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Turban Day unwinds the barriers


On a sunny Saturday afternoon in April, a corner of Aotea Square in downtown Auckland is a burst of brightly coloured swathes of cloth flapping about in the wind. In the midst of the crowd, there’s a bustle of activity, as turban-wearing Sikhs expertly tie long lengths of material around the heads of willing models. They have all come along to experience what it’s like to wear a turban, and to find out more about Sikh culture.

Turban Day, held in April, was organised by the Sikh Youth New Zealand group, in collaboration with the Khalsa Foundation NZ. The aim was to help people understand Sikh culture and their religious beliefs, and to experience wearing a turban, which is one of the most visible signs of a Sikh’s identity.  As well as promoting equality, the colourful headpieces also serve a practical purpose, which is to keep their long hair neat and tidy; the 10th Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, ruled that  Sikhs must not cut their hair on any part of the body.

Hillsborough resident, and the event’s spokesperson, Harvin Singh Hans, has lived in New Zealand for the last three years, emigrating here from Malaysia. He says the Sikh culture is one of acceptance and equality, and the turban-tying event is a way of breaking down the barriers, and showing people that there is no mystery to their religion and culture.

He says a commonly-held misconception is that only male Sikhs wear turbans. Although the head covering used to only be worn by high ranking males, now it can be worn by men and women from all walks of life.












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