Sikh Wedding Ceremony

Sikh Wedding Ceremony

A Sikh wedding is described as "Anand Karaj" - a ceremony of bliss, which is basically similar to the Hindu marriage ceremony but differs only in the use of religious text, which is from "Granth Sahib".

Pre Wedding Ceremony
Shagun
For "shagun" (engagement) the bride's family goes to the groom's house with all kinds of sweet, fruits and other gifts of clothes and jewelry. The girl's father (in his absence the brother or any other elderly male member of the family) gives the groom-to-be a gold ring, a "kara" (bangle) with a minimum of eleven gold mohra (sovereigns). These are later strung in to a black thread and put around the girl's neck after the wedding.


Chunni
After the "shagun", the groom's family (usually close female relatives) comes to the girl's house with the wedding "chunni" (veil) and is given gifts, gold ring and other jewellery. The boy's mother puts a bit of mehendi (henna) on the girl's palms to declare her engaged.


Mehendi and sangeet
The mehendi ceremony is celebrated with lots of fun and frolic. All the girls of the family and the bride's friends apply mehendi on the girls palm and feet and there is dancing and singing. Every one invited is given bundi ladoos as a take-away gift.


Battana and Nahai Dhoi
This is a ritual, which is observed by almost all the community, which is the ritual of applying paste of turmeric, sandal, cream and rosewater by both the bride as well as the groom. The bride/groom is scrubbed clean under the shade of a "bagh" ( phulkari cloth fully embroidered on the hand made cotton fabric, dyed at home). After the bath the bride is covered with the same "bagh" and lifted up by the maternal uncle and made to wear the "chura" (bangles of red and white) and the "kaliras", (the tinsel wedding ornaments) which are tied to bangles by sisters and friends of the bride.


The Wedding Attire
The bride usually dresses in a heavily embroidered "salwaar-kameez" or "lehenga-chunni". The groom also gets dressed in a brocade "achakan" (long coat) and "churidar pyjamas" and usually wears a pink turban. The male members of the family also wear pink turbans, in the presence of their relatives. Now the groom is ready to go to the marriage venue. The "barat" arrives at the bride's house in a procession with music, singing, dancing, and sometimes firing gunshots in the air as well and the male members of the bride's family receive them.


The Wedding Ceremony
A Sikh wedding always takes place before noon. "Raagis" sing hymns prescribed for morning worship and the "Diwar". When the morning hymns are over, the couple is made to sit in front of the "Granth Sahib". A priest first tells them the meaning of marriage and the duties and responsibilities involved in it. He reads the hymns of the marriage from the "Granth", which are sung along. A slight variation from the Hindu marriage ceremony is that in Sikh ceremony only four pheras are taken by the groom and the bride round the "Granth Sahib". At the end of the fourth round, people shower flowers on them and they are declared husband and wife. Then everybody present garlands and blesses them.

Post Wedding Ceremony
The bride leaves for her new home after the marriage. She throws wheat grains over her shoulders signifying that she is paying off her debt of food to the parental home. This ritual is called "doli". The doli is received by the groom's mother. A vessel containing wheat grains is placed on the door. Then the bride kicks the vessel full of wheat grain and enters the house denoting that now her food is in the new home and that her entry brings prosperity and abundance. She then steps into the house and is welcomed by the relatives, friends, and neighbors. Each one feeds her ladoos and gives her Mukh Dekhai (money to behold her). It is usual for the groom and his mother to gift her some jewellery as the Mukh Dekhai. The day after the wedding, the couple goes to the bride's parental home and is given presents and a welcome feast.

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