Did you know that…

Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world

With nearly 21 million followers worldwide, Sikhism counts itself as one of the major world religions. About 500,000 Sikhs live in the United States, and another 500,000 Sikhs live in Canada.

Sikhs believe in one God

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion, based on a revelation to Guru Nanak, the first of 10 Sikh gurus, over 500 years ago. The Sikh gurus taught that there are many different ways of achieving a connection with God, and Sikhism is only one of these ways. The Sikh scripture is the only major religious text that includes writings by teachers of various other faiths.

Sikhs never cut their hair

Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru, gave the Sikh nation 5 distinct articles of faith. Together, these make up the daily uniform of Sikhs, intended to bind them to Sikh beliefs and remind them of their commitment to God. The 5 articles of faith are Kes (uncut hair), Kangha (comb), Kara (steel bracelet), Kirpan (sword), and kaccha (soldier’s shorts).

Sikh children have a formal “coming of age” ceremony

In the Sikh faith, there is a ceremony called a “Dastaar Bandi.” The ceremony is meant to mark a person’s commitment to tying a turban every day after this day. Before the ceremony, kids generally begin by experimenting with their turbans, learning how to hold the weight on their heads, get comfortable with it, and then slowly begin tying it everyday.

Not all Sikhs are Indian

Many Sikhs have ancestors from the South Asian state of Punjab, but now live around the world and hold various nationalities. In addition, though Sikhism forbids proselytization or forced conversions, as the religion has traveled around the world, many people have become interested in learning about Sikhs and have joined our ranks. There are Chinese Sikhs, African Sikhs, Irish Sikhs, etc.

Sikh isn’t pronounced “SEEk”

The correct pronunciation is “siKH” (sounds like sick) and not “SEEk.”

Sikhs first came to the United States more than 100 years ago

Sikhs began immigrating to the United States in the 1900s, mostly as farmers and laborers. In the 1960s, with the newly raised immigration quotas, Sikhs flooded into the country as trained professionals. There was another wave of Sikh immigrants in 1984, when anti-Sikh pogroms and government policies rocked the Indian part of Punjab and caused many Sikhs to flee to the United States for safe haven.

For more information, check out these other sections of Khalsakids.org.

Here are some downloadable
resources for your classroom.

If you are a teacher in New York or New Jersey and would like a Sikh Awareness presentation in your school, please contact education@sikhcoalition.org.


Class Presentation (3rd-6th grade)
This presentation is a quick visual aid for in-class presentations.

Class Presentation Talking Points (3rd-6th grade)

Class Presentation (7-12th grade)
This presentation incorporates information about Sikh Americans and their struggles in a post-9/11 world.

Class Presentation Talking Points
(7-12th grade)

Lesson Plan: Elementary School
Want to teach your students about the world’s 5th largest religion? Download this lesson plan for ideas.
Lesson Plan: Middle School
Use this lesson plan to introduce your students to some of their diverse classmates.
Lesson Plan: High School
Teaching students about world history or world religions? This is a great way to incorporate Sikhism into an existing curriculum.
Sikhs Brochure – English
You can print out and distribute this primer on Sikhs to students in class.
Who are Sikhs?
This is a wonderful short primer on Sikhs, Sikh history and Sikhism’s core beliefs. Use it as a quick reference guide when dealing with Sikh students or parents.
Pop Quiz
Have your audience take this short pop quiz before you tell them about Sikhs. It helps people understand how little they really know about you.
Reading List

This list serves as a helpful reference guide that provides well known texts, periodicals, magazines and books on the Sikh religion, history,and culture.

Class Activity: Sikh Crossword Puzzle
Crossword Puzzle SOLUTION
A fun class activity using Sikh vocabulary words.
Class Activity: Sikh Word Search
Sikh Word Search SOLUTION
   A fun word search using Sikh vocabulary words.
Hatred in the Hallways
A survey of New York City Sikhs reveals that a large percentage of Sikh children are regularly harassed and intimidated in school.
Sikh Next Door www.sikhnextdoor.com
Pro-Teacher www.proteacher.com
Teaching Tolerance www.tolerance.com
Because I Had A Turban Lesson
Freedom In Times Of War And Conflict Lesson
10 Tips For Starting A World Religions Curriculum
Impressionable Children Lesson
This film presents the struggle of the Sikh American community against discrimination and violence, caused by ignorance about the Sikh turban.
9/11 Backlash Curriculum
Interested in incorporating Sikhs into your history or social studies class? Fill out this form, and we’ll mail you a copy of our Justice & Democracy curriculum, complete with lesson plans and project ideas. The curriculum is intended for secondary, college or university level courses.
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