Published: Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Correctly pronounced ‘sik-h’ with a slightly aspirated h. However some people, especially in English speaking countries, purposefully mispronounce it as ‘seek’ to avoid confusion with ‘sick.’
The Five K’s
Both men and women are supposed to adhere to wearing the Five Ks at all times. Typically, all items aside from the Kara remain hidden under clothes.
Represents the importance of caring after the body, which is a gift from God.
Because cleanliness is a way of respecting God, this is not thought to be in conflict with Kesh.
Kesh: Uncut hair
Represents spirituality and a commitment to God. Shows that one is more concerned with spending time on spiritual matters than keeping up a certain appearance for the physical world.
Most believe that Kesh should refer to all body hair, making it hard for women to balance with modern beauty standards.
Kara: Steel bangle.
Represents unity with the Guru and the rest of the Sikh community. Also reminds the wearer of God’s presence, without a beginning or an end.
The Kara is made of steel instead of gold or silver because it is not supposed to be viewed as an ornament.
Kirpan: A small sword that can come in several styles.
Represents respect, justice, and a commitment to defend the weak. It also symbolizes the fine balance between good and evil on both an individual and spiritual level.
It is not viewed as a weapon any more than a Christian views the cross as a torture instrument, to do so if very offensive.
There are necklaces with pendants shaped as Kirpans to wear in areas where the Kirpan itself is prohibited
Sikh Temple of Wisconsin President Satwant Singh Kaleka did use the ceremonial knife in an attempt to stab and slow down shooter Wade Michael Page. During the interaction Kaleka took two fatal shots to the hip or upper leg area, according to his son, Amardeep Kaleka.
Kachera: A pair of cotton underwear, white and often knee-length
Represents modesty and purity