All About Sikhism Ceremonies and Celebrations

All About Important Sikhism Holiday Occasions and Life Events

The Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism's holy scripture, is a central feature to all important ceremonies and celebrations. No important Sikhism holiday occasion or life event is complete without kirtan, the singing of divine hymns, and a worship ceremony in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. The five beloved Panj Pyare have an important role in the initiation ceremony and many holiday celebrations.

Lavan - Wedding Rounds
Lavan - Wedding Rounds. Photo © [Nirmaljot Singh]

Throughout life a Sikh is supported by the ideals of ethics, and the structure of moral conduct. Each stage of life involves ceremonies centered in worship and remembrance of the divine, encouraging reliance on spiritual values to sustain the process of living.

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Sikhism Guru Gadee Inauguration Celebration Parade
Guru Gadee Inauguration Celebration Parade. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Sikh holidays are commemorative occasions celebrated with worship and festivities.The Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism';s holy scripture, is paraded through streets on a palanquin or float in a musical procession with devotional singing known as nagar kirtan. The panj pyare, or five beloved ones, march ahead of worshipers.

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Reading Guru Granth Sahib
Reading Guru Granth Sahib. Photo © [Ravitej Singh Khalsa / Eugene, Oregon / USA]

The Guru Granth is the eternal Guru of the Sikhs and may never be replaced by a human being. The scripture is formally referred to as "Siri Guru Granth Sahib", meaning respected scripture of the Supreme Enlightener. No worship service, event, ceremony, celebration, festivity, or other Sikhism function, is complete without the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, and reading a hukam, or verse, selected at random from the scripture.

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Singing Kirtan
Singing Kirtan. Photo © [Khalsa Panth]

Kirtan is considered by Sikhs to be the highest form of adoration and praise. Shabads or hymns are at the heart of the Sikh worship service, ceremonies and celebrations. Festivites may include nagar kirtan, or kirtan parade.

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All About the Five Beloved Panj Pyare

Panj Pyara on Parade
Panj Pyara on Parade. Photo © [S Khalsa]

When Sikhs congregate to celebrate commemorative occasions and ceremonies, groups of five men or women dressed identically in saffron or indigo representing the Panj Pyare of Sikh history may carry swords or Sikh flags. The five beloved Panj Pyara administer the Sikhism baptism and Amrit initiation ceremony.