Rites and Rituals

In addition to worship, there are other important rites and rituals within Sikhism. The Sikh Rehat Maryada is the Sikh Code of Conduct, giving instructions for all ceremonies.

Baptism - Amrit

Amrit Ceremony
  • The ceremony of initiation into the Sikh religion is called the Amrit ceremony.
  • Sikhs undertake the Amrit ceremony when they are ready to do so and understand the commitment that they are making to the religion.
  • The ceremony is held in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib.
  • The ceremony is conducted by five baptized Sikhs, called Panj Pyare, who wear the five Sikh symbols.
  • The five Sikhs prepare the Amrit (holy water) in a round iron-vessel containing fresh water and sweets called Patasas.
  • They recite the five Banis (Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Ten Swayyas, Chaupai Sahib and Anand Sahib) and stir the water with a double-edged sword, called a Khanda.
  • After preparation, the Amrit is drunk by the initiation candidates and then sprinkled on their eyes and hair.
  • The ceremony concludes with the eating of the ceremonial karah parshad.

Marriage - Anand Karaj

  • The Sikh marriage is called Anand Karaj meaning 'blissful union'.
  • Sikh weddings take place in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib.
  • Anand Karaj consists of the couple revolving around Guru Granth Sahib four times as the Lavan (Marriage hymns) are being recited.
  • The marriage ceremony may be performed by any Sikh, male or female, who has undergone the Amrit initiation.
  • Sikhs practice monogamy.
  • Widows or widowers may remarry.
  • Child marriage is forbidden.

Naming of Children

  • After a child is born, the baby is often taken to a Gurdwara for a naming ceremony.
  • Prayers (ardas) are recited for the newborn child.
  • After reciting ardas, the Guru Granth Sahib is opened at random. The hymn on the opened page is recited.
  • The first letter of the first word of the hymn is selected as the first letter of the child's name.
  • The word Kaur meaning 'princess' is added after a girl's name, and the name Singh meaning 'lion' after a boy's.
  • Common Sikh baby names