Philanthropy In A Global Context: The Langar

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The Gurdwara is a place where Sikhs will gather to worship the Guru Granth Sahib which is their form of holy book (Religions - Sikhism: The Gurdwara, 2009). The Gurdwara allows the Sikh community to learn spiritual wisdom, faith, ethics customs and traditions (Religions - Sikhism: The Gurdwara, 2009). Aside from its spiritual value, the Gurdwara is also recognized as a Community Centre, which offers food, shelter and companionship for those who need it (Religions - Sikhism: The Gurdwara, 2009).

After each religious service, it is tradition for all members of the Sikh community to gather and attend a Langar (, n.d.). No Sikh will leave without partaking in this communal meal. This free meal is an example of giving and is a way in which Sikhs express the equality of all its members. Despite being a Sikh, anyone who visits the Gurdwara is welcomed to take part in the Langar. This shows that despite sex, colour, religion, and economic status all are welcomed and valued in the community. This tradition symbolizes the Sikh’s rejection of prejudice (Grace, 2016). When preparing the meal for Langar all member including women, men and children are encouraged to participate (Grace, 2016). The meal itself is vegetarian (, n.d.). This is because the Sikhs recognize that vegetarian is the universal and widely shared meal across all religions and it thus further represents inclusivity and equality (, n.d.). Once the meal is prepared it is place in front of the holy book knows as the Guru Granth Sahib (Grace, 2016). Once being blessed the food is then equally distribute to all visitors and community members.

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Philanthropy is defined as a generous donation to a good cause (Philanthropy, n.d.). In the Sikh religion, one can see how the Langar is a community donation in which everyone participates in creating a meal so that all visitors and community member can be fed. The Langar involves “giving back” in several ways. For example, the Sikh community members who cook the meal offer their time and skill to create a meal to give back to the community. Some community members and local Sikh businesses donate the food itself. Breaking down the ceremony one can see how each component involves the donation of time, money and resources but benefits the community in a big way. By welcoming all, the Sikhs are demonstrating how important it is to not just give back to their own kind but to offer a hand to those who are not of the Sikh religion. By only cooking a vegetarian meal, despite not being vegetarian shows the effort, which is put in to truly, make the meal universal and equal for all.


  1. Grace, (2016). Here's The Rich History Of Langar, The Sikh Tradition Of Selflessly Feeding Thousands Of People. Retrieved from
  2. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  3. Philanthropy | Definition of philanthropy in English by Oxford Dictionaries. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  4. Religions - Sikhism: The Gurdwara. (2009). Retrieved from
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Philanthropy In A Global Context: The Langar. (2022, February 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 13, 2024, from
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