Over a thousand bottles of water and 70 litres of Chabeel were handed out to members of the public in Leeds last week as Sikhs took to the streets for Chabeel Day.
Organised to raise awareness of the Sikh faith and to promote community cohesion, similar events were seen across the country to mark the sacred day.
Chabeel Day remembers the martyrdom of the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun Dev Ji, who was tortured by being made to sit on a red hot plate, whilst hot sand was poured over him.
Rather than mourning the event, Sikhs are asked to remember God’s will as ‘sweet’ and therefore the sweet drinks – known as Chabeel – are distributed to people of similar and different faiths.
Ripaljeet Kaur helped organise the events in Leeds and says she was surprised by the number of people that turned up to the event.
“We didn’t expect it to be that busy,” she said. “We managed to give drinks to people from all walks of life.
“We were going to do it from 11am to 3pm but we actually ran out of water an hour early, it was that busy. People were still coming up to us after we had finished and were packing away.
“This is the first time we have done it in Leeds and now, like Langar week, we are hoping to do it every year as an annual event.”
‘Chabeel’ is a Punjabi word referring to a sweet, cool, non-alcoholic drink.
It was served at the event, alongside water, by dozens of volunteers from the Sikh community who spoke with people about their faith and what they were doing on the day.
One volunteer, Jaspal Singh, said: “There was a real positive vibe and volunteers seemed more confident than ever when engaging in conversations with passersby.
“I was pleasantly surprised about how interest the public was in the Chabeel concept.”