Baisakhi And The Tradition Of Langar

Golden Temple, Amritsar Cuisine Canvas

The festival of Baisakhi signifies the solar new year as per Hinduism and Sikhism, it also marks the spring harvest festival where the farmers give thanks to god for the yield of the year. This day is celebrated with by preparing and sharing delicious traditional sweets and meals with family and friends, new clothes are bought, houses are cleaned and most importantly Gurudwaras are visited.

Baisakhi is also pronounced Vaisakhi, in some dialects depending on which state one resides in north India. Despite this being a day of significance to Hindus and Sikhs, it has the reputation of being a very secular festival, it has been historically known to be celebrated by muslims, christians as well as people from other religions.

A Gurudwara is a pristine holy place where the Guru Granth Sahib, the book containing the religious scriptures, is worshipped. Here langars are a belief of respect and seva (serving) where meals are served to all the people visiting the Gurudwara irrespective of their caste, religion, gender or ethnicity. 

A Home To All

Langars are served free of cost with a feeling of gratitude and respect. Gurudwara is said to be a home for every single person who is in search of food and shelter and therefore the food cooked is always vegetarian. 

People are equally invited for seva (serving) too which includes serving food, cleaning toilets, washing utensils, polishing shoes and any other daily activity in Gurudwara. The meal served includes kadi chawal, aloo puri, kheer, daal and the halwa in parshad. As langar is a community meal so the food is cooked and distributed in a community kitchen, everyone working together with a bond of brotherhood. Also, there are certain rules to be followed like covering heads, entering barefoot etc. 

Despite this being a day of significance to Hindus and Sikhs, it has the reputation of being a very secular festival, it has been historically known to be celebrated by muslims, christians as well as people from other religions.

The History

A special langar is prepared on occasions like Baisakhi and Gurupurabs especially in Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Bangla Sahib, Gurudwara Paonta Sahib and other days of significance in Sikhism. 

Turning round the clock, this practice was started by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in a journey of fighting against caste system in Indian society during 13th and 14th century. He is the founder of ‘Sikhism’ which means ‘seeker of knowledge’ in Punjabi language and he made langar an integral part of Sikhism. He was the first guru of Sikhism and was born in Kartarpur, 1469 and was followed by 9 others, ending the counting with Guru Gobind Singh who died in 1708. Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as the Golden Temple in Amritsar was built by the fifth guru of sikhism, Guru Arjan Dev Ji. 

Find Help Indeed

According to their culture, The Sikhs are encouraged to donate ten percent (daswandh) of their wealth, time, or resources to a worthy cause like Langar Sewa and this helps Gurudwaras in providing resources. Langars are recognised as a sign of ‘Faith’ in sikhs and indulge in various activities in gurudwara to help the less fortunate.

Giveback

At a time like this when, we are under threat from an unseen enemy, the coronavirus; those of us with means are safe and well nourished within the comfort of our home, we must not forget those who have lost their livelihoods and their lives have been disrupted. These helpless citizens have become dependent on the Government and NGO’s for the absolute very basic. We at Cuisine Canvas will be making donations to the PM fund, the CM relief fund, Gurudwaras and NGOs that are on the frontlines providing support to those citizens of India fighting for survival. We recommend you do the same with your choice of government fund or NGO, if you can.

If you are not able to make any monetary contribution, then you can serve in your own little way by feeding the poor, sharing your groceries with the people in need or even feeding the street dogs.

Your help no matter how big or small is appreciated, Thank you.


Help where you can, how you can.


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