Sikhs in USA showcase a floral spectacle
1st Jan 2018, USA: Members of the Southern California Sikh community highlighted a deep routed principle within Sikhism, ‘Langar’ at their fourth consecutive Rose Parade float. Langar is a free community kitchen a part of every Sikh temple. It’s a place where visitors can get a vegetarian meal regardless of caste, religion or stature in society.
Formally called the ‘Tournament of Roses’, the parade is a 129-year-old American tradition that attracts up to one million visitors and is broadcast live across the US.
Utilising 90,959 flowers and 500 pounds of vegetables, the float will symbolise the meals that can be expected in langar hall. It will also showcase beautiful brick walls, a marbled dome roof and scalloped arches to replicate those found at the Darbar Sahib.
“All castes and genders sit down on the floor and eat the same food,” said Bhajneet Singh, a La Canada-Flintridge resident and volunteer working on the float.
The float will symbolise langar by depicting the Golden Temple’s community kitchen in Amritsar, India, which runs around the clock and serves more than 100,000 people daily, Singh said. The float will be decorated with large cooking cauldrons, fruits and vegetables, and rotis, or bread.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism, started the langar practice and community kitchens in Sikh temples became places of rest and refuge over the centuries.
This would be the fourth consecutive year for a Sikh float appearing at the popular Rose Parade in California.
“Growing up in California, it was always a dream to see a Sikh float in the Tournament of Roses Parade,” said Bhajneet Singh, a member of the Sikh committee responsible for the float entry for the fourth consecutive year.
“The theme of langar really speaks the values of Sikhism and the work that we are doing to help our communities every day here in California and across the world,” he said.
The Southern California Sikh community feeds thousands of people across the greater Los Angeles every month.
“From the Khalsa Food Pantry every Friday evening to the monthly barbeques and visits to Skid Row, we are constantly trying to bring langar to those most in need,” said Singh.
According to Singh, the Rose Parade will be an opportunity for millions of Americans to learn more about langar – an important aspect of Sikhism.
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