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Sikh wedding have many events each with their own important and symbolic meanings, below is an explanation of some of the Traditional Sikh Wedding Ceremonies.

Roka

The Sikh wedding ceremony begins with the Roka or Thaka. Once the families of the bride and groom agree to the union of the couple, the groom and his close family members, visit the bride’s family. This is to show to the community that the couple are now engaged and will accept no other offer for marriage. A respected family members offers Ardaas (prayers) for the happiness of the couple. The groom’s mother then presents her future daughter-in-law gifts (in the form of a Chunni, sweets and cash). The bride’s parents then offer their son-in-law a Shagan (token gift) in the form of cash and sweets to formalize the announcement of the engagement.

Sagai/Kudmai/Kurmai

This is the formal engagement ceremony. Laden with a complete collection of fine clothes, accessories, jewelry and toiletries, the groom’s family members go to the bride’s house along with the groom. The ceremony begins with prayers and kirtans (singing of hyms) in the presence of the holy book of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib. The bride’s mother gifts her son-in-law various gifts (including sweets, cash and jewellery). The bride will also receive gifts from her mother-in-law. Finally, the couple exchanges rings promising each other a life-long commitment of togetherness.

Maiya

The Maiya ceremony is a traditional Sikh wedding ceremony where the bride and groom are blessed with a mixture of turmeric powder and yogurt to give them glowing skin for their wedding day.

Sangeet

Is a fun-filled evening with music, dancing and drinking. Customarily, dancing to the beats of the dholak (small drum) was what sangeet meant. But in modern times, the dholak has been replaced with the DJ and sangeet promises to be a grand affair of fun and frolic.

Mehndi

At the Mehndi, family members and friends of the bride gather at the bride’s house. While the henna is being applied the bride is given advice by older women on married life.

Gana

This ceremony marks the tying of the auspicious red thread on the right wrist of the groom and the left wrist of the bride. Along with the gana, other auspicious items like cowrie shells, an iron key chain, pearls and a small bundle of sugar are also tied for good fortune.

Vatna

Taking place just before the wedding day, a paste made from barley flour, turmeric and mustard oil is applied to the bodies of the bride and the groom for cleansing and beautifying them. This is followed by a ritual bath.

Gharoli

Simultaneously at the groom’s place, the groom’s sister-in-law accompanied by other female family members go to a nearby gurudwara to fill an earthen pitcher (gharoli) with water which is used to bathe the groom after the vatna ceremony.

Khare charna

The groom sits on a stool with cloth covering his head, one women holding each corner of the cloth. He is then given the ritual bath before he starts getting ready for the wedding.

Choora Chadana

This in when the bride puts on the red and white ivory bangles, which are a gift from her maternal uncle. Before the bangles car put on they will be dipped in kachchi lassi (buttermilk). After the ritual bath, the bride puts on the kuvaar dhoti (last ensemble worn by her as a maiden gifted by her mother-in-law) and they say prayer before the Guru Granth Sahib. After this, the bride’s uncle and aunt embellish her with the bangles, which have been blessed by five married ladies. The bride also wears a kada (steel bangle) on each wrist onto which her family and friends tie the kaleeran (dangling golden baubles) they are believed to bring in good luck.

Sehrabandi

Sehrabandi refers to the ceremony of tying the sehra (veil) onto the turban of the groom by his sisters which is first blessed by each member of the family. As well as the groom, the sarbala (usually a young nephew of the groom) is also dressed up for theevent, who is to remain a faithful companion of the groom till the wedding gets over.

Ghodi Chadna

The groom and his sarbala are well be accompanied to a well decorated mare. After the mare has been fed horse gram by the groom’s sisters, he and his sarbala mount the mare to make their way to the wedding venue. The groom’s sister-in-law now applies a touch of kohl to the groom’s eye, symbolic of warding away the evil eye. Finally, the sisters and female cousins of the groom braid the bridle with vagaan (golden tassels) who are later gifted by the groom’s mother.

Milni

A simple ceremony where both families exchange well wishes on meeting each other. This is followed by light snacks and tea before the religious ceremony begins.

Anand Karaj

The Anand karaj generally takes place at anand vela (early morning). But if it doesnt, it must conclude before noon. The bride is accompanied by her father, sisters and friends to the venue and is seated on the left of the groom. A respected member of the community or Gurdwara conducts the ceremony. Everyone is requested to stand for the ardaas after which all bow down in front of the holy book. The bride’s father next ties the knot between the bride’s veil and the groom’s stole, symbolically unifying them and giving away his daughter away in marriage. After this, the groom leads the bride four times around the Guru Granth Sahib, each round interspersed with hymns. The ceremony concludes with another ardaas and is followed by the vaak (guru’s counsel) which is done by opening the holy book and reading out a random verse from the page on the right. Karah parshaad (holy food) is distributed and the couple is garlanded.

Doli

Doli is a very emotional part of Sikh weddings and this is when the bride leaves her parents home after her wedding. The bride is usually accompanied by a younger brother or cousin. A doli is a cot suspended by four corners from a bamboo pole. It is usually carried by four male family members of the bride. doli refers to the ceremony of a bride departing the home of her parents and a decorated car is usually provided for this purpose.

Reception

The groom’s parents host the wedding reception which is a formal introduction of the newlyweds to the extended family and friends.

Phere pauna

This is the bride’s first visit to her maternal home after the wedding. They are greeted with gifts and blessings. This marks the end to the wedding festivities of a Sikh wedding.

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