The Sikhs came to Hong Kong from the Punjab, in North India, as part
of the British Armed Forces in the 19th century. Because of their generally
strong physique, they also formed a large segment of the Hong Kong Police
Force before World War II.
Today, the community numbers about 8 000 and its members
are engaged in a variety of occupations. The centre of their religious
and cultural activities is the Sikh Temple at 371 Queen's Road East, Wan
Chai, Hong Kong Island. A special feature of the temple, which was established
in 1901, is the provision of free meals and short-term accommodation for
overseas visitors of any faith.
Religious services, which include hymn-singing, readings
from the Guru Granth (the Sikh Holy Book) and sermons by the priest,
are held every Sunday morning. The temple houses a library containing
a selection of books on the Sikh religion and culture, and runs a 'Starters'
school for Indian children aged between four and six to prepare them for
English primary schools in Hong Kong.
The main holy days and festivals observed by the Sikh
community are the birthdays of Guru Nanak (founder of the faith), Guru
Gobind Singh (the 10th Guru) and Baisakhi (the birthday of all