From Langar, With Love: Reflections from the 2018 Parliament

It’s only my second day of the conference, but I already know my favorite part. (For the record: I reserve the right to discover a new favorite part, just in case.) Let me preface this favorite-part declaration with an explanation that I am pretty new to the interfaith world. I grew up in a community that was predominantly one religion, and I’m a member of that religion. Interfaith interactions were few and far between simply because my community was fairly homogenous. I became involved in interfaith work last year when I started my graduate program. All of that introduction is meant to explain that I had never heard of an amazing thing called…Langar!

Langar technically means “kitchen” but more generally refers to the free meals that are offered every day at Sikh temples throughout the world. The meals are vegetarian so that everyone, regardless of dietary restrictions or religious traditions, can eat. Everyone eats together, sitting on the floor with their heads covered and their feet bare. This structure of communal eating emphasizes that all people are equal. In addition to offering Langar every day at Sikh temples, the Sikh community in Toronto is providing Langar to attendees at the Parliament of World Religions.

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