Punjabi wedding Customs
The Punjabi wedding rituals are very larger-than-life, but at the same time these weddings are very religious. Rooted in tradition and filled with the brimming enthusiasm of the Punjabis, these weddings are something else. The Sikh wedding rituals often involve the family and friends who gather around a marriage hall called ‘mandap’.
So here are the detailed rituals which take place at a Sikh wedding –
Pre Wedding rituals
- Akhand Paath: This is the ceremony where the entire Guru Granth Sahib is read within 48 hours. The book must be read without a break. Hence a group of readers are called in, who read it usually from Friday morning till Sunday morning, a week before the official wedding.
- Kirtan: The raagis or the music players play the music which is then treated with the utmost respect because they recite the Holy Scriptures. The Gurudwara that is hosting the wedding will provide these raagis to the wedding home.
- Ardas: supplementary prayers are recited. Proper etiquette is to be followed by the Sikhs during this time – covering their head with dupatta or cloth. The book is opened to a page at random and read from top to right hand side.
- Karah Prasad: Offerings are given to the almighty. These offerings are often fruits, nuts and sweets, which are prepare by the bride’s family or the Gurudwara. Vegetarian food is served.
- Shagan: The bride’s family visits the groom’s with gifts which are called “shagan”. They put saffron tika on the groom’s forehead which symbolizes he is welcome into the family.
- Chunni Chadana: The groom’s family gift a red chunni or red wedding dress and makeup, jewelry, perfume, etc. to the bride to dress up for the wedding ceremony.
- Warna: Relatives and parents of bride and groom wave some money clockwise over their heads. The money is donated to charity and blessings are sought from ancestors. It is done to ward off evil eye.
- Sangeet: Punjabi folk songs are sung. These songs have been passed down through generations and form an important part of the wedding. Both bride’s and groom’s family celebrate it in a hall.
- Mehndi: The female relatives from the bride and groom’s side apply henna on their hands and feet along with the bride. Turmeric paste is also applied on the bride’s skin.
- Choora: Choora or bangles are washed in milk. Bride’s maternal uncle slips them onto her wrists and blesses her. While the bride begins getting ready for the wedding, her family ties strings dipped in turmeric and saffron on her wrists to symbolize good fortune.
- Baraat: The groom traditionally comes mounting a horse along with his entire extended family and friends. Traditionally the horse must be white, but nowadays people enter with cars, etc. too. Men cover their heads usually during groom’s entrance, while he is taken in by the bride’s family with sweets and cheers. You can also read an article to know about Wedding |Barat |couple| groom| entry ideas and songs
- Milni: The groom then enters the mandap and some prayers are chanted from the Ardas. After that the bride’s father gives the groom an envelope with some money. Only men are present at this event.
- Anand Karaj: The marriage custodian brings out the holy Guru Granth Sahib to which the guests bow after covering their heads and removing their shoes. They offer some token of money also. Both bride and groom then come to the mandap.
- Lavan Pheras: The wedding officiator reads prayers and welcomes blessings from the Lord while the bride and groom go for their seven rounds – bowing to the Guru Granth Sahib after each round. The bride’s father ties her pallu with the groom’s cloth to mark their unity. You can aslo read an article to know about the Hindu wedding rituals 7 promises or Vachan meaning & importance
- Anand Sahib: the ceremony is concluded with humming of the Song of Bliss or the Anand Sahib. The Karah Prasad is then taken out and eaten immediately after the ceremony to mark the joyous event.
- Garlands: The couple now exchange rings and eat the Prasad. The groom’s father also puts a garland on the couple, followed by the mother and the parents of the bride. This way they receive the blessings of their elders.
- Lunch: This is more like an unsaid ceremony because this is how it usually happens. After the exchange of the garlands the bride and groom go to take lunch. The extended family and the relatives of the couple also sit to have their lunch at this point. The Sikh weddings happen usually in the morning hence they conclude by the lunch time usually.
- Joota Chhupai: While the bride and groom have gone to take lunch the bride’s sisters are plotting another story. They have stolen the groom’s shoes and they won’t return it until the groom has paid them to do so. This ritual marks the end of the wedding rituals. The bride’s sisters and the groom bargain to come to terms.
Post wedding rituals
- Sadaa Suhagan: The bride changes her wedding clothes and wears clothes that her groom’s family gifted her. It is symbolic of her shifting into her new family. She then receives blessings so that she may never experience widowhood.
- Reception: This ceremony is hosted by the groom’s family where the groom’s family, friends and parents are present. Food, drinks and bhangra are enjoyed while the couple welcomes the guests.
- Doli: The bride formally leaves her parent’s residence. This ceremony used to be performed in a ‘doli’ in previous times. Now she goes by a car with her husband. She flings rice behind her to wish them joy, before proceeding to go.
- Welcoming Aarti: The bride arrives at the groom’s place finally and she is welcomed into the home after an Aarti. A prayer is done and petals are showered on her upon her entry. Sweets are savored and lamps are lit.