For Sikhs, having a gentleman’s haircut is synonymous with having hair aligned with their religion, which is often why Sikhs tend to maintain long hair, referred to as their kesh.
Just as some Asian beard styles tend to be distinct, so too are the hairstyles and beards of Sikhs. To understand more about the importance of such hair in Sikhism, its reasoning, and some quick grooming tips that Sikhs can follow, you can go through the following sections.
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Importance of Hair in Sikh Philosophy and Practice
Keeping hair long is an essential part of Sikh philosophy and practice. Allowing your hair to grow out on its own is a sign of respect and adherence to man’s natural form as created by God. Since we were born this way, we must die the same way without altering our bodies too much.
This, in Sikh philosophy, is a testament to God’s will. As part of this practice, one of the five Kakaars that Sikhs follow every day includes combing the kesh twice a day using kanga, a small wooden comb.
However, men do not let their long hair loose. Instead, they tie it up into a bun or knot and cover it with a turban, another marker of the religion. They also usually keep long beards.
23 Reasons Behind Sikh Hair
Several reasons can help explain why Sikhs tend to keep long hair. You can go through these below.
Guru Said So
Guru Gobind Singh, who brought forth the five Kakaars, said that Sikhs must keep their hair long. As a result of this and as an affirmation of their religion, Sikhs tend to keep their hair long and uncut.
Guru Had Long Hair
Guru Gobind Singh and Guru Nanak were themselves believed to have long hair, along with the other gurus of the Sikh religion. For this reason, Sikhs tend to follow these teachings and practices and maintain long hair for themselves.
Connection to Guru Sahib
Maintaining long hair can directly connect Sikhs to their gurus due to the practices stated in the teachings. This can also help them feel connected to God and can be a way for them to live their life along with these principles.
Sikhism orders Sikhs to follow the five Kakaars, one of which involves keeping hair long. This order has often been reinforced over the decades by Sikh writings, gurus, elders and other religious heads. For this reason, Sikhs can follow this code of conduct by keeping their hair long.
Saintliness or Holiness
Many sages, saints, gurus and spiritual leaders keep their hair long. Sikh hair is also a sign of this kind of saintliness, not to mention that the gurus have also suggested Sikhs keep their hair long to convey this kind of holiness even in their daily practices and actions.
Devotion and Love
As an act of devotion to the Guru and God and out of love for them, their people and their religion, Sikhs tend to maintain and follow the practice of keeping long hair. This tends to keep them dedicated.
Since Sikhs believe that God created us with hair and that hair signifies the natural truth of bodies and beings, they tend to keep themselves aligned with this truth by presenting themselves as naturally as possible without any alterations that may deny the truth.
To attain a whole, natural and complete state of being, Sikhs tend to maintain long hair. Since the teachings suggest that following the five Kakaars can help Sikhs attain spirituality and advancement, the long hair can be a crucial step.
To denote the sovereignty of Sikhs, maintaining long hair is a common practice. It can help keep them away from social norms, styles and standards and continue maintaining devotion to their philosophies. This can help convey their sense of freedom and will.
Discipline is an important reason involved here. The five Kakaars are all meant to promote a daily sense of practice, discipline and devotion. Combing hair twice daily, tying it up and washing it regularly require patience and discipline.
Maintaining long hair can be a way to give up on beauty standards in the world. By keeping hair standards uniform and in line with other Sikhs, one can ensure that they keep their styles and egos in check.
Keeping the hair long in line with the five Kakaars can help boost self-esteem and confidence, allowing Sikhs to understand their role and live their lives with courage and will.
There can often be plenty of dualities involved in cutting one’s hair. Making the decision is not easy, which is why the fact that Sikhs cannot cut their hair reduces this kind of confusion in the first place.
Since all Sikhs tend to maintain long hair, this can serve as a common denominator that brings and keeps them together while also establishing their sense of identity and pride in their actions. This can be an excellent way to connect with others and bring people together.
All Sikhs are part of the same religion. Having the same kind of long hair and following certain daily practices can help build collective consciousness and denote devotion, faith, support and the fact that they are all one under the eyes of God.
The very basis of Sikhism is devotion to the teachings of the gurus and God. When all Sikhs carry out these teachings, they can feel a sense of kinship, supporting each other in difficult times. It also marks them all as equal.
Connection to History
Sikh history is rich and contains many moments of pride, strength and identity for them. This can bind them to their past and maintain their devotion to the present and future.
Gift from Waheguru
Waheguru, or God, gifted Sikhs their hair and made them unique. Thus, Sikhs try to appreciate the gifts of God without taking them for granted or trying to change them, which is why they maintain long hair, beards and body hair.
Waheguru Made Them This Way
Sikhs believe that since God made them how they are and gave them everything they have, they should stick to this creation and will without questioning it. This is why the long hair stays in place and involves plenty of care.
By maintaining long hair and wearing a turban, Sikhs can forge their identity to ensure solidarity among themselves and in the face of external threats. It can also help them reach out to other Sikhs.
Long hair, turbans and long beards can promote a fierce image of Sikhs, which can work for them to feel proud of themselves. This comes from their history as warriors.
Since you do not need to cut your hair regularly and keep growing it out, it is pretty inexpensive to carry out.
Antithesis to Renunciation
As opposed to some religions that get rid of their hair as a marker of renunciation, Sikhs indicate that they are very much part of the duties, joys and sorrows involved in the world and are still faithful and devoted.
Quick Grooming Tips
Sikh hair has strong ties with Sikh philosophy and the practice of religion. While regular care is involved when it comes to the hair and beard, there are still a few problems involved, such as hair loss due to the tug of the turban and exposure of the beard to pollution.
To reduce these issues, you can go through some grooming tips below.
- Sikhs should find hair oil for men that can help keep their hair healthy, nourished and moisturized so that they do not easily pull out and get damaged.
- Make sure you wash your hair regularly and let it dry out naturally. Avoid using the hair dryer too often, as this can weaken the hair.
- Make it a point to comb your hair twice a day. This is not only important in terms of religious practice but can also help remove the knots and improve circulation.
- When it comes to your beard, it is essential to maintain the beard vitamins, which you can do using beard oil. If you are wondering about the beard oil vs beard balm debate, you can start with oil and stick to it to grow the beard while using the balm sparingly for shaping. You should also wash your beard regularly.
- There are many beard comb benefits, so make sure you invest in one and use it to groom your beard into shape and remove the knots and dust. Choosing a beard brush that is reputed and suited to your beard can help.
- If you have difficulty growing your beard, you can use growth serums for facial hair. The same applies to the hair on your head.
- Try opting for a turban that is not too tight around your hair. Make sure you also figure out the right and comfortable way to tie your hair so that you can keep it from pulling too much.
What Happens If a Sikh Cuts Their Hair?
If Sikhs cut their hair, they directly and visibly oppose the Guru’s teachings while potentially facing anger and sometimes even shunning from the elders and religious heads. However, many young Sikhs are now opting to cut their hair, so the consequences can sometimes also depend on the context.
Can Sikhs Have Their Hair Open?
Generally, Sikhs need to tie their hair and cover it with their turban, especially since this is aligned with God’s philosophy of caring for the natural hair and preventing the public from touching it.
What Is the Significance of a Turban?
The turban, or the dastar, is worn by Sikh men to cover their hair. It signifies God’s will, equality, identity, discipline, spirituality, honor, self-respect, morality, courage and connection.
How Often Do Sikhs Wash Their Hair?
There is no universal answer to this, although it is essential to wash hair regularly to keep them neat, clean and healthy.
Can Sikhs Remove Hair from Their Body?
Sikhs cannot remove hair from their bodies, although younger people are now starting to.
Keeping hair long is an essential part of Sikh identity and religion. Ensure you care for your hair correctly and use the right products and practices to keep them healthy.