Sunday, June 7, 2009

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About...SIKHS (but were afraid to ask!)

Last night I had the privilege of attending a surprise 50th birthday party for my husband's boss, who happens to be one of the most intelligent, kind, generous and compassionate men we've ever known. He also happens to be a Sikh. In the book, "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sikhs, But Were Afraid to Ask*" I discovered the following:

1) Sikhism is the 5th largest organized religion in the world with approximately 26 million members, 75% of which live in Panjub, India;
2) They believe in a universal God that is formless vs. a God that is human-like. One can interpret God as the Universe itself;
3) Salvation can be reached only through rigorous and disciplined devotion to God;
4) The Gurū Granth Sāhib and the Dasam Granth are the two primary scriptures of sikhs;
5) The religion was formed in the 15th and 16th centuries;
6) Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, lived from 1469-1538;
7) Their place of prayer is called the "Gurdwara" meaning "doorway to God";
8) Sikhs participate in daily recitation from memory of specific passages from the Gurū Granth Sāhib;
9) Sikhism is not a form of Islam;
10) Upon a child's birth, the Guru Granth Sāhib is opened at a random point and the child is named using the first letter on the top left-hand corner of the left page;
11) All boys are given the middle name or surname Singh and all girls are given the middle name or surname Kaur;
12) Religiously speaking, neither husband nor wife are permitted to divorce, although this may be done through a civil court;
13) Baptised Sikhs are ordered to wear the Five K's which include wearing a kara, a circular iron bracelet, and kes, not cutting their hair (the turbans the men wear hold a lifetime's worth of hair).

I'm a vegetarian and Indian is my favorite food, so me and the buffet got quite chummy. The women's gorgeous, brilliantly colored, silk outfits were like ohmygod to die for, and the DJ played all current Indian music with dashes of Bollywood, Michael Jackson, and rap all mixed together. Both young and old knew all the words to all of the songs (in Punjabi), and men danced with men and women with women, although there was also a bit of "mixed" dancing.

Until last night, I thought we Jews had it hands down when it came to throwing a great party. But, I have to say - the competition from the Sikhs is MIGHTY fierce!!!

Here are some pictures from the party. The first is of the birthday boy and his lovely wife (who really knows how to take over the dance floor!); next is the Cake Ceremony attended by the family; and last, some of the beautiful women in their magnificent garments (note the long, luxurious hair). If I play my cards right (I love Spider Solitaire and Hearts), maybe I'll be Indian in my next life.

*There is no book by that name, although it sounds dangerously similar to a book I may or may not have read over and over again in middle school.

29 comments:

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

Thanks for the info. I've wondered about the turbans. The long hair is gorgeous!!

DebraLSchubert said...

CCD, Very interesting culture and warm, wonderful people!

Kelly said...

I learned somethings today!
Looks like a fabulous party! Those dresses are gorgeous!!

DebraLSchubert said...

Kelly, Yay! I'm glad you learned something. It really is a fascinating culture. And the dresses totally rock!

Suzanne said...

I love people watching. Thanks for the view!
~Suzanne

DebraLSchubert said...

Suzanne, My pleasure. I'm glad you enjoyed the "peak"!

Paul Michael Murphy said...

This post was Sikh. I mean that in a good way.

DebraLSchubert said...

Paul, You're a riot. I see stand-up in your future...

Beth said...

Fascinating! I've also always thought the vibrant colors of the women's clothing were gorgeous. Too funny about the odd similarity to a book you read in middle school! I remember visiting a friend who was babysitting at someone's house, and we found that book on their bookshelf. I'll say it again...fascinating! ;)

DebraLSchubert said...

Beth, My parents actually had a copy and I remember reading through it over and over again. I was so naive, I couldn't believe human beings would ever do such crazy things! Fortunately, over time, I wised up.;-)

Anonymous said...

Interesting...I would have lovd to have an ear in that conversation.....but of course I proable would have talked the whole time.
Looks like a grand party!

Keith H

giddymomof6 said...

So cool! What a fun post. There were a lot of people from this religion in England, so it's so normal to see the beautiful clothes and eat the yummy food!

It's great to catch up with you again!
Jenni

DebraLSchubert said...

Keith, Any time you're around, the party gets better! Love to you and Joanne - give me a call when you get the chance.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Jenni, I'm so glad you're back on American soil! I think people in the States still confuse Sikhs as being Muslims. And, given the weirdness since 9-11, I imagine that makes it hard on the Sikh community. Understanding, compassion, and inclusion is what this world needs. Welcome home!

Kasie West said...

Love the outfits. Looks like you had a blast. Thanks for sharing, that was very fascinating.

DebraLSchubert said...

Kasie, It was fun, and truly interesting. They have such a rich culture that even the teens share in. Quite a big difference than those of us without a similar cultural experience...;-)

Big Plain V said...

I wish I had Sikh friends. I want to go to a cool party like that.

DebraLSchubert said...

Ray, Yeah, they're pretty cool. I'd like to come back as one in my next life.;-)

Vegas Linda Lou said...

As Eric Cartman on South Park would say, "I learned something today." Really!

DebraLSchubert said...

Linda, Where the hell have you been, girlfriend???? I was about to send out an APB with a couple of really hot cops to go find you! Welcome back. Things haven't been the same around here without you.;-)

jdcoughlin said...

You have such a wonderful life. The party looks like so much fun. I've been craving Indian food lately. I can make a few dishes myself, butter chicken, curry, naan, but there's nothing like a buffet and being able to nibble yourself into a gastro organism.

DebraLSchubert said...

Judith, I don't cook at all. I even took an Indian cooking class once and failed. I mean, we didn't actually get graded (thank goodness!), but I have no propensity in the kitchen. I do, however, make up for it in my practiced ability to spot a great buffet.;-)

Anita said...

You go the best places!

Lynnette Labelle said...

Are we still waiting to hear what you were sooooo excited about a long, long, long time ago? Or did I miss it? I don't think I've missed a post, but you never know...

Lynnette Labelle
http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

DebraLSchubert said...

Anita, I try.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Lynette, You are SO observant! No, I haven't gotten the news about a certain someone yet, but I'm sure it will still happen... I promise to let you know!

WendyCinNYC said...

That sounds like a fun party. I once wore a sari in a wedding party and I never wanted to take it off. They are so pretty and flattering.

I think American women should start wearing saris. Let's start a trend.

DebraLSchubert said...

Wendy, Count me in! I love the magenta and turquise. And, of course, there's always black. Let's start our own company. What could we name it?

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