Published On: Aug 06 2012 11:22:56 AM EDTUpdated On: Aug 06 2012 03:07:12 PM EDT
Sikhism is the world's fifth most popular religion. A monotheistic faith, followers believe in equality and service to others, according to CNN. Sikhism emerged more than 500 years ago in Punjab, in what is now India. It was founded by Guru Nanak, a non-practicing Hindu who was against rituals and praying to idols.
There are 25 million Sikhs around the world, about 700,000 of which live in the United States. Most Sikhs are in India.
Doing good deeds is important for Sikhs to be with God after death. Sikhs believe that if you don't live a life full of good deeds you will be reborn and repeat the circle of life and death.
Sikhs do not have a particular day of worship, he says, but due to the American work week, Sunday is a popular day for services. The first gurdwara, the place of worship for Sikhs, in the United States was built 100 years ago in California.
Doors open at 6 a.m. for prayers during a typical service. A formal service includes the singing of hymns and a team of leaders who have studied the faith reciting from the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism's holy scriptures.
At the end of the service, congregants pray for the "well-being of the world" then head to the langar, the community kitchen that serves meals for anyone who wants one.
Most Sikh men don't cut their hair and wear turbans and beards. Especially after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Sikhs have experienced increased discrimination and hate crimes as people associate the men’s turbans and unshaved beards with Muslims and Islam.
Many American Sikh women dress like other Westerners or wear the salwar kameez, a traditional north Indian garment of a long shirt and loose-fitting pants.