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Rituals and Worship



Sacred Time

Sikhs do not believe that Kartar, the divine, divided time into sacred and secular portions. Through the calendar year, Sikhs memorialize the life-events of the Gurus, read special verses on the first of each lunar month, and celebrate the founding of the Khalsa.

Sacred Space

For the early community, wherever the Guru settled was considered holy. Today Sikhs see the city of Amritsar in northwestern India, founded by the fourth Guru, as their communal center. Places associated with the Gurus' lives are remembered in sacred memory.

Rites and Ceremonies

Communal worship, singing, and sharing of meals (langar) are most important, and all life-event rituals revolve around the holy word. For example, the Sikh marriage ceremony (Anand Karaj) entails circumambulating the scripture while verses from the Gurus on spiritual marriage to the divine are read.

Worship and Devotion in Daily Life

Sikhs strive to achieve divine consciousness in all aspects of their daily lives. This search is rooted in set daily prayers (early morning, sunset, and before sleep) and contemplation of the divine name (simran). Sikhs also congregate to sing the Guru's hymns (kirtan) and hear discourses (katha) on the Gurus' teachings.

Symbolism

The most important Sikh symbol comes from the first letters in the Guru Granth Sahib, "Ik onkar," symbolizing the unity and infinity of the divine. A second image, called "nishan" symbolizes the triumph of justice (deg teg fateh).

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