This mouth-watering video by City Spoonful exploring the Sikh tradition of the “langar meal” caught our eye this morning. City Spoonful’s Arpita Aneja visited the Staten Island Gurudwara, in Concord, to take part in the tradition of a free, communally prepared vegetarian meal following the religious service.
Langar is not meant to be a charity meal or a donation to the poor. Instead, it’s a way of bringing the community together.
The meal itself exemplifies two of the most important tenets of Sikhism: equality and community service. That egalitarian philosophy is emphasized by the custom of eating langar on the floor, where everyone literally sits at the same level.
“If you go to any langar hall, you can see that everybody is sitting on the floor,” says Gurpreet Singh Sodhi, a member of the Staten Island Gurudwara. “You’re all sitting at the same level and having food together.”
The meal is prepared entirely by congregation members who volunteer to cook at the gurudwara. The food is strictly vegetarian, which ensures that no one is excluded from the meal.
“Anyone and everyone who visits the gurudwara can have langar,” Sodhi says.