Langar collection

Fonds/Collection, 2023_03

Today, langar refers to the large, free communal meal that is offered to those who visit Sikh gurdwaras anywhere in the world. Langar is an integral part of Sikh religious practices and all those who join the meal are treated equally regardless of race, gender, class, or caste. The practice of langar is furthermore tied to the practice of seva (selfless service), as the kitchens are run by volunteers. Gurdwaras globally work to ensure that they are able to provide those who visit them with meals that are nourishing and healthy. In accordance to Sikh faith, the meals are also most oftentimes fully vegetarian. The history of langar dates back to the early years of the Sikh religion and was first introduced by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism and the tradition has continued on for centuries. In the fall of 2022, the University of the Fraser Valley’s Library and the South Asian Studies Institute partnered together to curate an exhibit focussing on the practice of langar in Sikh Gurdwaras. The exhibit explained the significance of langar halls and the practice of providing food in Sikh Gurdwaras, while also explaining the importance of langar in the Sikh faith and providing context to its global impact. The exhibit traced the diverse history of langar and acknowledged the various different cultures that have practised a form of the tradition. It explained the various customs and traditions surrounding the practice of langar and provided insight into the deeper meaning of the types of food that is served in Gurdwaras. It also emphasized the practice of seva, or selfless service. Using images, artifacts, and written features, the UFV Library exhibit included both an online exhibit and a physical display case that was located at the University of the Fraser Valley’s Abbotsford campus library.