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Sikh Names

Sikh names are picked at special ceremony called "Naam Karan" at the Gurdwara (sikh place of worship). After the birth the baby, one or both the parents or any relative, with or without the child, will go to the Gurdwara. There they make a request to the Granth (priest) that by God's grace they have a new arrival in the family and would like to have the permission of the Guru to pick a letter for the name of the child. The Granthi then says a special prayer and makes a request to the Guru Granth Sahib (Holy scriptures) for a letter to be provided for a name. The Guru Granth Sahib is then opened at random and the Guru's order is read. The first letter of the first word of the first paragraph is then offered to the parents to pick a suitable name for their child. The parents may choose a name there and then or they may go home and have a discussion with the family to approve of a name, but they must go back to the Gurdwara and inform the priest of the name they have chosen. An announcement is then made in the congregation and everyone is asked to call the baby by the name chosen. A greeting " Bole so nihal", is chanted by the Granthi and the congregation replies with, "Sat Sri Akal", confirming their acceptance of the name.

Most of the names of people born of Indian religions come from a Sanskrit origin (Sanskrit is an ancient language) but they take somewhat different shapes and pronunciation in different religions. In addition, each region and community in the vast country of India has its own peculiar accent and habit when pronouncing words, which are otherwise common in many languages. The Panjabi Language has a very close relationship with Sanskrit, but has adopted the "Parrot" pronunciation in stead of Sanskrit. For example, for Panjabis, the name Rajeindra is always pronounced as Rajinder, similarly Kamlesha is pronounced as Kamlesh.

In Sikh naming system there is virtually no difference between male and female names. The difference is only in the suffix " Singh" (for males) and " Kaur" meaning princess (for females) which is added after the first name. In some Sikh families there is now trend not to add the suffix e.g. Rajinder Singh Panesar becomes Rajinder Panesar. These sort of names sometimes cause grievance among Sikh people because it was a command of the Guru to use the suffixes Singh and Kaur after the first name rather than the family names; e.g. Rajinder Singh will be accepted more readily to be accepted as respectful than Rajinder Panesar.

Many different names with their meanings are provided but as explained earlier they are unisex names. To differentiate you should use the suffix Singh or Kaur, so for example, Devinder Singh is a male name and Davinder Kaur is a female name or Abhinash Singh is a male name and Abhinash Kaur is a female name.

Singh stands for Lion

Kaur stands for Princess

Traditionaly if a Sikh person's name is not picked from Guru Granth Sahib then if his/her name will have to be changed, when he/she is intiated (baptised). They new name will be picked from Guru Granth Sahib.

Every Sikh name has a meanning and Sikhs are expected to live up to there names.