The scent of curry wafted from a conference hall in Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday as thousands lined up for LANGAR at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, an international gathering that, every five years, brings together thousands of people from different religious and spiritual traditions. Nishkam Centre, a U.K.-based Sikh organization, hosted the free […]
The scent of curry wafted from a conference hall in Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday as thousands lined up for LANGAR at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, an international gathering that, every five years, brings together thousands of people from different religious and spiritual traditions.
Nishkam Centre, a U.K.-based Sikh organization, hosted the free lunch with the help of dozens of volunteers.
Orderly queues, barefoot, heads covered, sitting in Pangat; the diverse world enjoys Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen ie. Langar.
People from other faiths remarked that this it was the perfect message of Inter-Faith and Oneness.
“You are about to eat food that has been blessed, and so we cover our heads out of respect,” one volunteer told The Huffington Post.
Geetika Kaur, another volunteer, stood at the front of the line offering a quick explanation of the langar tradition to those about to partake in the feast.
“The gurus started this tradition to say, ‘Regardless of who you are, where you come from, what your background is, you’re welcome into this space,'” Kaur told HuffPost. People are encouraged to break bread together, she added, and “share that common humanity that binds all of us together.”
Langar meals were offered every day of the five-day conference. Amrick Singh Ubhi, the director of Nishkam Centre, estimated that up to 6,000 people had been fed on Saturday alone.
Thousands partook of a free langar meal on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, during the Parliament of the World’s Religions.
“In modern day terms it is simply a case of equality,” he continued. “It doesn’t matter if you arrived in your private jet outside or whether you had to scrounge money together to get bus fare to get here. We’re all equal before God.”
Once diners got to the front of the line they were invited to sit on the ground and were offered a plate, spoon and cup. One by one, volunteers came by dispensing spoonfuls of vegetable curry, raita, rice and salad from giant buckets. They handed out naan, apple and banana slices and poured generous cups of water and mango lassi. Anyone who desired another helping of food needed only to ask to receive it.
The langar meal included two types of curries, rice, raita (a side dish made from yogurt), salad, naan (an Indian flatbread) and mango lassi.
“We sit on the floor in order to sit amongst equals,” Singh Ubhi said. “It is about keeping good company.”
For William Hwang, an educator who lives in San Diego, the langar was more than a shared meal. It was a form of spiritual fellowship that “feeds your body and feeds your soul.”