Sikh volunteers were out and about in Crawley on Bank Holiday Monday, giving out free food and drink for the festival of Chabeel.
Baljit Kaur Kang, welfare officer for the Sikh Temple in Spencer Road, Crawley, said they ran the event outside County Mall in Crawley town centre, and it was ‘very well received’ by the community.
He explained about the tradition: “On May Bank Holiday Monday 28, Crawley Sikh temple Siri Guru Singh Sabha of Spencer Road invited the people of Crawley to enjoy some Indian cuisine entirely for free.
“This is part of a 400-year-old tradition annual celebration called ‘Chabeel’ a Sikh commemoration marking the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Sikh Guru.
“In 1606 the Guru was burnt alive by Mughal Emperor Jahangir in an attempt to have Him change religious scriptures which ultimately led to the death of the Guru.
“Turning a negative event into something positive Sikhs mark this part of history by providing sweet cold milk based drink called ‘Chabeel’ - so others do not suffer in the heat - to the people in their community.
“‘Chabeel’ was put together to bring back an old tradition and introduce Crawley to the Sikh ethos of Chardi-Kala (eternal optimism).
“Volunteers served up to 2,500 people on Monday including onion bhajis, savoury rice and fried bread along with soft drinks and water, volunteers also served up sweet rose milk, the traditional Chabeel drink.”