Retrieve your login details

Enter your email address below and we'll send you an email with a link reset your password



You need to have an account and be logged in to be able to add and manage your list of favourites. or create an account

You haven’t viewed any of our resources yet. To start exploring them now please see our full listing here

Sikhism: The Five Ks

Length - 03:08
Published - Apr 2023
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

Sikhism: The Five Ks

A young Sikh explains the importance and meaning of the five symbols that Sikhs wear – the Five Ks.

Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices - Sikhism- The Sikh initiation ceremony (Amrit Sanskar) -This includes the meaning and importance of the Khalsa and the five Ks, and the different perspectives of sahajdhari and amritdhari Sikhs.

2.1 Unit 1 PART A - Sikhism - Core beliefs, teachings and practices - Practices - Ceremonies  Naming a Sikh child – meaning and significance  The significance and use of the names Singh and Kaur  Sikh initiation ceremony (Amrit Sanskar) – importance and significance in a Sikh’s life and consideration given to the perspective of non-khalsa Sikhs  Meaning of the main features of the initiation ceremony  Wearing of the 5k’s and their symbolism and significance – kesh, kangha, kirpan, kara, kacch.

Component 3 (Route A) -Option 5: Sikhism - Practices: Ceremonies - The different views of khalsa and non-khalsa (sahaj-dhari) Sikhs towards Khalsa and the Five K's

Holy Cribs: The Five Ks

Arvinda: People who want to show their commitment to Sikhi go through a special ceremony called the Amrit Sanskar to become a member of the Khalsa, which means brotherhood. They also wear five symbols which are called the 5 Ks, because they all begin with K in Punjabi, the language the Sikh Gurus would have spoken. This tradition was started by Guru Gobind Singh ji, who wanted his people to stand up for what they believed. To declare to the world that they were Sikh and proud of it. The first K is called Kesh, which means uncut hair. This symbolises that Sikhs should respect God's perfect creation and never harm it. Men keep their hair tied up neatly in a turban and will let their beard grow. Some women choose to wear a turban as well, although they don't have to. Guru Gobind Singh ji wanted the Sikhs to have respect for each other and respect for themselves. So he told them to carry a Kangha, a comb as a reminder that they should keep themselves clean and tidy at all times. The Kara is a steel bangle that Sikhs wear on their right wrist if they're right handed and on their left wrist if they are left handed. They still remind Sikhs that they should be strong and the circular shape reminds them that there is one eternal God. The Kara is also a reminder to Sikhs that they should not do anything wrong. So if their hand stretches out to steal something or hit someone, the Kara is there to make them think again. The Kachera are, and there is no easy way to put this, underwear.

Back when Guru Gobind Singh ji was alive, not everyone bothered to wear underwear. They might wear a loose wrap or even a long shirt. But the Guru said the Sikhs should cover themselves decently by wearing shorts with a drawstring waist. It is another symbol of self respect and respect for other people. The Kirpan is probably the most misunderstood of the 5 Ks. Originally, it was a long, sharp, single edged sword that Sikhs would carry so they could defend themselves and others from persecution. These days, Sikhs usually carry a very small, short and blunt Kirpan that would be of little use as a weapon. But the symbolism is the same. Sikhs should be ready at all times to stand up for what they believe is right and stand up for the defenseless. This doesn't mean literally fighting, although it might. It's more about standing up for what is right and speaking out against what is wrong. Guru Gobind Singh ji knew that it is important for Sikhs to have freedom to express themselves, to be proud of who they are and what they believe.

Download associated files