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.