For a Sikh, hair is taken into account sacred and certainly one of 5 bodily non secular symbols. Others embrace a chrome steel bracelet referred to as a kara, which represents infinite love and equality, and a kanga, a comb that’s carried to signify good hygiene. As soon as baptized — in a ceremony referred to as Amrit Sanskar, which might happen at no matter age one feels prepared to totally commit to 1’s religion — Sikhs imagine in letting their hair develop out of respect for God.

Whereas hair is actually related to a way of delight for a Sikh, it’s additionally believed that preserving it uncut and uncoloured is a part of main a humble life. To guard their ever-growing strands, males typically select to put on turbans. Girls are welcome to put on them as effectively, but it surely’s a lot much less widespread. Right here, two Canadians make clear their each day reference to their rising hair.

Pictures by RENATA KAVEH

She says…

Gurpreet Ahluwalia says that she will depend on one hand the variety of instances she has gotten a trim in her 36 years. And it exhibits: The Sikh Toronto-based spouse and mom’s hair falls all the best way all the way down to her knees. “I haven’t taken my Amrit but, however I’m on that path,” she says.

Though she has but to be baptized, leaving her strands of their pure state is a customized that Ahluwalia grew up with. “My mother and father saved my hair lengthy and untouched,” she says. “I used to be form of a tomboy rising up, so leaving it uncut didn’t actually trouble me.” Ahluwalia, who has a background in style advertising and marketing, didn’t notice how dramatic the size seemed till she was in highschool. “It wasn’t that I needed to maintain my hair uncut, however I used to be anxious about disappointing my mother and father if I didn’t. I dabbled with trimming it, but it surely was at all times underneath the pretense that it could make my hair more healthy,” says the Parsons The New Faculty graduate, who has labored for each Holt Renfrew and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Ahluwalia’s lengthy hair clearly requires further care. The load doesn’t trouble her, however she braids it from high to backside earlier than mattress to maintain it in place and easily twists it right into a bun for day-to-day put on. “My each day hair routine is easy, however I do think about it religious,” she says. “Simply brushing my hair is a each day reminder that I’m engaged on connecting to a sense of oneness and common power.” She used to shampoo it each day (like with many religions, cleanliness is related to godliness in Sikhism), however after struggling appreciable breakage postpartum, she reduce to twice per week. One factor that has helped with the standard of her hair after giving beginning is returning to the follow of oiling, a standard Indian customized. “I hadn’t oiled my hair since I used to be younger, however I’ve discovered it has actually helped enhance its power,” says Ahluwalia.

As she’s gotten older, Ahluwalia has not solely come to understand the religious significance of leaving her locks uncut but in addition solid an emotional attachment to them by her dedication to her cultural id. “I’ve a profession in style, so I’ve plenty of vanities, however my hair isn’t certainly one of them,” she says, laughing. “Hair isn’t simply bodily for me; my hair is my greatest confidante. We’re in it collectively, for all the pieces.”

sikh man with hair in a turban
Rup Magon. Pictures by YVONNE STANLEY

He says…

Rup Magon finds himself speaking about his turban on a regular basis. “It’s the very first thing folks see even earlier than they see me,” he says. The Toronto-based singer-songwriter wears his turban out of a way of cultural id. “I’m proud to be Sikh, however I can’t say that I’m significantly non secular,” says the co-lead of Josh — a fusion band that has been on the South Asian music scene for 20 years. “It’s attention-grabbing how the turban mechanically will get related to faith. Many cultures have been carrying the turban for hundreds of years. I put on mine as a manner of preserving my very own.”

Whereas most first-generation Sikhs in Canada come from Punjab, India, Magon’s mother and father — each practising Sikhs —  have been born in Nairobi, Kenya, and immigrated to Saskatoon within the late ’60s. Magon himself was born in Montreal and grew up within the ’80s getting common haircuts. “I used to be 10 years previous and going to a French college after I determined to develop my hair lengthy and put on a turban,” he says. “I’ve at all times been somebody who likes to do issues off the overwhelmed path, and connecting to my household’s tradition was, in a manner, uncharted territory for me.”

Making the life-style change positively turned out to be a little bit of a tradition shock. The singer, who turned the primary Sikh to be a lead on a Canadian comedy collection — Decoys, on CBC Gem — says he went from having a typical haircut to going into Grade 5 with a patka (a bandana teenage Sikh boys normally put on instead of a turban). “You possibly can think about that carrying a patka in 1980s French Canada can be brutal,” he says. Nonetheless, Magon says that whereas his cousins, who went to close by colleges, skilled having their patkas ripped off, he was lucky that he didn’t encounter any overt racism regardless of being certainly one of two visibly Sikh college students in his college.

Tying his turban each morning has turn into second nature for Magon. Nonetheless, he notes, Sikh males who put on turbans frequently typically undergo from alopecia, a sort of hair loss, sooner or later of their lives. “Having your hair tightly wound right into a bun or joora each day for years or many years is unquestionably laborious on the hair, however we think about it a noble dedication and sacrifice,” he says.

Magon says that for essentially the most half, he has extra of a relationship along with his turban than the size of his hair. “I’m proud that we dwell in a time the place the turban is turning into extra celebrated, particularly in our broader Canadian tradition,” he says. “Extra high-profile Sikhs are displaying themselves as cool, modern guys who honour their heritage with their turbans — every in his personal manner. It’s not ‘Oh, we put on a turban and we do all these different issues.’ We’re folks first. I’m Rup, and I occur to put on a turban.”

This text first appeared in FASHION’s April subject. Discover out extra right here. 

The put up Two Sikh Canadians on How Their Hair Connects Them With Their Identification appeared first on FASHION Journal.

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