Thursday

Sikh New Year's Festival


Today is the Sikh New Year's festival.  Although they live in India (mainly in the Punjab state), the Sikhs are not Hindu.  Their monotheistic religion, which was founded by Guru Nanak (1469 -1539), rejects the caste system, asceticism, the priesthood, and bathing in sacred rivers.  Women and men are said to be equal, and Sikh men are recognized by the five outward signs of their religion -- uncut hair, steel comb, iron bracelet, short sword, and short trousers.  The major temple of the Sikhs is the Golden Temple at Amritsar, which is surrounded by a scared lake lined with marble steps.  A white marble bridge leads to the temple, which is covered with golden sheets upon which are written words form their holy book, the original book is enshrined inside the temple and taken out on feast days.  To celebrate Vaisakhi, people travel to Amritsar and listen to teachings of the gurus.


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