Guru Nanak Free Kitchen, a group, based in Auckland committed to providing free langar service with every last Saturday of the month hosted a special event on November 30 at Aotea Square commemorating Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary.
On this occasion, the group set up live music/kirtan stage at the Aotea Square and invited people for the langar service and to know more about Guru Nanak's life and teachings.
Associated with the Gurudwara Sri Guru Harikrishan Sahib in New Lynn, the group sets up a stall in front of Auckland City Library every last Saturday of the month serving free food to the people and distributing free food bags to the homeless in the city.
"For a long time we have set up our stall serving free food to the people in the city- the whole purpose of this activity is to spread the word of Guru Nanak's teachings and message- and have kirtan playing on our system," Sukhvinder Kaur Bassan, founding member of Guru Nanak Free Kitchen told The Indian Weekender.
It is estimated that approximately 400 people turned up to the food stall between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 30 at Aotea Square who not only queued for the delicious langar served there but also enjoyed the live kirtan being played from the stage.
"This year, marking Guru Nanak Dev's 550th birth anniversary, we thought to make the 'free kitchen' event a little different- so we added the live music. We prepared a big poster, created a stage, arranged power and musical instruments and invited singers from our community to perform and entertain the crowd," Ms Bassan added.
The langar consisted around 500 chapatis, dal, curries, jalebis in desserts, tea as a beverage, salad, fruits and almost everything got over before the event ended at 8 p.m.
"We also baked a big cake to celebrate Guru Nanak Dev Ji's birthday and cut it at the event which was also served to the visitors to the stall," Ms Bassan added.
Ms Bassan further added that there was a lot of inquisitiveness amongst the visitors who enquired more about Guru Nanak, his life and teachings and his love for music.
"Irrespective of which holiday or event falls on the last Saturday, our team makes sure that the 'free kitchen' event goes as per schedule which means planning and getting the volunteers, preparing food, packing and unpacking the whole event, and arrange music at the event.
"Guru Nanak Dev believed in Seva (service) and his love for music (hymns/kirtan), and this is what we convey at all our free kitchen events in the city," Ms Bassan added.
Volunteers also went around the city with 100 food bags that consisted bean cans, fruits, tea bags, ready to make food packets, energy bars, water etc. distributing it to the homeless and people walking in the city.