Customs And Etiquette

Customs And EtiquetteDevotees must sit crosslegged on the floor and must never point their feet towards the holy Guru Granth Sahib as a sign of respect. All those who enter the hall must remove their shoes, wash their hands and cover their heads before entering. On entering the hall, devotees walk slowly and respectfully to the main throne (called the 'takht') on which the Guru Granth Sahib rests. Devotees then stand before the Holy Scriptures, often say a silent prayer, offer a donation (if able), then bow humbly. These manners and practices, though seemingly ritualistic in modern times are actually a well preserved extension of the ancient Punjabi practice of respect for elders, ruling or religious persons.

When visiting a Gurdwara the following guidelines should be followed:

1. Head covering for men/boys will normally be available in the Gurdwara but a knotted handkerchief is acceptable.
2. Women/Girls will need to wear a headscarf or such head covering but they can also wear a knotted handkerchief.
3. On first entering the large prayer room (called the Darbar Sahib), a small bow to the Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book) shows respect to the 'Guru'.
4. Visitors will be offered Kara Parshad (sweet flour and oil based food offered as prashad) in the worship hall, which is accepted by cupped hands by the devotees.
5. There is no meat allowed in the gurudwara, only vegetables and organic food is allowed, as the Sikh society does not eat meat.
6. You may be offered Langar of vegetarian food from the communal kitchen. It is regarded as a blessing by the Guru.

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