Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world
With nearly 21 million followers worldwide, Sikhism counts itself as one of the major world religions. About 500,000 Sikhs live in the United States, and another 500,000 Sikhs live in Canada.
Sikhs believe in one God
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion, based on a revelation to Guru Nanak, the first of 10 Sikh gurus, over 500 years ago. The Sikh gurus taught that there are many different ways of achieving a connection with God, and Sikhism is only one of these ways. The Sikh scripture is the only major religious text that includes writings by teachers of various other faiths.
Sikhs never cut their hair
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru, gave the Sikh nation 5 distinct articles of faith. Together, these make up the daily uniform of Sikhs, intended to bind them to Sikh beliefs and remind them of their commitment to God. The 5 articles of faith are Kes (uncut hair), Kangha (comb), Kara (steel bracelet), Kirpan (sword), and kaccha (soldier’s shorts).
Sikh children have a formal “coming of age” ceremony
In the Sikh faith, there is a ceremony called a “Dastaar Bandi.” The ceremony is meant to mark a person’s commitment to tying a turban every day after this day. Before the ceremony, kids generally begin by experimenting with their turbans, learning how to hold the weight on their heads, get comfortable with it, and then slowly begin tying it everyday.
Not all Sikhs are Indian
Many Sikhs have ancestors from the South Asian state of Punjab, but now live around the world and hold various nationalities. In addition, though Sikhism forbids proselytization or forced conversions, as the religion has traveled around the world, many people have become interested in learning about Sikhs and have joined our ranks. There are Chinese Sikhs, African Sikhs, Irish Sikhs, etc.
Sikh isn’t pronounced “SEEk”
The correct pronunciation is “siKH” (sounds like sick) and not “SEEk.”
Sikhs first came to the United States more than 100 years ago
Sikhs began immigrating to the United States in the 1900s, mostly as farmers and laborers. In the 1960s, with the newly raised immigration quotas, Sikhs flooded into the country as trained professionals. There was another wave of Sikh immigrants in 1984, when anti-Sikh pogroms and government policies rocked the Indian part of Punjab and caused many Sikhs to flee to the United States for safe haven.