A turban covers Kesh, or uncut hair, for those of Sikh faith. (file photo: Black Press Media)

A turban covers Kesh, or uncut hair, for those of Sikh faith. (file photo: Black Press Media)

VAISAKHI IN SURREY: The five Ks of Sikhism explained

Kesh, Kanga, Kara, Kachhera and Kirpan are the religion’s articles of faith

Vaisakhi marks the birth of the Sikh faith, pays tribute to the harvest and commemorates one of the most important days in the Sikh calendar: the creation of the Khalsa.

In 2020, Vaisakhi is celebrated on Monday, April 13.

The Khalsa was founded to fight adversity more than 300 years ago and has since continued to be at the heart of Sikhism.

There are five Ks – or articles of faith – that are worn by baptized Sikhs to indicate a Khalsa devotee’s commitment.

• Kesh (uncut hair). A Sikh is to maintain and adorn this natural God-given gift. The Kesh is covered with a turban, Keski or Chunni to keep it clean and manageable.

• Kanga (wooden comb). The comb is used for the maintenance and ongoing upkeep of Kesh – a reminder to regularly maintain the body and mind in a clean and healthy state.

• Kara (steel bracelet or slave bangle). The bracelet symbolizes an unbreakable bond with God and is a constant reminder that the Sikh is a servant of the Lord.

• Kachhera (cotton underwear). Dignified attire reflective of modesty and control.

• Kirpan (a small sword). The kirpan is a sign that a Sikh is a soldier in God’s army that will be used to protect the weak and needy or for self-defence. It is never to be used in anger.

A Sikh who has not been baptized may also don all five Ks, but is called a sahajdhari, which translates to “slow adopter.”