Friday, March 30, 2007
One of the main Sikh festivals is Vaisakhi which traditionally was the end of the wheat harvest but became extra special because it was chosen by Guru Gobind Singh as the day to start the Khalsa fellowship.
On April 13th in the gurdwara a special ceremony takes place as a reminder of the first Amrit Ceremony.
The first Amrit Ceremony took place in India in 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh asked a gathering of Sikhs who was prepared to die for God. At first there was a hesitation then one man stepped forward...he was taken into the tent, Guru Gobind Singh reappeared on his own with blood dripping from his sword. He asked again, and again, again and again. He took the fifth man into the tent and then reappeared with all five men, alive, well and dressed like him. These five men became known as Panj Pyares or Beloved Five. They were initiated into the "Khalsa" or community of Sikhs by receiving amrit...a mixture of sugar and water. Sikh men were then given the added name "Singh" meaning "lion" and ladies received the extra name "Kaur" meaning "princess".
The five Sikhs that are performing the ceremony mix the amrit. When the water and sugar has been mixed all of the five Sikhs stir it with a double edged sword while hymns are being sung and readings are read from the Guru Granth Sahib.
New members who wish to become initiated come before the five Sikhs that are performing the ceremony. Amrit is sprinkled on their eyes and hair, finally they drink the mixture. Everyone recites the Mool Mantra and the new members must then wear the five Ks. Prayers are said, speeches made, reading listened to and finally the whole community will share a meal, the langar, with everyone present Sikh and non-Sikh.