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A Reflection - Sikhs and Christmas...

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by spnadmin, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Most people of Sikh heritage living in the West celebrate Christmas. During Christmas many people will buy alcohol, a big fat turkey, and presents to give to the children. On Christmas day the atmosphere in many homes is like a party, the booze is flowing, the smell of meat fills the house and children are engrossed in what gift they have got. Yet, we forget a big part of what makes us who we are!

    Sadly many people of Sikh heritage forget during the Christmas holidays there are key historical events that are remembered. December doesn't mark one Sikh's martyrdom but countless martyrdoms. For this reason Christmas time is a sombre time for Sikhs.

    21st December
    On this day the Battle of Chamkaur took place. Guru jee and his 40 Sikhs fortified a mud house on a hill in the village of Chamkaur whilst the Mughal army led by Wazir Khan pursued them. In a bloody battle, the 2 elder sons (Sahibzaadey) of Guru Gobind Singh jee Maharaaj, Baba Ajeet Singh jee aged 17 and Baba Jujhar Singh jee aged 15, and 36 of Guru jee's beloved Sikhs were martyred fighting against an army of hundred thousand Mughals.

    26th December
    On this day the younger sons (Sahibzaadey) of Guru Gobind Singh jee, aged 7 and 5, were barbarically bricked alive for refusing to embrace Islam and give up their faith. Hearing the news of the martyrdom of her grandchildren, Mata Gujjar Kaur jee, who had been kept imprisoned in a cold tower with her younger grandchildren, embraced martyrdom and breathed her last.

    I suppose December for Sikhs is a period of "thanks-giving". Thanks-giving to whom? To four incredible Sahibzaadey, Mata Gujjar Kaur jee and the other countless Shaheeds (martyrs) who split their blood for us and sacrificed their tomorrow for our today. We enjoy the freedom of being Sikhs because of their sacrifices. If anyone was planning to have a Turkey or drink alcohol this Christmas, perhaps take some time to reflect upon how Baba Fateh Singh jee at the age of 5 and Baba Zoravar Singh jee at the age of 7 sacrificed their lives but not their Sikhi. Could those who eat meat and drink alcohol, sacrifice their turkey and drink in their loving memory?

    YouTube - SAHIBZADE

    http://manvirsingh.blogspot.com/2010/12/reflection-sikhs-and-christmas.html
     

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  3. CaramelChocolate

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    The post definitely raises some important issues and I think the deeper issue here is why do people in general opt for a superficial path rather than going deeper, and this can be applied to all religious groups and societies.

    I can't speak for punjabi-Sikh households, but the writer is clearly miss informed on how most Christmas-celebrators celebrate Christmas. Around 5-10% of britishers are veggie, and whilst alcohol is consumed on this day, people do not generally get drunk! Infact there are Christian denomenations which prohibit alcohol (Christmas can be a cultural or religious festival, much like Diwali in that sense).
     
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  4. anders

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    For celebrations in yet another country...

    The Swedish Monarch, according to our Constitution, has to embrace the "pure, evangelical creed ...", and until recently the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden was the "State Church".

    But we never ever celebrated "Christmas". It was always "Yuletide" ('Jul'), the successor of the ancient midwinter parties to mark the winter solstice. The holiest time of the year now is the Xmas eve rerun of Disney movie clips. Sweden is at a standstill. Then, the supercharged dinner with the glazed ham centrepiece. Some will be drinking, but at family gatherings, a decent proportion of the members will probably be driving home afterwards, and thus consume no alcohol. Out of sympathy, the others will normally imbibe rather modest amounts.

    Happy whatever to all of you, and a prosperous New Year to the board and its members!
     
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  5. Mai Harinder Kaur

    Mai Harinder Kaur
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    When I was a child we always made a big deal of Christmas, trees - our house was huge, we usually had several, lights, the whole schmeer. Of course, it was a secular celebration, more like Anders ji "Yuletide" than than anything like the Christian celebration. (BTW, the Christmas tree is actually a remnant of "The Old Religion" that Christianity adopted.) Daddy would play Santa Claus, bellowing out his "Ho, ho, ho!" that could be heard all the way from Montreal to Toronto, I'm sure. He was the perfect Santa Claus, if you don't mind Santa being tall and light brown. And there were two big advantages, too: Both his beard and his chardi kala were real!

    When I married and we moved to the farm, my husband and I kept up the tradition at our farmhouse. (We always went into Montreal for Christmas and Boxing Days, though.) That was until the Christmas our son was 6. I think that would have been 1977. One fine December day, as we were preparing to trim the tree, he stopped us dead in our tracks. "Papa ji, mata ji, are we Christians?"

    "Huh? What!? You know we're Sikhs, Sandeep!"

    "I thought so. It doesn't seem very nice that we celebrate the birth of their god that we don't even believe in!"

    "Son, we don't celebrate it as a religious holiday. It's just a fun family time for us. The tree, the lights, the presents."

    Our son was very stubborn. "It's Christ-mas. Christ - that's Jesus. Mas is mass, the Catholic church thing. Christmas. It's for Christians, not Sikhs."

    He was adamant. And, of course, he was right. "But son, don't you like getting presents?"

    "Sure but you guys give me presents all the time. Anyway, I'd rather be a Sikh than get silly presents."

    So we stopped celebrating Christmas. We did keep making our annual trek to Montreal in the dead of winter and Sandeep never turned down any of the gifts given him.

    It is, however, impossible to ignore the fact that everybody around me is celebrating (except the Jehovah's Witnesses, who don't celebrate anything), so I have made a short video to share with all of you.

    <object height="385" width="480">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/k_c0YR1DOp4?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0&color1=0x234900&color2=0x4e9e00" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="480"></object>

    An unrelated question: how old were the young Sahibzahdey? I have read 6 and 8, 7 and 9, and now 5 and 7.:thinkingkudi:
     
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  6. lionsingh

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    It is the birth ...a chosen date to celebrate Jesus. The Immanuel.

    God works in his/her own ways.

    I am baptisped lutherin.

    Allow your children to find their own truth. Are you scared of Christ against the Gurus ?

    I love both. I believe that Christ was sent...only him to spread the word..as he was/is God . The Gurus were blessed and the spirit and passion of God lived and were them.


    "Our son was very stubborn. "It's Christ-mas. Christ - that's Jesus. Mas is mass, the Catholic church thing. Christmas. It's for Christians, not Sikhs"

    Christ was for ALL... thats why it is CHRIST MASS...a prayer to Gods gift to mankind. It is for Mankind and Children

    As a Sikh..all is available to God. Unless you just want a Sikhmass...

    Do you want Sharia ? No...Its NOT a competion to get the most converts.

    Gurus were killed as much as Christ for their beliefs.

    Let them love and respect ...Let them think...they are not slaves.

    and if Sikh kids dont like getting silly presents....well I give up...Just convert to Islamic barbarity if you must.

    Christ died ..his choice...never forced anyone..Nor did Nanak nor Gobind.

    CHRISTMAS is a celebration of his birth. take them to a mass...let them see .

    Love and respect
     
  7. JimRinX

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    It's always sad to see that any people, Sikhs or otherwise, have to look back upon "the Martyrs" of their Faith, to see the only reason they have the freedom to be who they are; as no one should ever have to give their life, to be who they're driven by faoth to be - unless their "rights" involve sociopathic criminal.
    That's why I want to pint out that the Days of Giving, or Taking Life "for God", have got to end; and, at one time, before the Roman Catholic Church took over the Worship of Mithra, as Sol Invictus, and metamophosed the "Re-birth of the Sun" (Sol the Invincible, who'd just forced the Dragon that was swallowing it to spit it back out - being Invictus, and all) into the "Birth of the Son (of God, supposedly; Boddhisatva or Avataar, more likely)", the Solstice Celebration was really about Re-Birth.
    This the Ancient Way, as it was The Way before Zarathustra, Abraham, Siddathra, John the Baptist, Jesus, Mani, Mohamed, Guru Nanak, or the B'Hai; and it should always remain a time of Re-Birth - of selves, of peoples, and, ideally, of the way that people of various faiths interact with one another; especially at this delicate Nuclear Armed juncture in our increasingly Global World; and, therefore, of a Birth - into a New Way, more Peaceful, Way; one where peoples urge to "please God" no longer drives them to make Martyrs out of those others who are doing the very some thing, only in a Way different than their own.
    We should all make Gifts to those whom we hate, at this time of year; that would Build Character, and salve wounds at the same time.
    Either way, giving Gifts at the Solstice is also as ancient as time; but then most of you live in India, with all of the holidays that the "puritans" did away with here in Stolid, Boring, Straight Laced America (believe it or not, we once 'burned witches'; now we make them into Movie Stars).
     
  8. shearwater

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    Every ethnic groups has its special days. For Christians they are Christmas and Easter. In a multicultural world everyone should be allowed to have their own free moral agency to celebrate the special days of meaning for them. Christmas and Easter have been for Christians the dominant celebrations throughout the last 2000 years. Much of Christmas has lost its meaning for those who do not embrace the Christian faith deleted Christian rhetoric. However, since America became a country in 1776, Christmas has been our most prominent cherished celebration. Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol shows what it is like when scrooges exist to try to stamp out this festive holiday. They'd be much better off embracing the deleted values of charity, generosity and kindness than throw rocks at people who celebrate it. On the whole I believe sikhs embrace those values.

    Values of charity, generosity and kindness are hallmarks of many religions, not exclusively owned by Christianity. They are fundamentals in such religions as Sikhi, Buddhism, etc. I should not even have to state this obvious truth.
     
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  9. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    spnadmin warning

    We are veering ever closer to the brink of proselytizing for Christianity. We are not quite there yet. A good decision would be to not test my limits on this point.
     
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  10. Rupinder.Singh

    Rupinder.Singh Australia
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    A nice post to stretch our minds once again but at the same time sensitive too coz it is very easy to drift into criticizing other religions rather than discussing the original point.

    Without making a big issue of this whole thing lets first not forget that everyone has right to live, and celebrate. Christians celebrate chritsmas, Muslims celebrate eed, and sikhs celebrate their Guru's birthdays and martyor days.

    I wont blame people who celebrate christmas despite being of religion other than chritians. We dont celebrate any ocassion just because we believe in that. But we celebrate it coz we live in a society majority of which celebrate it. Now take an example of Punjab these days, they are celebrating martyrdom of sehbjades at Fatehgarh saheb. and I bet whole punjab will be colored in that celebration. Peolpe will take part in the celebration at Fatehgarh saheb, no matter what religion they are. Did we ever raise a question why a christian is taking part in Fatehgarh sbha, or a Muslim is present in sabha. No, We dont, then why do we want the other way around.

    I also believe that Christmas and martyordom of Shebjades can be celebrated together. Celebrate it with christian friends and educate them about your reason of celebration at the same time get educated about thier faith. Your fear for getting coverted to any other religion is only as strong as you are weak inside about your own faith.

    Regarding, alchohal, we as sikhs have no right to obejct others on having alchohal on chirstmas day. We cant force our opinon on others and we dont have to. At the same time A Sikh wont take any kind of drugs ever other than medicational purpose. So there is no point advising sikhs not to have alchohal on these days as celebration.

    Having turkey on the day is a tradition, It is just a food, I personally dont find anything wrong with that too.

    I dont have any problem wishing my christians friends "Merry Christmas", or Muslim freinds "EED Mubaraq".
    Why should we ever miss a chance to make another soul happy. When we all know "God is one"

    So Be open, be acceptive, be inviting and love every one.

    Believe in yourself, Stand for truth, understand your responsibilities, fight for your rights and protect the helpless.

    :singhsippingcoffee:

    Rupinder Singh
     
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  11. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Yes

     
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  12. Kirpal Singh

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    This will help our children to get along better with eachother.
     
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  13. gurbanicd

    gurbanicd
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    The sikh thought revolves round NAAM only.

    1. Ang 717 Line 11 Raag Todee: Guru Arjan Dev
    ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਭਜਨ ਰੰਗ ਰਸ ਜੇਤੇ ਸੰਤ ਦਇਆਲ ਜਾਨੇ ਸਭਿ ਝੂਠੇ ॥
    bin har bhajan rang ras jaethae santh dhaeiaal jaanae sabh jhoothae ||
    बिनु हरि भजन रंग रस जेते संत दइआल जाने सभि झूठे ॥
    Without the Lord's <nobr>meditation</nobr>, all joys and pleasures are totally false and worthless; by the Kind Mercy of the Saints, I know this.


    bhulan chukan dikhima
     
  14. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    gurbanicd ji

    I do hope you understand that these are not my words, but the words of Manvir Singh ji, from his blog.

    Otherwise your point is a good one. If we think only of the Naam, we would not be concerned how our fellows and mates spend Christmas day. We would be focused on our own personal connection with the Divine. To be fair, Manvir Singh is also pointing out to us, that the many who were shaheedyan, through their connection to the Divine, gave their lives. This we remember in ardaas. So why not on Christmas Day too?


    "Panjaa{n} piyaareyaa{n} (five beloved ones) , chauhaa{n} sahibzaadiyaa{n} (four princes), chaaliyaa{n} mukteyaa{n} (forty liberated ones), hathhiyaa{n} (steadfast ones), japiyaa{n} (the constant repearters of the Divine Name), tapiyaa{n} (those given to assiduous devotion), jinha Naam japiyaa (those who repeated the Name), vandd chhakiyaa (shared their fare with others), degh chalaayee (ran free kitchen) , tegh vaahee (wielded the sword), dekh ke ann-dithh keeta (overlooked faults), tinha piyaareyaa{n}, sachiyaariyaa{n} dee kamaayee daa dhyaan dhar ke (meditating on the achievement of the dear and truthful ones), Khalsa ji (O Khalsa), bolo ji Waheguru! (say Waheguru!)"
     
  15. gurbanicd

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    1. Naam is movement from finite to infinite it includes all efforts towards that direction.

    2. Naam is concerned towards all there is only one "noor"
    ek noor tey sabh jag upjia

    chrisitan,muslim hindu jew africans indians ................. all belong to one only

    3.
    8. Ang 1136 Line 16 Raag Bhaira-o: Guru Arjan Dev
    ਨਾਨਕ ਕੈ ਘਰਿ ਕੇਵਲ ਨਾਮੁ ॥੪॥੪॥
    naanak kai ghar kaeval naam ||4||4||
    नानक कै घरि केवल नामु ॥४॥४॥
    Nanak's home is filled with the Naam, the Name of the Lord. ||4||4||


    4

    1. Ang 12 Line 6 Raag Asa: Guru Arjan Dev
    ਅਵਰਿ ਕਾਜ ਤੇਰੈ ਕਿਤੈ ਨ ਕਾਮ ॥
    avar kaaj thaerai kithai n kaam ||
    अवरि काज तेरै कितै न काम ॥
    Nothing else will work.


    mil sadh sangat bhaj keval naam


    5

    1. Ang 133 Line 17 Raag Maajh: Guru Arjan Dev
    ਇਕਸੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨੁ ਅਗੈ ਲਈਅਹਿ ਖੋਹਿ ॥
    eikas har kae naam bin agai leeahi khohi ||
    इकसु हरि के नाम बिनु अगै लईअहि खोहि ॥
    Without the Naam, the Name of the One Lord, they lose their lives in the hereafter.

    2. Ang 546 Line 12 Raag Bihaagrhaa: Guru Arjan Dev
    ਇਕਸੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਨਾਮ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਆਨ ਕਾਜ ਸਿਆਣੀ ॥
    eikas har kae naam baajhahu aan kaaj siaanee ||
    इकसु हरि के नाम बाझहु आन काज सिआणी ॥
    Except for the One Name of the Lord, you are clever in everything else.

    3. Ang 949 Line 13 Raag Raamkali: Guru Amar Das
    ਇਕਸੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਨਾਮ ਵਿਣੁ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਜੀਵਣੁ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਵਾਸੁ ॥
    eikas har kae naam vin dhhrig jeevan dhhrig vaas ||
    इकसु हरि के नाम विणु ध्रिगु जीवणु ध्रिगु वासु ॥
    Without the Name of the One Lord, his life is cursed, and his home is cursed as well.

    4. Ang 1366 Line 6 Salok: Bhagat Kabir
    ਏਕਸ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨੁ ਬਾਧੇ ਜਮ ਪੁਰਿ ਜਾਂਹਿ ॥੩੪॥
    eaekas har kae naam bin baadhhae jam pur jaanhi ||34||
    एकस हरि के नाम बिनु बाधे जम पुरि जांहि ॥३४॥
    Without the Name of the One Lord, they are bound and gagged and taken to the City of Death. ||34||


    bhulan chukan di khima
     
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  16. surjitsc

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    A Reflection - Sikh and Christmas - an alternate view

    A Reflection – Sikh and Christmas an alternative view-Wahegure Ji Ka Khalsa Wahegure Ji Ke Fateh


    I refer to the original article by Manvir Singh Ji titled, “A Reflection- Sikh and Christmas”.
    <o:p> </o:p>

    Is Manvir Singh saying that we do not remember our heroes or is he saying that having turkey and alcohol is wrong, in accordance to his beliefs? I think it is very patronising for Mr Manvir Singh to suggest to anyone what they should eat or drink or when and even more patronising to suggest that thousands of Sikhs who go into our Gurudwaras daily do not remember our heroes during this period. Surely, we are reminded of all our historical events by our Granthi Sahibs and certainly it is their duty to do so.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I agree with Manvir Singh that we should not celebrate rituals for what they are but then we have a problem: should we stop celebrating Diwali, New year’s Eve and I will go as far as saying Guruprabs. Part of being a Sikh is surely cultivating the connection with the Guru on daily basis and if that is not done, whether you celebrate an occasion or not, is totally irrelevant.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I disagree with Manvir Singh that the memory of the countless shaheeds who spilled their blood for us is a sombre moment for us. It is certainly a period of celebration for us to celebrate the lives and courage of those great heroes of Sikhism who gave their lives’ for us. I dare say that none of us today irrespective of what we eat or drink could ever give those sacrifices and that is a sombre thought for us to reflect upon.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    On a personal note, I wish we had 365 days of celebrations because each day we celebrate something, we are giving of our self to that divine love of God, even if it is through giving of presents to the children, siblings or parents. Life itself is a celebration and we must not allow narrow thinking to destroy it. The past is past however great but the future is certainly what we make of it. I would drink happily to the loving memory of the Sahibzaadeys even though I do not drink alcohol!
     
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  17. ac_marshall

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    Merry Christmas!
    Christmas marks the birthday of Lord Jesus Christ, a divine messenger. He preached love, simplicity of worship, non-violence and righteousness.

    The objective of Christmas is to remember and celebrate the birth of a divine messenger in the righteous manner. Use of Alcohol and Meat on Christmas day evolved from the local cultures in Europe. Any European festival has meat and alcohol served as they form the general European cuisine just like sweets and non alcoholic beverages form the major portion of Indian cuisine. Today, this appears dominating in Christmas celebrations as most of the Europeans are Christians.

    It is not mandatory for a Christian to consume meat or alcohol. That is left to the individual's choice. Christmas can be celebrated in any way one would prefer. In Southern India, Christians have mostly descended from St. Thomas cult who preached Christianity merging the local cultures. People prepare traditional Indian sweets like Kheer to celebrate Christmas.

    There is nothing against Christianity in celebrating Christmas being a vegetarian and a teetotaler.
     
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  18. JimRinX

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    All jios
    I wish to express my hope that we will all think more peaceful, loving kind, and compassionate thoughts as the days begin growing longer once more - as my first comment was a little dour; even though I myself have had to fight, and could have been killed, for what I believe is right - and I, therefore, cannot help but to respect the sacrifices made by the Sikhi, the Palastinians, the Jews, the Native Americans, the Buddhists of Tibet, etc.; even if I wish that the days when our 'celebrations' will all be in Honor of Our Beautiful Lord (ie: God, by any other name - not, in this case, "The Lord Jesus"), and not in Honor fo those who died and/or killed for the right to engage in such celebrations.

    No more War - not more Martyrs.

    That is what, at this time of celebrating the Re-Birth of the Sun and everything else that lies beneath it, we should be praying for; for, only when the kind of hatered that is inherent to the creation of Martyrs has been eliminated from the Earth, will we have something truly worth celebrating!

    Remembering that we were once "All one tribe" - that we all have ancestors for whom this was a time to celebrate Re-Birth; to (often, as in the Wicker Man Festival of the Northern European Keltoi Tradition) symbolicaly throw out the 'old' - the 'bad', and to hope/pray for a Newer, Better Future - is the First Step towards achieving this goal!

    Love... is God. Naam, as Gurbanicd ji correctly points out, is all of ours - not jusy Christians, or Jews, or Muslims, or Buddhists, or Sikhs...
     
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