Students in Birmingham served up more than 500 free meals as part of an important Sikh tradition.
Birmingham City University Students’ Union and its Sikh Society hosted the ‘Langar on Campus’ in the Atrium at Millennium Point this week.
Langar, meaning kitchen in Punjabi, is an important institution in Sikhism, where free food is offered to anyone who attends. ‘Langar on Campus’ is an event organised by Sikh students in universities all across the world, where students, staff and community members from all backgrounds come together and eat. Everyone who can sits on a carpet together at the same level – signifying equality – and only vegetarian food is served so no one is excluded.
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This was the fifth time a large-scale langar has been held at Birmingham City University and the first in over two years since the outbreak of the pandemic. But the celebration proved as popular as ever with over 500 people from across the city converging on the University’s city centre campus to enjoy a hot meal and gain a greater insight into the Sikh faith.
President of Birmingham City University's Sikh Society, Rajveer Singh, said: “Our Sikh Society were delighted to hold our fifth Langar on Campus Event.
“It is always a joy to welcome people of all backgrounds to this communal celebration of oneness and equality, but this year’s event was particularly poignant as it is the first time we have gathered in such numbers since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic. We sincerely hope everyone enjoyed the event as much as we did.”
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Langar originated in 15th century Punjab by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism and the first of the 10 Sikh Gurus. It was designed to uphold the principle of equality as a sovereign kitchen where everyone eats together regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender or social status; a revolutionary concept in the caste-ordered society of India at that time.
Often, langars will be attached to gurdwaras, a place of worship for Sikhs. Traditionally, everyone shares the tasks of preparation, cooking, serving and cleaning in the langar, and food is donated from members of the local community.
One of the most famous langars is the kitchen at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, which provides food for upwards of 100,000 people during religious holidays and weekends.