Naming a Sikh child

The main rites of passage during the life of a SikhThe main rites of passage during the life of a SikhBBC RELIGION & ETHICS, RETRIEVED 2013

Nam Karan is the baby-naming ceremony in the Sikh faith. The Guru Granth Sahib is opened and the first letter of the first word in the top left hand corner of the page will be the beginning of the child’s name. A girl will also be given the name ‘Kaur’ and a boy will be given ‘Singh’.

The ceremonies related to birth and naming are set out in the Rahit Maryada.

  • Soon after the birth of a child, the family and relatives go to a gurdwara.
  • They sing hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib that express joy and thankfulness.
  • The holy Hukam should be taken.
  • The child's proposed name starts with the first letter of the hymn revealed by the random opening of the Guru Granth Sahib following the prayer of thanks. After its acceptance by the congregation, the name is announced. Parents normally suggest the name to the granthi, which is then proposed to the congregation.
  • A boy's name must have the suffix 'Singh' and the girl's name must have the suffix 'Kaur'.
  • The Anand Sahib or 'Happiness hymn' is sung.
  • A prayer of thanks for the naming ceremony is made.
  • Karah Parshad is distributed to the congregation.

The naming ceremony confirms that the baby belongs to God and will live in God's presence forever. The child's life is centred round the gurdwara and the Sikh community. The community will support and protect the child as he or she grows up and gets to know more about the religion and how to put the religion into practice during their life.