Today we are covering Some of the important Sikh wedding Rituals, This a Second post on of the Series on Indian wedding Customs and rituals.
First Post : Gujarati wedding Customs and Rituals
Before Starting with Customs and Rituals, We want to Clear the Confusion of difference wedding Customs between of Sikhs and Punjabi, Punjabi are people basically from punjab ,Punjab is a state of india like gujrat, maharashtra and others, its a hindu state and punjabi language is spoken over there. Punjabis living over there are hindus. In the time of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, a new religion was founded in india i.e: Sikhism. Now its like a coincidence the this religion was founded on the land of punjab and so naturally Sikhs from punjab speak punjabi. If it was founded in maharashtra or gujrat or Bengal then sikhs must be speaking different language. In nanded, Maharashtra, there are many maharashtrians who follow Sikhism, they wear turban and follow sikhism but speak marathi. So u see a sikh is not necessarily a punjabi, its a religion which any body from any state can follow and not necessarily be a punjabi or speak punjabi.
So We are Covering Today Sikhs wedding Customs and Rituals and one Can even Termed is As Punjabi wedding as it is pre-dominant in punjab
“Pre-wedding ceremony (Sikhism)”
This is the first step where meeting of two family members is arranged at brides home and the grooms immediate family members are invited. The word Roka means ‘to stop’And in this perspective it is to stop the search of partner as the perfect match has been found
The word Taka means to ‘set the date’ After roka this ceremony is conceded at brides place to set wedding date and preparations are made for engagement
This is a formal engagement ceremony which is performed at grooms place or gurdhwara
Family members are invited and groom presents the engagement ring. This is also when the brides family members offer kara (sikh steel bangle) to the groom. Engagement ceremony is started with a short prayer by granthi (sikh priest). After which red scarf is placed around the grooms shoulder along with dried dates according to granthis instruction and then grandfather feeds that dried dated to the groom after which food and drinks are enjoyed by all
This ceremony is performed by mother of the groom who cover the brides head with chuuni (red scarf) which represents that from now onwards she is responsible for upholding the honour and pride of her family. Bride is dressed in clothing and jewelery by her inlaws. Groom marks her head with sindoor (red powder) as sign of commitment. Grooms parents offer shagun (sweets) to bride and her family as blessings and acceptance of engagement. Gifts are exchanged followed by lavish celebration with lot of music and dance take place
Maiya (cleansing and purifying)
This function is performed by both families at their respective homes. This ceremony should be perform for 5days in total before wedding. Oil is brushed into bride and grooms hair with olive branches, and their body is massaged with turmeric powder. Girls performing maiya has red string (thread) tied around their wrist, during this ceremony red scraf is hold above the bride or groom’s head. At each corner of the scarf girls take turn to hold scarf and traditional songs are sung and enjoyed by all.
This ceremony is performed 5 days before the wedding till the d-day at the bride and grooms respective home. Savory and sweet items are cooked in large dish (karahi). Guest visiting home are served with appetizer as a gesture of blessing to bride and groom.
In this process gifts are exchanged at bride and grooms respective home leading by the uncle. Sometimes a priest performs small pooja (ceremony) before exchange of gift or this ceremony can be formal get together.
This ceremony is performed 1or2 days before wedding. Bride and groom both are adorned with henna (mehendi), the hand and feet are adorned with mehendi (henna), eucalyptus oil, clove oil and lemon juice water. Traditional dholak is played and ladies enjoy with folk dance and song. Ladies in the house also apply mehendi on their hands and leg as it is known as shagun. Mehendi is suppose to be symbolize the love of couple, darker the colour, stronger is the love.
Choora Ceremony (bangel ceremony)
This ceremony is performed at brides maternal home by her uncle giving her choora (21 bangel with red and cream color) which is bathed in lassi (yoghurt milk) and rosewater. Traditional folk songs are enjoyed by all the guest. After putting the choora the uncle covers it with shawl (subar) which represents breaking away from natural family and home. Kaliras (silver and gold hanging ornaments) are tied on the bangels by everyone blessing bride. Before leaving the room she touches one of her female friends with kalirah and its been said whosever head it falls next would be her wedding.
“On The wedding day”
This is performed by immediate family members of groom at his home or in absence of brides family. Sehra (a heavy embroidery veil) is fixed onto the grooms head which is then tied on turban. This moment is qite sentiment for grooms parents and sister as he becomes a mature and responsible man entering his new life.Lotif sweets and money is exchange. Sometimes priest is called to perform a small ritual
Soorma and Kalgi
The father of groom ties turban for him indicating that his son has become mature and responsible to support this family and start his new life. His sister in law adds kohl to line his eyes with soorma and his sister put a feather jewelry on his turban. As hes about to leave his sisters stop him and mischief’s about the eagerness he has to meet his bride, he is allowed to leave only after he gifts his sisters. After being anointed on oil he leave to meet his bride
Most of the people performs this ceremony as fun, the godi (horse) is served nuts and groom assembles on the horse. Traditional music and dance is performed by all the family members and they visit the venue of wedding by dancing.
After arrival of groom and his side to the venue, bride’s parents welcome them in a traditional manner by songs and hymns, individual introductions of both the family members is done where the foremost family member is greeted with garlands. This ceremony is performed by priest along with brides family member mainly by men
After this breakfast is been served to guest before ceremony begin
This is also known as “ceremony of bliss” which starts with kirtan- traditional singing of hymns. The bride is escorted in by her brothers and uncle while the groom sits in from of the holy book called “Guru Granth Sahib”. The priest leading this ceremony explains the sikh philosophy of marriage. After which the couple and their parents are asked to stand for prayers (ardas).
The Laavan (four prayers)
Laavan are the four prayers that seals the marriage, the bride and groom move clockwise around guru granth sahib as ragis finish the prayer. The couples bow to the holy book and wait for next verse. During this ceremony the groom is given one end of palla (scarf) on his shoulder and other end is hold by bride. After completion of laavan the worshippers showers flower on the couples in significance of blessing and the couple are officially married now. The ceremony is ended with final prayer and distribution of guruprasad to guest.
In this ceremony all the family members and guest bless couples with gifts or money for their best future and life.
This ceremony is just for enjoyment. The reception party is at location where food and drink is served and guest enjoy with lots of music and entertainment.
The bride is served her first meal as married woman. The meal is safeguarded with crimson shawl and presented with money and later shared with her husband.
The bride sits in a traditional doli which is lifted by four people, this is very emotional moment for her parents as their daughter is leaving from her home to start her new life. The mother of bride stands behind her holding a scarf or her sari palla while the bride showers rice all over the room with rice, praying her home to remain happy and prosperous forever and she is escorted to her car.
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