The wedding is a special moment for anyone belonging from any religion as it is the occasion, or should I say the festival which unites not two beautiful souls with one another but brings two families together. Every religion has its own style when it comes to weddings, but nothing fascinates me more than the Sikh wedding rituals which are very beautiful and unique and will leave you mesmerized.
For better understanding, we can divide the rituals into three phases. One that takes places before the actual marriage ceremony, rituals that are followed during the marriage ceremony and rituals which takes place after the marriage ceremony so that we can assess it with more precision.
Pre Sikh Wedding Rituals
Basically, there are lots and lots of Sikh wedding rituals which takes place before the wedding such as Roka Ceremony in which the families of the bride and the groom commit to one another that from this day, from this moment they are united and absorbed into one big family. Here in this ceremony both the family exchange gifts, fruits and other valuable items.
The Sagan Ceremony is organized by the family of the groom with great fanfare where they beautiful decorate the house or the place where the event takes place and the father of the bride applies tilak in the forehead of the groom. In this ceremony, the bride’s family offers lots of valuable gifts to the family of the groom.
Another important ritual in a Sikh Wedding is Chunni Chadai Ceremony which takes place either during the Roka ceremony or during the Sagan Ceremony depending upon the wishes and will of both sides of the groom and the bride. In this ceremony, the sister or mother of the groom puts a red veil on the head of the bride and offers her lots of gifts, jewelry and clothes as a token of love and appreciation.
The most common pre-wedding ritual not in the Sikh community but in other religions as well is engagement ceremony or in common word sagai where the bride and the groom exchanges ring with one another. Apart from the ring ceremony, the bride family gives lots of gifts and valuable items to the groom family and the groom family in return gives gifts and valuable items to the bride.
Next is the mehendi and sangeet ceremony which is a kind of fun fair which takes place in the house of the bride as well as of the groom where dance and a lot of games are organized. During this time Mehendi is applied on the hands of the bride where the initial of her to be husband’s name first letter is also encrypted on it.
Wedding Day Rituals
There are a lot of traditions and rituals which goes into a Sikh wedding such as Chooda ceremony where the uncle of the bride, Mamaji gifts her a combination of red and white bangles which is known as Chooda to the bride during the time of her wedding which is immersed in a large bowl of milk.
Another ritual which takes place during the wedding is the Haldi ceremony where the bride and groom are applied Haldi by all their relatives primarily the women of the house. There is a popular belief that applying Haldi to the bride and the groom glorifies their skin and makes them beautiful and attractive for their wedding. Also in this ceremony, all the elders give their warm greetings & wish to the bride and the groom.
There is another ritual known as Gana Bandhana where a sacred thread is tied with to the groom’s and bride’s right wrists and the knot is tied so tightly, it can’t be opened easily, and it takes a lot of time and effort to untie it.
In Gharoli ritual, the sister in law of both the bride and the groom bring water in earthen pots from the gurudwara which the soon to be married couple uses for the bath just before the wedding. It is one of the most important rituals of the wedding as the couple cannot bath on the water that is easily available at home.
Apart from the rituals given above there are other common rituals such as sehrabandi and ghudchadai, varmala where the bride and the groom exchange garland, kanyadaan where the bride’s father gives her hand to the groom after which the groom ties mangalsutra on her neck and applies sindoor on bride’s forehead and others who are attending the wedding showers flower petals on the couple and last but not least is joota chupai where the friends and sisters of the bride hide the shoes of the groom and is only returned in exchange of cash or shagun.
Post Sikh Wedding Rituals
The most primary post-wedding ritual includes Vidaai Ceremony where the bride bids farewell to her home and throws a handful of rice behind without looking at backward and her mother collects the rice with her pallu. It is the most emotional moment of the whole wedding.
Grah Pravesh is a ritual where the groom’s mother brings a plate of Arti and greets them with that after which she asks the bride to toss the vessel of rice in front of her with her right foot after which the couple finally enters to the house.
Gana Kholna is the last from Sikh wedding rituals which takes place in a Sikh wedding where the couple tries to untie the thread tied on the right hand in front of all the relatives and it is believed that one who unites his or her partner’s Gana first will dominate the married life.
Sikh wedding starts from searching for the right partner from Sikh matrimonial sites to Roka and engagement ceremony to wedding to Gana Kholna and it is one of a fascinating wedding which takes place in India and hence if you ever get an invitation to a Sikh wedding, try to make yourself involved in all their rituals, they are fascinating and very beautiful to witness.