It is interesting how organized religions came up with different ways of using religious attire to make a fashion statement. Today, we study the cultural origins of the attire of two such religions.
Ancient Hindu priests initially used to wear jet black apparel in the temples. They were a fashionable bunch. They were aware that the best way to defeat the competition was to look chilled out so as to attract the hip crowd.
However, there was a problem. The temples had dark interiors and after repeatedly bumping into each other with their lamps and dropping hot oil on each others' naked bellies, the head priest had had enough.
"Fuck this shit", said the head priest. "Something needs to change. My girlfriend keeps making fun of my hairless patches."
"Girlfriend?", replied his deputy. "Aren't you married?"
"I'm sorry, did I say girlfriend, I meant the village blacksmith", said the head priest, looking sheepish. "He makes fun of my patches. Anyways, the point is, we need better visibility in here."
"I have an idea", said the deputy. "Let us remove our dark sunglasses. Maybe that will help."
"Yes, it does help, but not quite", said the head priest after testing this hypothesis. "We need something else".
"I know what to do", said a young priest. He was no.5 in the priestly hierarchy but was brash enough for a no. 3. "Let's install light bulbs on the ceiling and the walls".
"Fool!", said the head priest. "Electricity won't be invented till the late 19th century. What do you propose we do till then?"
No.5 quietly slunk away to his corner, miffed. Only temporarily, though. You couldn't keep no.5 down for long.
Suddenly, the head priest squinted into the distance. "What is it that your wife is wearing", said the head priest to his deputy. "She is two kilometers away, yet I can see her from here. What gives?"
"It is my own invention", replied no.2, not immodestly. "I call this color 'saffron', or the color of fire. I make her wear it so I can spot her from afar, which allows me to carry out any necessary evasive maneuvers."
It was then that a light bulb suddenly switched on inside the head priest's brain
"That's it!", he exclaimed. "That's what we need in here. Fucking fluorescent saffron clothing. You're a genius. Just for that, I shall ask my "blacksmith" if he has any "friends" who will be willing to "forge" your "hot iron" for you", said the head priest, giggling at his cleverness.
And that's how Hindu clergy adopted saffron into their garb.
When prominent Sikh saint Guru Gobind Singh was discussing religious attire with his favorite disciple, he went to the crux of the matter.
"Look", he said, "Life is complicated as it is, what with the Mughals trying to fry us in giant pans and all. Let us keep it simple. How about we mount a few, fairly easy to obtain items onto our bodies and call it a day?"
"Certainly, it is a good idea, Sirjee", said the disciple. "Please continue".
"Before we go any further, let me just comment on your hair. Wow! I mean, wow!", said the guru with admiration writ large upon his face.
"Thank you, Sirjee", said the disciple, flattered.
"It is long, flowing, very few split ends and it glitters with a healthy radiance. It makes a very good first impression during all our sales presentations. Everybody should have your hair. In fact, let us make it a mandatory requirement. "
"Okay, Sirjee", said the beaming disciple. He was indeed, proud of his hair. "Rule 1 : Everybody should have 'Kesh'".
"But if you don't mind me asking, how do you manage to keep your hair in such a state of salubrity?", asked the Guru.
"I use goat saliva", replied the disciple.
"Goat saliva, eh?", said the Guru in a meditative voice. That could potentially hamper the spread of the religion to goatless lands. He tried another approach.
"My son", said the guru. "Goat saliva does indeed give your hair that distinguished, slicked back look, but how do you manage to stack it up in a geometrically perfect manner?"
"Oh, that", said the disciple. "I use a comb".
"Excellent", said the Guru. "Add the comb, or 'Kanga' to the list. By the way, you need to wear pants. Why are you not wearing any pants?"
"I was wearing pants, Sirjee", said the disciple. "They were stolen when I removed them in order to trim my fingernails".
"What?", said the Guru. "How....why did you....okay, nevermind. Here is the thing my son. We lose credibility when we go around preaching virtue with our junk hanging out", said the Guru. "Let us make pants, or 'Kacheras' compulsory. And here's a 'Kirpan' to help you fend off potential pant bandits."
"Thank you, my Guru", said the disciple. "That brings it to four items".
"Hmm.....Let's make it five,", said the Guru. "Something utterly useless, just for kicks, just so we stand out in a crowd. How about this ugly old metal bangle to wear on your hand?"
"The 'Kara' is a great idea, my Lord", cried the disciple. "As the saying goes, 'With your hands and feet, do all your work, but let your consciousness remain with the Immaculate Lord'. Perhaps this bangle will be a symbol of this reminder."
"Okay, whatever", said the Guru. All he really wanted was for his disciples to be clearly audible to his naked ears if they approached him while he was engaged in, let us say, activities of a delicate and private nature.
And thus were the Five Ks of Sikhism born.