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Posted by on Feb 10, 2018 in Tell Me Why |

Why Do Sikhs Wear Turbans?

Why Do Sikhs Wear Turbans?

A dastaar, pagṛi or pagg, is an item of headgear associated with Sikhism and is an important part of the Sikh culture. Wearing a Sikh dastaar, or turban, is mandatory for all Amritdhari (initiated) Sikh men and women. Sikhs wear their symbolic turbans because they have long hair. A turban on the head covers the coiled, uncut hair and keeps the hair free of dust and dirt so that they can live and work comfortably. Turbans cover the temples, which protects from mental or psychic negativity of other people.

The pressure of the turban also changes the pattern of blood flow to the brain. Wrapping turban over uncut hair has been scientifically proven to be helpful in many ways: The pressure of the multiple wraps keeps the 26 bones of the skull in place. These are the pressure points on the forehead that keeps one wearing it calm and relaxed.

Among the Sikhs, the dastaar is an article of faith that represents honour, self-respect, courage, spirituality, and piety. The Khalsa Sikh men and women, who keep the Five Ks, wear the turban partly to cover their long, uncut hair (kesh). The Khalsa Sikhs regard the dastaar as an important part of the unique Sikh identity. Sikhs wear a dastaar, partly to cover their long hair, which is never cut, as per the wish of their last human guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

There are many references in the Sikh history that describe how Guru Gobind Singh personally tied beautiful dumalas (dastaar) on the heads of both his elder sons Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh, and how he personally gave them arms, decorated them like bridegrooms, and sent them to the battlefield at Chamkaur Sahib where they both died as martyrs. A saffron-colored turban is especially identified with courage, sacrifice and martyrdom.

The Sikhs’ religion, forbids them to cut their hair, drink and smoke and, indeed, all practices that are bad for the health of the body are banned. For many, hair is also sexually attractive. By covering hair they keep away from stimulating the lower nature of others who are not their spouses.

The Sikh religion allows both men and women to perform religious ceremonies. The Sikhs believe that all men and women are equal. At the Hindu New Year (Baisakhi) in 1699, the Guru (or teacher) Gobind Singh, born Gobind Rai assembled his followers in the foothills of the Himalayas and initiated five of them as members of a fraternity which he named Khalsa, which means pure.

turban of guru gobind Singhji

They drank amrit (nectar) out of the same bowl, although they all came from different castes. Also, they received new names with the suffix Singh (lion) and swore to keep the five K’s which were: to wear long hair (Kesh), a comb (Kangha), in the hair, soldiers’ shorts (Kachcha), a steel bangle (Kara) on the right wrist, and a sabre (Kirpan).

five k’s

In the days that followed, 80,000 people were initiated into the Khalsa fraternity. Sikh boys and girls now undergo the initiation ceremony of the five K’s at the age of puberty. Boys take the additional name of Singh, but not all persons named Singh are Sikhs. The corresponding name for Sikh women is Kaur. The Sikhs are excellent farmers, soldiers and mechanics. The proportion of literacy among them is higher than among any of the other major communities of India.

Content for this question contributed by Diljeet Dosanjh, resident of Roselle, Union County, New Jersey, USA