Use this quick guide to help teach your kids about Sikhism. This will help them learn about how different people live and prepare them for studying the KS2 curriculum. Learn about one of the oldest religions in the world, and quiz your kids on the key ideas, and you'll be ahead of the curve for Years 3, 4, 5 and 6.
What Is Sikhism?
Sikhism began over 500 years ago in a region of India called Punjab. The religion is one of the world's oldest and developed from Hinduism, although Sikhs have their own rich tapestry of traditions that set them apart.
What Do Sikhs Worship?
Sikhs believe that there is one God, and everyone else is equal in the world. They believe that God is always guiding and protecting them, and you must be a good person and act in a way that is good in the eyes of God.
This includes working hard, treating everyone equally, being giving and generous when people have less than you, and being in service to all human beings.
The Core Sikh Beliefs Are:
There is One God.
All humans are equals (so men and women are equal).
Always remember God.
Share with the needy.
Work hard and honestly.
Who Founded Sikhism?
Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak who lived between 1469 and 1539. It was formed by nine other Sikh gurus from India that came after Guru Nanak during the 16th and 17th centuries.
The last of the Sikh gurus was named Guru Gobind Singh, and he chose not to appoint a new Guru to take his place.
Instead, he chose to appoint two equal successors: The Guru Granth Sahib (the scripture of the Sikh faith) and the Guru Khalsa Panth, who are a community of Sikhs who have undergone a special ceremony to initiate them.
Where Do Sikhs Worship?
Sikhs worship in a temple called a Gurdwara. There are Gurdwaras all over the world, and they all have the Guru Granth Sahib, four doors to make sure the public knows everyone is welcome, a community kitchen and the "Nishab Sahib" which is a yellow triangular flag with the Sikh symbol on.
When someone enters a Gurdwara temple, they must take off their shoes and cover their hair. Sometimes it is expected to wash your hands on entry too.
Usually in the UK Sikh people go to the Gurdwara on Sundays. They chant and say prayers, and listen to teachings from their holy book.
What Is The Sikh Holy Book?
The Sikh Holy Book is called the Guru Granth Sahib. The Guru Granth Sahib contains prayers, songs and hymns of the religion. It is believed that the Guru Granth Sahib is a living guru. This is why it has own place to sleep, which is high up in the temple, under a canopy.
Where Is The Holy Land?
Followers of the Sikh faith view a place called Nankana Sahib, in Pakistan to be their holy place. The Guru Nanak Dev was born there.
There is also a Golden Temple, which is in Amritsar, in Punjab, India. It is the most visited temple in the Sikh religion. The temple is completely covered in gold, which is why it's named the Golden Temple, and was built for men and women from all different walks of life to be able to worship together. Lots of Sikhs travel to visit the Golden Temple.
The Five Articles Of Faith
The five articles of faith are five physical ways to display your commitment to the faith. They all start with the letter K, so most people will refer to them as the Five K's.
Kesh: Uncut hair - Sikhs believe that hair is God's gift of power, protection and sensitivity, so do not cut their hair. This is why lots of Sikhs wear turbans, as their hair can get very long.
Kangha/Kanga: A comb made from wood, which is used to keep the hair tidy. It is kept neatly in the side of a Sikh person's hair.
Kara: A steel or iron bracelet which is a symbol of the connection to the infinite, because the circle is never-ending.
Kirpan: A small sacred sword, used to remind Sikhs to stand up for what is righteous and be ready to defend what is true. Sikhs will usually keep it hanging from a shoulder strap near to their waist.
Kaccha/Kachera: Cotton underwear, to represent self-respect, honour and chastity.
What Is The Sikh Symbol?
The symbol of the faith is called the Khanda, and is made up of:
A double-edged sword called the Khanda, which represents believing in a singular God
A circle called the Chakkar, which represents God not having a beginning or an end.
Two crossed swords called Kirpans which represent political power and spiritual authority.
What Are Sikh Holidays?
Baisakhi: The Sikh New Year's Day, celebrated in March or April.
Diwali: A festival to tell the story of Hargobind, who is the sixth Sikh guru.
Hola Mohalla: A showcase of Sikh people's skills, where they host contests in horsemanship, martial arts and athletics, held in February or March.
Guru Nanak's Birthday: Celebrating the birth of the founder of Sikhism in October or November. The tradition is for five men to carry the Guru Granth Sahib through the streets during the celebrations.
Sikh Rites of Passage
The naming of a new baby is a ceremony where the Guru Granth Sahib is opened at random, and the first letter of the hymn on that page is the letter that the child's name will start with.
The name Singh is added to all boys names, which means lion, and the name Kaur is added to girls names, which means princess.
When you are 14 to 16 years old, there is a ceremony held where young Sikhs are celebrated wearing their first turban. At 14, they can join the Khalsa, which means they must take part in the Five K's.
Questions For Kids
Who is Guru Nanak?
What are the five K's?
What makes up the Sikh symbol?
What holidays do Sikhs celebrate?
Why do Sikh people wear turbans and other head coverings?
How many Gods do Sikhs worship?
What do Sikhs believe?
Where do Sikhs worship?
Emily has lived in London for ten years, and still loves discovering new places to explore in the capital with her two little brothers. She loves all things lifestyle and fashion, she is a fashion designer and artist, as well as working with arts charities to facilitate workshops and outreach on crafts, fashion, and design for children with special needs and children with difficult home lives who might otherwise not have access, from toddlers to teenagers. Emily is also a trained life coach and loves talking and writing about general wellness, mindfulness and healthy relationships.