com/religion/main/sikhism/ceremonies-celebrations-festivals.asp>.
Sikhism has many Religious traditions that deal with almost every aspect of life. Naam Karan is the naming of a child. The tradition happens at the Gurdwara with the babies’ family present. Hymns are sung and the reader of the scriptures randomly open their holy book to any page and reads a hymn from that page. The first letter of the first word of the hymn is taken and must be the first letter of the child’s name. The Amrit Sanskar is the Sikh initiation into the Sikh conduct for life, which involves holy water and sugar being stirred with a Khanda and then drunk by and sprinkled on the people being initiated. The ceremony of bliss is called Anand Karaj. This is the most important tradition as it the Sikh marriage. It is commenced according to Sikh rites. Child marriage is forbidden in Sikh religion. For a funeral a full reading of the Guru Granth Sahib is instigated. It is considered as a journey to spiritual liberation. Sikhs do not believe in heaven or hell as a final destination for the soul. At every ceremony the Guru Granth Sahib is read front to back, which makes each ceremony even longer. Sikhism has a few Religious “holidays” such as Gurpurbs (death of every Guru), Baisakhi (Celebration of the founding of Sikhism), Bandi Chhor (release of a Guru from false imprisonment), Hola Mohalla (Keeping martial arts and spirit alive), and Maghi (marks the martyrdom of forty Sikhs). They even have their own Religious calendar named the Nanakshahi calendar. It is a solar calendar, and started one year after Guru Nanak’s birth, uses mechanics of the western calendars, and is as long as the western calendar, has five months of thirty-one days followed by seven months of 30 days. This calendar has a leap year every four years and in which the last month has an extra day.
Sikhs practice the five k’s almost every day. It was developed to identify members of the Khalsa, build community togetherness, and each k is significant. The five K’s taken together symbolize a Sikh who has dedicated themselves to a life of devotion and submission to God and the Guru. The five K’s are as follows
•Kesh (uncut hair)
This is seen as a symbol for holiness and strength. It is uncut because hair is God’s gift and is meant to grow. It symbolizes a simple life and denial of pride in ones appearances. Sikh women are forbidden to cut any body hair, but this does vary from person to person. Sikh men are not supposed to trim their beard hairs either.
•Kara (a steel bracelet)
This is seen as a symbol of gentility and restraint. It also symbolizes God being an eternal being (no beginning or end). It reminds Sikhs not to do anything that is not approved by the Guru. It is also seen as a link of being a part of community.
•Kanga (a wooden comb)
It keeps hair neat and tidy and symbolizes a clean mind and body. It also symbolizes the importance of not loving ones self, and not to be worried about image.
•Kaccha (cotton underwear)
It is a symbol of chastity.

•Kirpan (steel sword)
The Kirpan can symbolize: spirituality, the soldier part of the Soldier-Saints, defense of good, defense of the weak, the struggle against injustice, a metaphor for God. It is worn under clothing, in no particular fashion.

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