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Know about International Turban Day?

This day also marks the Sikh festival of Baisakhi, the birth of modern Sikhism or the Khalsa

By Yajush Gupta

World Turban Day was just celebrated on April 13th. Started in 2004, this day aims to propagate awareness about the importance of the turban for the Sikh community and the requirement to don the turban for all adult males as mandated for Sikhs by Guru Gobind Singh.

  • Sikhism was founded in the 15th century by the visionary peasant Nanak Bedi as a caste-less religion preaching equality.
  • Despite being the fifth largest world religion, Sikhism is one of the least understood traditions
  • The turban or “dastar” or “pagri” often shortened to “pagg” refer to the covering worn by men and some women. It is a head wear consisting of a long scarf-like single piece of cloth wound round the head or sometimes an inner “hat” or patka. Sikhism is the only religion in the world in which wearing a turban is mandatory for all adult males.

Afghan Sikh Wikimedia Commons
Afghan Sikh
Wikimedia Commons

  • Since 9/11 in 2001, the turban or the ‘pagg’ was surrounded by many controversies due to the wrongful linking of this customary head wear, with Osama bin Laden,
    the Muslim leader of al Qaeda who was often been pictured wearing a turban.

My turban is
having one of those days;
in an awkward phase,
tied ten different ways,
causing eyebrows to raise
and eyeballs to gaze.”

Harmohanjit Singh Pandher

Canadian Sikh

  • Sikhs in India have observed World Turban Day in an effort to raise awareness that Muslims are not the only people to wear a headdress as a religious duty, as there has been a spate of assaults and killings of Sikhs by extremists in the west, as the distrust and aggression against Sikh community was caused by a general ignorance about the religion.As a result, many men wearing a turban and beard were looked upon with suspicion, and were often mistaken for Islamic fundamentalists since the attacks on the US.
  • For Sikhs the turban and the kesh (uncut hair), symbolise love and obedience to the wishes of the religion’s founders more than 500 years ago.Although the keeping of unshorn hair was mandated by Guru Gobind Singh as one of the Five Ks or five articles of faith, it has long been closely associated with Sikhism since the very beginning of Sikhi in 1469.

Compiled by Yajush. Twitter: @yajush_gupta

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