Friday, August 29, 2014

[Indian Culture Workshop 2013-2014] Visit to Sikh Temple

The Sikh Temple located in Wan Chai

From time to time in Hong Kong, we see Indian men wearing a turban called a dastar.  The dastar is an important part of Sikh culture, representing the values of spirituality, honor, piety, and courage.  

To give the Indian Culture Workshop participants a chance to learn more about Sikh culture, the Indian Cultural Workshop and the 6th Postgraduate Anthropology forum committee co-organized a visit to the Hong Kong’s only Sikh Temple in January 2014.

This temple (or gurdwara) in Hong Kong acts as a religious institute, as well as a community center.  Followers can come to the temple for documents and translation services.  They may also join the weekend classes organized by the temple, which range from computer classes for adults to tutorial classes for school children.

Unlike Sikhs in Hong Kong, Sikhs in India only go to historic temples rather than religious temples.  Historic temples can only be built at the places visited by at least one of the Ten Gurus of Sikh; while religious temples, like the one in Hong Kong, are built solely for religious purposes.

For the Sikhs, the gurdwara is where life rituals and important ceremonies are held. These include baptism, marriage, and religious festivals.  Before entering the prayer room, followers should cover their head with a scarf to show respect.  Once inside, everyone should sit on the floor, whether they are men or women, priest or follower.  The practice acknowledges the belief in Sikh teachings that everyone is equal.

Sharing with the community is one of the core teachings in Sikhism.  The free kitchen or langar is a signature public service.  Visitors to the temple become the special guests of the temple. The temple serves meals to them every day, Sikhs or non-Sikhs alike.  To ensure people with different dietary restriction can eat as equals, only vegetarian meals are served.

Click the label "Indian Cultural Workshop" below if you want to read more.

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