The 5 K’s – Enhancing subject knowledge

The Khalsa is a group of people who are true to the Sikh teachings. They follow very strict rules and one of these is to wear the 5 K’s at all times.

The Kesh is the name for the hair that is never cut. Guru Gobind Sikh thinks that hair should be allowed to grow naturally and that men should not shave. During the time the Guru was around many men let their hair become tangled and dirty, which showed to others how Holy they were and how committed they were to their religion, as they were not thinking about their body. The Guru did not agree with this and although he says that hair should be allowed to grow naturally, it should be kept clean and should be combed at least twice a day.

The Kangha is a small wooden comb which keeps the hair fixed in place and is a symbol of cleanliness. Part of the Sikhism religion is to stay clean and tidy, as well as leading an organised life.

The Kirpan is a short sword that reminds Sikhs about their duty to fight against evil. It should never be used for attack, only defence and may be up to a metre long (although most Sikhs carry one which is about 10cm long). It is usually kept in a special wooden case which is fixed to a strap over the persons shoulder.
The Kara is a plain steel bangle which is worn on the right wrist as a symbol, not as a piece of jewellery. It is a complete circle, reminding Sikhs that there is only on God and one truth, without beginning or end. The steel reminds them of the strength they must have when fighting for
which is right.

The Kachera are short trousers, worn as underwear. They were introduced around the time of the Guru when most people in India wear loose, long clothes. The Guru said that the change in style was a symbol of people leaving behind old ideas and following better ones. The Kachera are also more practical, especially when worn in battle.The turban is not one of the 5 K’s, although most male Sikhs and some female Sikhs wear them.

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