Sikh Weddings

A Sikh Wedding involves festivities that take place over a period of time. It all begins with the engagement or Shagun that signifies the beginning of the wedding celebrations. On the engagement, the families exchange gifts and take the opportunity for the two families to get to know each other.

PRE-WEDDING CELEBRATIONS and RITUALS

The Engagement

The responsibility of the engagement usually falls with the Bride’s father. Gifts are sent to the Groom’s family that include dry fruits, money and jewellery.

Tilak Ceremony

A priest from the Gurudwara applies a Tilak to the forehead of the Groom to mark the engagement. After the Tilak has been applied, the Groom’s father gives gifts to the Bride and her family that include clothes, jewellery, coconuts, rice and henna.

Choora

Red and White bangles are placed on the bride-to-be hands by her maternal aunt and uncle. Some families also place light ornaments of silver or gold tied to the bangles called Kalira.

Maiya

On the occasion of the Maiya, which is a pre wedding custom, the bride and the groom are not allowed to leave their house for several days before the wedding.

Gana

Gana is an auspicious red thread that is tied to the right wrist of the groom and the left wrist of the bride. It is considered to be a good omen for the bride and the groom and it protects them from ill omens.

Vatna

The ritual of Vatna is celebrated a few days before the wedding ceremony where Vatna, a mixture of scented powder consisting of barley flour, turmeric and mustard oil is applied to bodies of the bride and groom, separately in their homes, and is followed by a ritual bath.

Sangeet and Mehndi Ceremony

Usually on the eve of the wedding, the Mehndi ceremony is celebrated where henna is applied on the hands and feet of the bride.

Gharoli

On the morning of the wedding, at the groom’s place, the groom’s sister-in law, or elder sister are accompanied by other female relatives to fetch an earthen pitcher or Gharoli with water which is later used to bathe the bridegroom.

THE WEDDING DAY

The Milni ceremony takes place at the Groom’s house, where his sisters tie a sehera or floral veil to the boy’s forehead and a garland of currency notes adorn his neck.

The Groom and his family then leave for the Bride’s house and the Milni ceremony is held with the elders of both families, where they meet and embrace each other and wish each other well.

Shabads are sung and the ardaas recited as the procession enters the Gurudwara. This is followed by a breakfast that is served to the guests.

The Wedding Ceremony

The Bride and the Groom sit together to attend the Guru Granth Sahib Kirtan and the groom drapes a chunni, that is handed over by the bride’s father, the Groom holds one end of it and the other end which is held by the Bride throughout the ceremony.

The bhaiji (priest) of the Gurudwara recites the hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, which are then sung as the Bride and Groom circle the Guru Granth Sahib.

The bridegroom walks ahead of the bride with a sword in his hand. Relatives and friends garland the newly wedded couple as the marriage ceremony is completed.

A banquet is then served to the guests and family members present.

Vidaai or Doli

Following the banquet, preparations are made for the Bride to depart from her father’s house with her husband and his family. To mark the occasion, the Bride throws back handfuls of rice over her shoulder to mark prosperity for her parents and the family she leaves behind to start her new life.

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