On Monday, Oct. 29, the CU Boulder Sikh Student Association (SSA) hosted its first Langar in the UMC Glenn Miller Ballroom. A 500-year-old tradition, Langar brings people of all creeds and religious backgrounds together to share in a meal. This is the first ever Langar to take place on a university campus in Colorado. The event drew hundreds of people from campus and the surrounding community.
According to Serene Singh, co-president of Sikh Student Association, Langar is all about acknowledging that everyone is equal.
“Sit next to one another, represent yourself equally, talk humbly and see how many things you can change just with that one interaction,” Singh said.
Students, upon entering the event, removed their shoes and were immediately given a taste of the Sikh culture. Sheets were laid out for people to sit and eventually eat on. Sikh hymns, known as Kirtan, were performed by a live singer, and the SSA handed out orange cloths for attendees to wear on their heads as a respect for the culture.
Introductions from SSA members followed, with information about Sikh culture and religion. Originating in India over 500 years ago, Sikhism believes that there is one Infinite Force and that everyone is equal in this light. As a result, Sikhs share a common humanity with everyone despite their differences. There’s no distinction between genders either with the deity in Sikhism not being gendered. It’s the fifth largest religion in the world currently and has one of the fastest growing communities within the Denver area.
“It honestly surprised me by how progressive of a religion it is,” Alex Paradise, a freshman, said. “It was a really cool opportunity to get exposed to something different.”
The event also featured a performance of gatka, a traditional martial arts practice which is only used in self-defense, before the SSA served traditional Indian food, all of which was vegetarian. Students participated in trivia about Sikh culture, as well as a raffle drawing for prizes. The night ended with sohila, a traditional evening prayer.
Omer Eldar, a sophomore, felt that it was important to raise awareness of what others may not know.
“They talk about how we were in a post-9/11 environment and the ability to raise awareness to show the goodness of the people that exist,” Eldar said. “I think it’s really important.”
Eldar believes that it is easy for people to remain uninformed of other communities and feels that the experience of other cultures is important.
“I think that community is one of the most important things we have as human beings.” Eldar said. “It’s what drives us … So I feel like coming to events like this and educating yourself and experiencing more culture than outside your dorm room is an important thing.”
Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Dustin Martinez at Dustin.Martinez@colorado.edu.
Lucy Haggard contributed to this story.