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Holi (English pronunciation: /ˈhoʊliː/) (Sanskrit: होली) is a spring festival also known as the festival of colours or the festival of love. It is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia.

The Innovation of Gurmat Sangeet

When discussing the contributions of the Gurus to society we are able to easily think of the concepts of Langar, the gurudwara, cities, gardens, and many other small but significant actions. However, something that is almost rarely discussed is Gurmat Sangeet.

It’s no secret that the system of Indian classical system had existed before the time of the Gurus, but their contribution and their transformation of that system is what is important. When going through Guru Granth Sahib ji, something that is immediately noticeable is the fact that is divided into sections called: raags

There have been scholarly disagreements about how many raags there are; however, most scholars believe that number is close to 60. Another interesting fact about this system of organization is that, not only is it unique to Sikhi, but the Gurus themselves created more than half of the raags found in the Guru Granth Sahib

A raag is an emotion or mood that is portrayed through a musical scale. What is so powerful about this? The entirety of the Guru Granth Sahib (excluding Jap ji Sahib) is written under a certain raag. Every shabad (or hymn) written in the Guru Granth Sahib, is accompanied by a specific raag that is supposed to enhance the emotion and power of that particular composition. The system of organization created by Guru Arjan Dev ji is one of the most elaborate systems used to have divided these raags. 

It is important to know this because of how powerful and central Kirtan is to the Sikh tradition. We come from a lineage of not just scholars and revolutionaries, but also of musicians, poets, and innovators. We must reclaim a tradition that was pushed to the back of the Sikh psyche. A tradition so powerful that it changed the dark minds of individuals such as Sajjan Thag (the Thief) into Sheikh Sajjan.

This is one of the most unique tools that Guru Sahib has given us: Kirtan. The ability of portraying emotion through music. To be able to convey struggles, sorrows, happiness, joy, loneliness, hope, separation through music. We have forgotten our tradition, but have begun to take steps in order to ensure that we honor, respect and restore this tradition. There are organizations that have taken a duty to re-educate the Khalsa Panth on matters of musicality and Gurbani. A few of the organizations that have taken the purpose of preserving this part of the Sikh tradition are: the Gurmat Sangeet Library, Gurmat Sangeet Project, Gurmat Sangeet AcademyRaj Academy, and the Gurmat Sangeet Project - Punjabi University, Patiala

Let us reclaim our heritage and use the tools that the Gurus themselves have provided!

Akaal Sahaae,
The Kaur Foundation

American Islamophobia is so bad it’s harming people who aren’t even Muslim 

Islamophobia in America is particularly infuriatingly in the way it so often manifests itself as blanket hatred against anyone who appears to be of Middle Eastern descent. As a result, this religious intolerance is also a form of racism. For Americans fearful of difference, it doesn’t matter if the people they target are Muslim or not — they target anyone with a turban.

Perhaps no community knows this more than Sikh Americans — and the statistics are truly alarming.

‘Leave Canada’ spray-painted on Sikh temple in south Edmonton

A south Edmonton gurdwara — or Sikh place of worship — was vandalized with phrases like ‘Leave Canada’ and a profane, racist comment.

“Today we discovered something very deeply saddening to us,” says Harman Singh Kandola, chairman of the gurdwara’s advisory committee. “Some graffiti that was put on the wall of the exterior of our facility.”

Two phrases — “Leave Canada” and “F**k Indians” — were spray-painted on the outside of the temple. Members have already started painting over the words.

Kandola says Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha in Mill Woods has been spray-painted in the past. He doesn’t believe this case is connected to the shootings in Paris.

“We’re saddened by it, we’re saddened that they would feel this way, however we believe they may just be misinformed.”

Continue Reading.

facts about sikhism i'd like people to know:
  1. sikhism is NOT derived from hinduism or islam. it is its entire religion by itself. 
  2. unlike many religions, sikhism is open to all ethnicities. it doesn’t matter what you are, you can become a sikh. 
  3. that being said, our doors are not closed to those who aren’t sikh. which is why the harimandir sahib has 4 entrances to represent that it is open to people from all places 

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In honor of International Turban Day 

This crown is not a fashion statement, its the pride of hundreds of Sikh’s who sacrificed their lives in order for the present generation of Sikh’s to wear it with pride. I will always wear this with my head held high to honor those brave men, women, and children. Fun fact, I always wear my turban, that’s 365 day’s a year, not just this one day. FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM AT THEMODERNSIKH TO SEE MY DAILY PICS. 

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Kaur: an animated film about Mai Bhago, STEM, and a young girls’ education

The Sikh community released something pretty neat today : Kaur, an animated short that ties their cultural and religious traditions — specifically, the story of 18th-century badass and previous RP entry Mai Bhago — to the current-day problems that a young girl might face in her education. They’ve clearly put in a lot of effort (making an animated feature of any length is soul-crushingly hard), and it’s commendable that they’re throwing the weight of their history behind educating girls. Respect. You can watch the entire thing for free above or at their website.

I actually thought it was cool enough that they put in that much effort, I drew a picture of Mai Bhago and Kaur’s protagonist, Saibhang hanging out. (I also kind of wanted to draw Mai Bhago again). Happy with how it turned out! :)

For a bigger version, click through to the main RP site.

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Sikh weddingsalso referred as “Anand Karaj" or "Blissful Union", last a couple of days. Both the bride and groom have haldi ceremonies, where a turmeric paste is applied to them to make their skin beautiful for their big day.  At the bride’s home she and her female friends and family apply mehndi (henna). She wears a chooda in both hands (put on by her maternal uncle), and kalira are tied to her chooda by her family members.The kalira symbolizes warm wishes and blessings, and the bride wears them until the wedding ceremony is concluded. Once the kalrias are tied, the bride shakes them on the heads of unmarried friends and girls of the family. According to an old adage, if part of a kalira falls on one of the girl’s, she is next in line to be married. At the groom’s home, the groom’s sister-in-law and female relatives, go to a nearby well or Gurdwara to fill an earthen pitcher with water, which is later used to bathe the groom. This ceremony is named after the earthen pitcher, known as gharoli. Both families host a celebratory party for their family and friends the night before the main ceremony. In the main ceremony, the groom wears a sash over his shoulder, where the end of the sash is placed by the bride’s father in the hands of the bride. The ceremony is brought to an end by the vidaii or doli. In this ceremony, the bride bids farewell to her family members. As the bride departs, she throws back handful of rice over her shoulder. The wedding is brought to an end by a reception held by the groom’s family that follows the main ceremony.

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The Adventures of Sikh Captain America

Not all superheroes are fictional. For example: Vishavjit Singh, the first Sikh Captain America. An editorial cartoonist by trade, a few months ago he suited up as a real-life turbaned and bearded version of Jack Kirby’s strongman and strode through New York City, to promote his Sikh Comics while fighting religious and ethnic stereotypes.