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Reaching Out To Community

sikhconvert

SPNer
Aug 28, 2016
18
16
23
Las Vegas
This section of the forum seems dead. But I'll post anyway.

I've never been to a gurdwara or any place of worship. I've been doing a lot of research on Sikhi and would love to attend my local gurdwara. I'm basically not sure if I should email them first and ask for help or just go in one day and just sit and observe? Should I buy a patiala suit to wear and not stand out? Is a normal salwar suit with tighter pants suitable? I only have skinny jeans and cardigans, I'm not sure that's modest enough. I simply don't know where to start in terms of meeting Sikhs and entering the gurdwara.
 

swarn bains

Poet
SPNer
Apr 9, 2012
500
139
going to gurdwara is open to all. there is no clothes restriction. you wear what you normally wear. only thing is when u enter the gurdwara you must remove your shoes and conver your head with some small cloth. those small cloth pieces are lying a box where people remove the shoes. then go and bow down in front of Siree Guru granth sahib. the best way to do these actions would be just stand at the gate and observe what the other people are doing. after bow down generally people put some money at the place according their wish where people bow down. that money is used for the daily expenses including food which is served daily to all present there. Then sit down with other people of your own gender. depending upon the size of the gurdwara the easy way to introduce yourself to other people is to do service in the kitchen. then start conversing with the workers there. and tell that you are new and ask for guidance. people will be glad to guide you
 

sikhconvert

SPNer
Aug 28, 2016
18
16
23
Las Vegas
going to gurdwara is open to all. there is no clothes restriction. you wear what you normally wear. only thing is when u enter the gurdwara you must remove your shoes and conver your head with some small cloth. those small cloth pieces are lying a box where people remove the shoes. then go and bow down in front of Siree Guru granth sahib. the best way to do these actions would be just stand at the gate and observe what the other people are doing. after bow down generally people put some money at the place according their wish where people bow down. that money is used for the daily expenses including food which is served daily to all present there. Then sit down with other people of your own gender. depending upon the size of the gurdwara the easy way to introduce yourself to other people is to do service in the kitchen. then start conversing with the workers there. and tell that you are new and ask for guidance. people will be glad to guide you
I see. Thank you for your reply! Should I just enter and ask if I can help with service in the kitchen? I'm very shy and don't want to be out of place and standing around.
 

Harkiran Kaur

Leader

Writer
SPNer
Jul 21, 2012
1,393
1,907
You could check to see online if your local Gurdwara has a website and a contact email. And then explain what you just explained above, that you are new to Sikh faith but want to explore more by coming to the Gurdwara and you were wondering if there is someone they could pair you up with to make your first time easier. (not that its difficult at all) but sometimes just going with another family who you have met beforehand will help!

When I first started going to the Gurdwara here, almost 6 years ago now, I was nervous like REALLY nervous. I actually found their contact information online and sent an email. The response was very fast and luckily we had already some converts who were not Punjabi (You may have heard of Martin Singh in Canada, he is a politician who ran for NDP leadership a few years ago. He is a convert, full Amritdhari, and had been living Sikh path for 2 decades nearly) So they put me in contact with him. He met me first outside the gurdwara and then I went the first time with he and his family. (His wife IS Punjabi - he is caucasian). So his wife took me under her wings to speak :)

Now fast forward few years later, I was first Kaur in Royal Canadian Navy to tie turban (and had to fight for it) I have been on the executive management committee two years in a row now for our Gurdwara and I am very active and regular there. I have also taken Amrit, and I am now married to an Amritdhari Singh who lives in Kashmir (we are working on bringing him here) So it seems like a distant memory that I was ever that nervous gori who awkwardly went there for the first time LOL.

You will be fine :) Even if you cant get hold of someone in advance, just ask the first person you see when you enter the Gurdwara to show you around :) You will be welcomed trust me!
 

sikhconvert

SPNer
Aug 28, 2016
18
16
23
Las Vegas
You could check to see online if your local Gurdwara has a website and a contact email. And then explain what you just explained above, that you are new to Sikh faith but want to explore more by coming to the Gurdwara and you were wondering if there is someone they could pair you up with to make your first time easier. (not that its difficult at all) but sometimes just going with another family who you have met beforehand will help!

When I first started going to the Gurdwara here, almost 6 years ago now, I was nervous like REALLY nervous. I actually found their contact information online and sent an email. The response was very fast and luckily we had already some converts who were not Punjabi (You may have heard of Martin Singh in Canada, he is a politician who ran for NDP leadership a few years ago. He is a convert, full Amritdhari, and had been living Sikh path for 2 decades nearly) So they put me in contact with him. He met me first outside the gurdwara and then I went the first time with he and his family. (His wife IS Punjabi - he is caucasian). So his wife took me under her wings to speak :)

Now fast forward few years later, I was first Kaur in Royal Canadian Navy to tie turban (and had to fight for it) I have been on the executive management committee two years in a row now for our Gurdwara and I am very active and regular there. I have also taken Amrit, and I am now married to an Amritdhari Singh who lives in Kashmir (we are working on bringing him here) So it seems like a distant memory that I was ever that nervous gori who awkwardly went there for the first time LOL.

You will be fine :) Even if you cant get hold of someone in advance, just ask the first person you see when you enter the Gurdwara to show you around :) You will be welcomed trust me!
Your post was very helpful! May I ask what you believe is appropriate clothing for a gurdwara? I don't want to appear immodest
 

swarn bains

Poet
SPNer
Apr 9, 2012
500
139
you do not have ask anyone to join and do service in the kitchen. Only thing you have to watch that you being from a different background do not start doing something which the others are not doing. so once again go and stand there and watch what the other people are doing and then you make up your mind what you want to do and join and slowly start the conversation with someone you want and ask for advice. they will be happy to help you. good luck
 

Harkiran Kaur

Leader

Writer
SPNer
Jul 21, 2012
1,393
1,907
Your post was very helpful! May I ask what you believe is appropriate clothing for a gurdwara? I don't want to appear immodest
I wore khakis and a longer tunic top first time (one that kind of covered my hips). I also had my own scarf. I just went to sears scarf section (not winter scarves but the thin silk ones) and I got one of those (I kind of matched my outfit so I had khaki tan loose pants, a white and tan tunic top and a tan silk scarf). I only wore that stuff for a few weeks though. I quickly bought salwar kameez to fit in, since its what all the ladies wear (well 99% of them) but mostly because sitting on the floor in western pants doesn't work the greatest LOL Salwar Kameez are soooooo comfortable. But I was nervous wearing those first few times too, for different reasons (wondering if I would offend anyone - but don't worry.... you wont!! My experience has been that Aunties love it when we do!) Anyway I now ALWAYS wear Punjabi suits (or pakistani suits which have straight leg instead of baggy and are longer - my hubby is in Kashmir and Pakistani style is big influence there). But to start, just wear some loose pants like khakis and try to wear a longer shirt that no chance of midrif showing. You can either use the scarves they have or bring your own.
 

sikhconvert

SPNer
Aug 28, 2016
18
16
23
Las Vegas
I wore khakis and a longer tunic top first time (one that kind of covered my hips). I also had my own scarf. I just went to sears scarf section (not winter scarves but the thin silk ones) and I got one of those (I kind of matched my outfit so I had khaki tan loose pants, a white and tan tunic top and a tan silk scarf). I only wore that stuff for a few weeks though. I quickly bought salwar kameez to fit in, since its what all the ladies wear (well 99% of them) but mostly because sitting on the floor in western pants doesn't work the greatest LOL Salwar Kameez are soooooo comfortable. But I was nervous wearing those first few times too, for different reasons (wondering if I would offend anyone - but don't worry.... you wont!! My experience has been that Aunties love it when we do!) Anyway I now ALWAYS wear Punjabi suits (or pakistani suits which have straight leg instead of baggy and are longer - my hubby is in Kashmir and Pakistani style is big influence there). But to start, just wear some loose pants like khakis and try to wear a longer shirt that no chance of midrif showing. You can either use the scarves they have or bring your own.

I see, time to shop I guess.
 

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