Punjabi Wedding Ceremony is basically a very lively function and is celebrated with
lots of zest and fan fare. The wedding ceremony consists of many rituals, which have
a distinct significance and charm. Punjab is truly one of the most colorful states
of India. People out here; lead their lives with fun and frolic. They live every
moment of their lives with a smile on their face. It is in this vibrant place that
Punjabi wedding ceremony is celebrated like a big carnival, exhibiting splendid grandeur.
Since ages, Punjabis have been indulging in elaborate marriage customs and rituals.
There are plenty of joy making traditional .There are special folk dance performances
including Bhangras and Giddas. Punjabi weddings are full of excitement and thrill.
Each ceremony is like an excuse for merriment.
The engagement ceremony
Most Sikh weddings are great fun occasions .The engagement ceremony is usually conducted
in the Gurdwara or at the home of the Groom-to-be. It involves Ardas, Kirtan , "Sagaan"
(Exchange of gifts) and Langar. In the "Sagaan" ceremony, the groom is presented
him with a kara, kirpan, Indian sweets, fresh fruits, dried fruits and nuts. The
bride-to-be's family in turn are presented with garments and sweets for the Bride-to-be.
The wedding day ceremony
The Sikh wedding ceremony is known as "Anand Karaj" which means 'Blissful Union".
The Sikh marriage is a very colourful and unique ceremony in which two individuals
are joined in a partnership of two equals.
It is not merely a physical and legal contract but a sacrament - a holy union between
two souls. The spiritual goal of any Sikh is to merge his or her soul (atma) with
God (Parmatma) and in marriage, the couple vow to help each other towards this goal.
The early part of the day is devoted to the religious ceremony which almost always
takes place in a Sikh Gurdwara (Sikh temple).
The bride is dressed in traditional shalwar and kameez or langa (a blouse and loose
trousers or long skirt). A heavy gold-embroidered shawl (chunni or dupatta) covers
her head. The groom is generally dressed in traditional shirt and trousers in summers
and mostly suit in winters and he wears a red or dark pink turban and carries a
coloured scarf (pulla).
The Anand Karaj ceremony is joyous and festive event in which families and friends
from both sides are heavily involved. The atmosphere is informal and lively. Most
Sikh wedding take place in the morning but there are no restrictions as to what time
the ceremony should start or end. The wedding event however will last for the whole
day and may spill into the next day. A wedding day will be a long and eventful affair.
The Sikh ceremony can be performed in any Gurdwara or venue where Sri Guru Granth
Sahib is in place. The ceremony is usually performed in the morning. If the ceremony
is performed in the Gurdwara, it commences with Milni, this is where the two families
greet each other, exchanging well wishes and garlands. Kirtan, which is a simple
ceremony and hymns from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, is performed as people enter the
Gurdwara. The men and women sit on separate sides from each other. They stand for
the Ardas, which is the common Sikh prayer.
The groom is seated first. Shortly after, the bride is led to her seat by her mother
and best friend, and is seated on the groom's left. The couple sit facing the one
who officiates the marriage, known as the pathi.
The singing of the Asa di Var, the Gurus' morning hymn, opens the ceremony. Other
hymns may also be sung at this time. The couple and their parents are asked to stand
while the Pathi prays before being seated.
The Pathi continues to go on to make a speech explaining the significance of Sikh
marriage. The Sikh Gurus have a very high regard for the state of marriage.
The Pathi then asks the bride and groom to signify their approval to their marriage
and if they agree to accept their duties. They bow before Sri Guru Granth Sahib to
acknowledge their consent. The bride's father places a garland of flowers on the
holy book, and on the bride and groom. He also places one end of the scarf in the
groom's hand, over the groom's shoulder and into the bride's hand, to signify that
she is now leaving his care to join her husbands.
The officiate goes on to read the Lavan hymn of Guru Ram Das, which is composed of
four verses. The groom, followed by the bride, walk around Sri Guru Granth Sahib
in a clockwise direction at the completion of each of the four verses, which symbolise
the four stages of love. After each time around, the bride and groom kneel and bow
towards Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Once they have walked around the Sri Guru Granth Sahib
four times, they are a married couple.
The religious ceremony is formally concluded by the entire congregation standing
for the final Ardas of the marriage. After this the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is opened
to any page at random and the hymn is read out as the days order from the Guru for
the occasion. Karah Prashad, which is a ceremonial sacramental pudding, is then distributed
Both sets of parents are first to congratulate the married couple. Friends and family
follow to present the couple with cash offerings in their lap. Everyone then leaves
for the dining hall to sit on the floor in langer, the community kitchen, and enjoy
a traditional langer meal.