Every Sikh’s fondest childhood memory is visiting the Gurudwara and eating a scrumptious Langar. Generally comprising of dal, sabzi, roti and Kada Prasad, Langar is a vegetarian meal cooked and served with love and devotion towards the Guru. Originally, ‘Langar’ is a Persian word meaning ‘an almshouse’ or ‘a place for the poor and needy.' The concept is to send no one home with an empty stomach keeping aside all differences. 

The main reason behind serving vegetarian food in Langar is to serve everyone equally. People with different dietary choices, religion, caste, creed, and race sit on the floor in lines called Pangat and eat the same food. The simple vegetarian food is served to bar the elites or upper-class people to turn Langar into a feast. Sewa is the guiding principle behind Langar. People of every gender and class amalgamate and prepare the Langar and then serve strangers with hearts full of love and compassion.

 

The entire idea of Langar came into being when Guru Nanak was just 12 years old and was given a mere amount of 20 rupees by his father to do “saccha sauda” (a good bargain). His father wanted him to learn his family business at the age of 12. However, to his father’s surprise, Guru Nanak brought some food and fed the poor, and called it the “true business”. This life lesson by the Guru constitutes one of the three main pillars of Sikhism i.e., Vand Chhako, meaning share what you eat. 

The preparation and serving of Langar is a beautiful sight to behold. People of all age groups and classes are seen to amalgamate in the Gurudwara and do Sewa. On auspicious occasions like Baisakhi, one can witness people cleaning, chopping, cooking, and rolling chapatis early in the morning. Gurudwaras all over the world are organizing Langar and serving people in times of need. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gurudwaras all over the world came forward to distribute food and shelter to those in need. Langar is a live example of the Punjabis being the bade dil waale.