Five Sikh Symbols

The Five Ks are the five items of dress and physical appearance given to Sikhs by Guru Gobind Singh when he gathered together the first members of the Khalsa on Vaisakhi day in 1699.


  • Uncut hair, which is kept covered by a distinctive turban. Kesh are a traditional symbol of holiness in India, and the turban is a symbol of leadership.


  • A ceremonial sword, symbolizing readiness to defend the defenseless, and defend one's faith against persecution.
  • The kirpan is normally worn on a cloth belt called a gatra.
  • The kirpan exemplifies the warrior character of a Sikh.


  • A steel bracelet, symbolizing strength and integrity.
  • Steel is symbolic of strength yet resilient under stress. In the same way, the human soul must become as strong and unbreakable as steel which has been tempered in the furnace.


  • A wooden comb, symbolizing cleanliness and order.
  • The kangha is used to keep the hair clean. As a Sikh combs their hair daily, he or she should also comb their mind with the Guru's wisdom.


  • Cotton boxer shorts, symbolizing self-control and chastity; prohibition of adultery.


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