Wedding

Sikh Pre and Post Wedding Ceremonies, Rituals and Traditions

A wedding is undoubtedly one of the most special moments of a couple’s life. It’s an astonishing phase that leaves the couple all mesmerized. It connects people from two families and brings them so much closer to one another.
Sikh marriages are considered to be one of the most enchanting marriages of all time.

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They are full of love, culture, and excitement. Also referred to as Anand Karaj ( which means blissful union), Sikh marriages consist of numerous rituals that hold very deep significance in their lives.

The pre-wedding ceremonies start from around 5-10 days earlier than the main event that is “Anand Karaj.”
In today’s article, we’ll cover all the pre-wedding and post-wedding ceremonies plus traditions that are held in a Sikh marriage. So grab a cup of coffee and keep on reading so that we can take you through all the rituals that are held in a Sikh marriage.

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Now, let’s dive into the Sikh pre and post-wedding ceremony –

Sikh Pre-Wedding Ceremonies

There are 14th rituals and ceremonies performed in sikh and panjabi families as shagun or as a beginning of wedding ceremonies, which are as follows:

1. Roka and Taka Ceremony

Roka is generally the first step of a marriage in which both the families meet at the bride’s home. Sweets, clothes, and gifts are exchanged as a token of love between the families. Taka as the word suggests “set the date” is contemplated to be very extraordinary as the date of the wedding is fixed on this event. Parental consent is a significant characteristic in Sikh weddings so this is why it also highlights the involvement of parents as their continuous support and love towards the children.

2. Kurmai (Engagement Ceremony)

Kurmai is the engagement ceremony that is held in Sikh families. It has its importance. Rings are exchanged between the couple. Both the families also exchange gifts and the bride’s family gives kara ( bangle) to the groom. The bride is draped with a chunni ( a beautiful dupatta). She is also showered with several gifts like jewelry etc. The tilak is applied on the groom’s forehead as a blessing by the bride’s father. After all formalities, the guests are served food and drinks.

3. Sangeet Ceremony

Sangeet is a fun and lovely event that is usually held in the bride’s house. It’s filled with music, joy and so much fun. Many songs are sung and played with drums. Nowadays people also prefer inviting DJ to their place for dance parties and further enjoyment. Dinner is followed by the whole fun and music.

4. Mehendi Ceremony

Who can forget the all-time favorite ritual that is Mehendi? On this occasion henna paste( Mehendi) is applied to the hands and feet of the bride. Mehendi artists are called for mainly female members of the family. Some amount of Mehendi is also applied to the groom’s hands. It’s a fun occasion that takes place with so much enthusiasm and affection. It’s usually held 2-3 days from the wedding. This occasion is also mixed with sangeet in several families to add glamour to the whole ceremony.

5. Chooda Ceremony

It’s yet another fun-filled function in which the chooda is bathed with milk and Rosewater before presenting. Once the bride wears the red bangles, a white shawl or cloth is wrapped around them so that she can see them directly on the main event, i.e the wedding ceremony.
After the chooda ceremony, the umbrella-shaped golden metallic ornaments called kalire are tied to her hands. After that, the bride moves kalire over the heads of all the unmarried friends and family. In whichever head the kalire falls is considered to be the next one to get married.

6. Maiya

Maya, also known as the cleansing ceremony is a vital part of any Sikh wedding. Oil is applied to hair on both bride and groom. Similarly, turmeric paste is applied all over the body. A red hopeful cloth is held over their heads which is held by female relatives.

7. Gana

An auspicious and sacred occasion in which a red thread is tied on the right wrist of the groom for good prosperity and protection from evil.

8. Vatna

Vatna, also known as the Haldi ceremony is yet another celebration in a Sikh wedding. In vatna, a paste of turmeric and mustard oil is applied to the bride’s body by her friends and relatives. It’s supposed to bring glow and radiance to the bride’s and groom’s bodies. It is then followed by a bath. Wedding songs are also sung on this occasion.

9. Ghara Gharoli

This ceremony takes place after vatna, the groom’s sister in law gives water ( often holy water taken from gurudwara) in an earthen pot that is used for the bathing procedure. This ritual takes place in the bride and groom’s houses.

10. Jaggo

Jaggo is celebrated in the last remaining hours of the night. The event starts with fun, music, dance and so many other interesting activities.

11. Warna / Varna

Varna is a typical Sikh ritual in which money is waved around the bride and groom’s head for good fortune. Surma is also applied to keep off evil’s eye.

12. Ghodi Chadna

It’s the initial step towards the baarat where the groom takes his first step to climb the horse to start the marriage. Little rituals like cash waving, applying Surma take place to ward off evil’s eye.

13. Baarat

Along with family members and friends, the groom proceeds to the wedding venue. It’s a fascinating celebration that includes music, dance on their way to the venue.

14. Milni

Milni is a traditional Sikh ritual in which the bride’s family welcomes the groom as soon as he reaches the wedding place or gurudwara. They exchange sweets, garlands, gifts, money, etc.

Sikh Wedding Day Ceremonies

Jaimala and Anand Karaj are the two significant sikh and panjabi wedding ceremonies every couple waits for. It is the moment when the bride and the groom get to see each other and then the couple gets the bond of life by taking vows in Anand Karaj.

15. Jaimala

Also known as varmala, the bride and groom exchange jaimals ( garlands that are made of beautiful flowers) on each other. This ritual brings them closer to divine love.

16. Anand Karaj

Anand Karaj is the main wedding event, Also known as “blissful union” as it’s a celebration of union and love. The priest of Gurudwara reads the holy book that is GURU GRANTH SAHIB to make this beautiful event happen.

The priest explains the importance of marriage to the couple and their duties towards one another. The lagan pheras take place with great joy in front of the holy fire. The groom applies sindoor to the bride, which has its importance in the culture. Eventually, the groom applies sindoor on the middle of the bride’s hair.

Eventually, the couple takes blessings by touching the feet of the family members. “Juta chupai”  also takes place in which the sisters of the bride hide the shoes of the groom in exchange for a fee for just fun.

Sikh Post Wedding Ceremonies

Though girls or brides leave their parents and their house to move with her husband in the vidai ceremony, reception marks as a new beginning of life and is celebrated with complete enthusiasm.

17. Vidai Ceremony

Vidai is the time when the bride officially goes to the groom’s house and leaves her earlier one. She bids emotional farewell to the family and departs for the groom’s home. After that, she is supposed to throw a handful of rice backward to show respect, prosperity, and love towards her parents. The mother-in-law of the bride welcomes both in their house.

18. Reception Ceremony

The groom’s parents welcome the newlywed, to an event called paani bharna. It is one of the fascinating rituals of a Sikh marriage which is held to celebrate the couple. They also invite friends and family to proceed with the event with lots of fun, music and dance performances, etc. After which food and drinks are enjoyed by all. It can be celebrated in various ways depending upon families but it’s always a special one.

The very next day the newly married couple visits the bride’s parents.
So that was a peek at the fascinating sikh pre and post-wedding ceremonies.
Let us know if we missed any special occasion of a panjabi or sikh wedding ceremony in the comments below.

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