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The Sikh Naming Ceremony: Naam Karan

Length - 06:32
Published - Jan 2014
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

The Sikh Naming Ceremony: Naam Karan – Do you know what your name means, or how your parents chose it? Sikh names usually have special meanings, and they are chosen with the help of the Guru Granth Sahib – the Sikh holy book. Ajmeet goes to a gurdwara to find out exactly what happens at a Naam Karan – the Sikh naming ceremony.

TrueTube films are designed for use in a number of ways. Some ideas of where this film could link to your curriculum are below:


Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices - Sikhism- Sikh Birth and Naming Ceremonies. - This covers the meaning of a Sikh birth and naming ceremony

Area of Study 1 - Sikhism - Section 3: Living the Sikh Life - Birth and naming rituals and ceremonies: the celebration and significance of Naam Karan and Hukamnama; the significance of Amrit sanskar (the initiation ceremony) for Sikh families, including reference to the Rahit Maryada Chapters 11 and 13; divergent understandings of these ceremonies between khalsa and non-khalsa Sikhs; the significance of the names Singh and Kaur in the naming and Amrit ceremonies, and for Sikh identity today.

No link to GCSE spec


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 


Component 3 (Route A) - Option 5: Sikhism - Beliefs and teachings -Practices: The meaning and significance of birth and naming ceremonies ➢ The significance of Amrit Sanskar: (the initiation ceremony): Bhai Gurdas Var 3.11. The significance and use of the names Singh and Kaur

The Sikh Naming Ceremony: Naam Karan

Harinder   My name's Harinder. Har means God. I understand my name in full means he or she of all strengths.

Harchand My name is Harchand Singh Greval. Har is name of God, uh, Chand is a means moon and Singh is lion.

Harinder   This is my niece, Manpreet Kaur. Her name means the love of our hearts and minds.

Aman       My name is Aman Chopra and my name is meaning is, uh, you know the peace. It's a peaceful environment, we can say that.

Harinder   This is my daughter Pia Kaur, and her name means beloved.

Ravinder   My name is Ravinder. Ravinder, Rav means son. And inder means God, so it the son of God.

Ajmeet     My name is Ajmeet Singh. Ajmeet means today's friend and Singh means lion. It lets everyone know that I'm a Sikh. When I was just five days old, my parents brought me to the Gurdwara, the temple, and I was named in a special ceremony called Naam Karan, which means name making. Obviously I can't remember it, so I've come to the Gurudwara to find out exactly what happens.

Ajmeet     Babies are brought here because it's the centre of the Sikh community, and because this is where the Guru Granth Sahib, our holy book, is kept. It plays a very important part in the naming ceremony. My friend Harjinder Singh explains.

Harjinder  Whenever you enter the diwan hall, as we call it, or the prayer hall, if you want to say it in English, you always see a throne like contraption at the end of it. It is a throne, and on that throne sits the holy book. When it's not in use, when it's not being read, it is covered by by wonderful kapre, by wonderful cloth. We sit on the floor. The guru sits a bit higher.

Ajmeet     Can you tell me a bit about the history and the importance of Guru Granth Sahib Ji?

Harjinder  The Guru Granth is the most important item in Sikh teachings. The guru, the teacher, granth, book, is our Pope, our bishop, our, even our king. So whether you are dealing with a name giving ceremony, as we're discussing today, or it is about a death or a or a marriage or what have you, the central point in the ceremony is always going to be the guru grant. The granthee, the man who looks after the grant, the book. In other words, he puts the Guru Granth Sahib on its side and opens it at random, and then the hymn that you find on the top left hand side of the page is the hymn that leads that that ceremony or that day.

Ajmeet     This is Pritpal Singh, Gurmeet Kaur and their baby daughter Garnaev Kaur. Garnaev had her naam karan here just a few weeks ago. There is no set time for the naming ceremony to take place, but it usually happens as soon as possible after the birth. So what did you do on the day of your daughter's naming ceremony?

Pritpal      In a Sikh household, when a baby is born, when the both the mother and the child, they are healthy enough, they are good enough to go to the local gurdwara, we just go there and to have the naming ceremony done.

Ajmeet     The whole family went to the gurdwara to introduce the new baby to the community and to present her to the Guru Granth Sahib.

Ajmeet     We all bow to the book to show our respect, and it's never too early to learn.

Pritpal      We offered a Ramallah, a piece of cloth, to Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy scriptures.

Ajmeet     The family usually gives a gift. It might be food for everyone at the Gurudwara to share, or a donation of money. Pritpal's family gave a Ramallah that's a cloth which is used to wrap up the Guru Granth Sahib to protect it when it isn't being read. The Granthi opens the Guru Granth Sahib at random, and the first letter of the first word on the page will be the first letter of the baby's name.

Pritpal      We were blessed with at this time Gur poorai kirapaa dhhaaree, so the letter was G, at the end we decided Ganeev which means a priceless worth. The first letter is Ganeev and the full name is Geneev Kaur.

Ajmeet     Sikhs are also given the names Singh and Kaur.

Gurmeet  Sikhism believes in equality. Our 10th guru gave a boy's name Singh, which means lion and the girl's name Kaur, which means princess.

Pritpal      That'll be very important because then the people will not get discriminated because their background or their, uh, class status by the surname. At the end, uh, of the ceremony we had, we were blessed with the Karah Parshad, which is a holy, uh, food. Um, and, uh, it's like a small pudding, very sweet, but delicious.

Ajmeet     The sweet taste is a reminder of God's blessings. Everyone is given a piece of karah parshad from the same bowl to show that we are all equal and all part of the same community, which we call the Sangat. And that's the Naam karan. Sikh names are special because they're chosen with the help of the Guru Granth Sahib, and our names show that we are all part of the Sikh community, just like little Geneev Kaur.

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