Sikhism is a monotheistic religion originated in northern India with around 27 million followers around the world, most of whom live in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. It was founded by the Guru Nanak, also known as the First Guru in the 16th century.
Born to a humble Hindu family in a village known today as "Nankana Sahib", near Lahore in the Punjab province of Pakistan. In that region at the crossroads of Hindu and Islamic religion, Nanak lived in and got his education. The Sikh books mention that his childhood was full of miracles, as the story of the giant venomous snake shading the young Nanak while he slept under the sun.
The teachings of Nanak emphasized people’s access to God without an intermediary or priests. Despite what has been said that his religion is an amalgamation between Islam and Hinduism, the Sikh texts deny this firmly, insisting on the originality of the idea, and epitomize this by asserting that the teachings of Nanak do not recognize prophecy or reincarnation. Moreover, Nanak himself did not claim to be a messenger of god or an embodiment of a deity, he only referred to himself as an enlightened spirit.
Following his death, Nanak had been succeeded by nine gurus, they were scholars and religious leaders who contributed to the development of the religion. Most notably amongst his heirs is Guru Arjan, who collected the teachings of the Sikhs in the book of Adi Granth, he also founded the city of Amritsar and built the golden temple of the Sikh.
Guru Granth Sahib
This book is considered the Sikhs holy book and their eternal living Guru. Assembled by the tenth Guru Gobind Singh from the old book of Adi Granth and some other writings from Gurus and other religious people including some Hindus and Muslim Sufis.
The Sikhs hold the book in great reverence, placing it only in the highest place and usually carrying it on their heads, never letting it touch ground and Sikhs will refrain from touching the book with dirty hands and must wash first. Religious Sikhs are also obliged to cover their heads and to take off their shoes when in the presence of the book considering him as a guru.
Sikhism description ranges according to sources from a monotheistic religion to a monistic belief and extends into panentheistic belief depending on the source. Sikhs believe in an invisible, shapeless, and timeless god.
Sikhism preaches that following the temporary worldly desires hinders the salvation of human beings by leading them to stray away from God. Guru Nanak teachings label “ego, anger, greed, attachment, and lust” as the "five thieves" and the fate of those vulnerable to them is to stray away from God, this fate can only be redeemed by excessive and relentless adherence to the teachings.
Festivals and religious events
Celebrated also in Hinduism but carries many connotations in Sikhism where the day that establishment faith militant "Khalsa Panth" by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699, the foundation of the group was due to the religious persecution of Sikh in the Mughal Empire and the execution of Guru Teg Bahadur after he refused to convert to Islam.
Vaisakhi is celebrated at the beginning of April, as a harvest season and the beginning of the new Punjabi year, it is a custom at the festival to throw parades led by Khalsa Panth worriers in their traditional costumes followed by musicians and singers chanting hymns.
Guru Nanak Gurpurab
This occasion celebrates the birthday of the Sikhism founder which falls in the 13 of April. Two days before the festival Sikhs retreat to their temples and start 48 hours non-stop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, and a parade with a Sikh carrying the Sikh flag followed by singers singing chants and the public chanting verses after them. The event includes various activities, including martial arts shows of the Sikh fighting a mock battle using conventional weapons.
Bandi Shor Vidas
This holiday coincides with Diwali. The importance of the festival lies in the fact that it was the anniversary of the release of the Guru Hargobind from his imprisonment imposed by the Mughal emperor after the Guru’s father, and former Guru Arjan, was executed for refusing to convert to Islam. The Sikh celebrates by lighting fireworks, lighting candles, visiting temples and spending time with the family.