Sikhs at Christmas

Family at AmritsarIn India, all religions join in ‘The Big Day’ with Christians the world over celebrating Christmas. India, the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, marks the birth of Jesus with a national holiday. The week of Christmas is typically a time of mourning for Sikhs, commemorating the martyrdom of their tenth Guru’s four sons.


Sikhs do not celebrate Christmas. (Families may join in the cultural time of good will and cheer with giving of presents and a special lunch, having family and friends over. ) However, these beliefs don’t mean Sikhs aren’t able to share in the spirit of other people’s joy when it comes to the festival spirit of Christmas.

Sikhism contains a monotheistic understanding of belief and contains reflections of Islam and Hindu religion rather than Christianity.Sikhs have many different holidays, especially Baisakhi, and show their devotion by praying to God on such special days.

Sikhism is a religion that has been built on the foundations of truth, honesty, compassion, love, and tolerance.

It is very compatible with society in any context.

Sikhism also contains a philosophy that favours sharing and love of life, which reinforces a sense of community.

What Holidays Do Sikhs Celebrate?

The Sikhs are a peaceful, monotheistic people that originated in the Punjab region of India in the 15th century. The religion is centered around one God, who is known as Waheguru. Sikhs believe that all humans are equal and have the potential to become perfect beings through meditation and good deeds. 

Holidays are a time for celebration, and Sikhs do not lack reasons to celebrate. There are many holidays that Sikhs observe, depending on the time of the year and their own personal circumstances. 

During these times, Sikhs gather and spend joyful moments both in socio-cultural terms and in reinforcing worship and belief. Such days not only allow worshipers to come together but is also a chance for relatives to see each other again and share in the festivities.

Sikhs celebrate several holidays throughout the year:

  • Baisakhi—Formative turning point in the Sikh faith which is attended by Sikhs all around the world.
  • Vaisakhi—The first day of spring, Vaisakhi is a celebration of creation and renewal.
  • Hola Mohalla—This holiday commemorates Guru Gobind Singh’s appointment of his son as 10th Guru of the Sikhs in 1708 CE. It also celebrates martial arts and military prowess.
  • Guru Nanak Jayanti—This holiday celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, who was the founder of Sikhism in 1469 CE. It takes place on April 15th every year.
  • Vijayadashami—This holiday takes place on November 11th every year and commemorates one of the most important battles between Hindus and Muslims during India’s independence movement.

Commemorative Events in December for Sikhs

The birth of Sikhism’s 10th guru, Guru Gobind Singh, which occurred on December 22, 1666 A.D. is observed on January 5 as per the Nanakshahi calendar. The two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh were martyred on December 21st Nanakshahi (December 7, 1705 A.D), and the two younger sons on December 26th Nanakshahi (December 29, 1705 A.D.) These occasions are traditionally observed with an all-night worship service of devotional singing in late December and in America, often on 24th or 25th, depending which is most convenient as it is a time that most people are on holiday.

Sikhism has a strict code of conduct, however, the Sikh belief is that no one ought to be compelled, there is no forced conversion. Adherence to the Sikh faith is entirely voluntary. A Sikh arrives at a personal decision based on understanding and willingness to follow Sikh principles. An initiated Sikh is part of Khalsa order and renounces all other ways of life, and therefore would have no ties to celebrations and festivities which are not an essential part of Sikhism such as Christmas. However, celebrating with others is not considered a breach of conduct in the strictest sense. One’s intent and focus is what counts.

You can read more about Sikhism and its beliefs here

You may read Sikh the Truth (an explanatory document on Sikhism)

 

Amritsar, the Golden Temple and holy place of Sikhs

 


 

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