Sikh Wedding Customs You Should Be Aware Of
Due to similarities in various cultural activities, Sikh wedding rituals are frequently mistaken for Hindu and Muslim wedding customs. Many components of a Sikh wedding emphasize interpersonal interactions between family members and the newlyweds, reflecting eventually on what is important in life. This celebration acknowledges both heritage and personal choice.
Experts Dr. Simran Jeet Singh and Lakhpreet Kaur were consulted to understand more about Sikh wedding customs. According to Singh, the Sikh religion has rituals displayed at wedding ceremonies.
The reception and other cultural activities are larger celebrations that can complement the marriage union. At the same time, the Anand Karaj, the Sikh religious wedding ceremony, carries a range of traditions catered to close family members. For the new couple and the Guru to jointly swear to live this way, Dr. Singh continues, “the Anand Karaj brings some form of bond between them.
While sangeets are typically part of South Asian weddings as well, they are not necessary for Sikh weddings even though most Sikhs are Punjabis. The essential components will remain the same, but individuals are free to add or remove certain elements based on their tastes.
Continue reading to learn about the main customs of the Anand Karaj wedding ceremony and a few traditional Punjabi wedding rituals.
Anand Karaj, which translates to “ceremony of joy,” takes place in a gurdwara, a place of worship for Sikhs. Singing from the Guru Granth Sahib is involved. The community will be allowed to hear shabads, or religious musical compositions, that members of the family or congregation have chosen to perform,” Dr. Singh explains. Kirtan, which is the singing of shabads, is the foundation of the event. Thanks to modern technology, “wedding parties will frequently receive a summary of what is happening in English or scripture translated in English. It’s a good method for those in attendance to be aware of what’s happening and participate in the event.
The bride’s family gives the groom a heartfelt welcome at the gurdwara at the Baraat, the groom’s arrival. According to Dr. Singh, grooms used to arrive on horses, but nowadays, they may even come in high-end vehicles like luxury automobiles or motorcycles. The upcoming union of the two wedding parties is an exciting beginning. Sometimes, the groom will be teased by the bride’s family, who would demand monies or gifts from him for him to enter the gurdwara. The bride is sometimes perceived as a “taken” husband; thus, he must “earn” his way to her. This is also done to follow cultural traditions.
The Milni, or introductions, are all about celebrating the union of two families. The responsibilities of the families are heavily emphasized, and everyone is introduced to one another separately to view the couple’s various relationships. Over a heated cha, or masala tea, the elderly get to know one another. The closest relatives of the groom are frequently given gifts of money and clothing, starting with the youngest.
Everyone stands together to meditate on their inner ideals during the areas of congregational prayer. The official ceremony begins when the wedding transitions from a more familial and festive event to something more religious, according to Dr. Singh. During this time, the pair initiates a significant life event and gets ready to be legally married. It serves as notice to the couple that they are about to pledge to the Guru that they will lead this lifestyle together. Before langar, there is one area at the beginning and one at the finish.
In the Laavan
The bride and groom sit on the floor next to each other in front of Guru Granth Sahib once everyone has made it into the gurdwara. Each line of the caravan (marriage prayer) is recited and sung by the Regis, or Sikh musicians, to indicate that the pair should circle Guru Granth Sahib four times. The couple’s public declaration that they plan to live a Guru-centered life together is made through the practice of strolling around, according to Dr. Singh. The Raavan, which connects the couple through four scripture verses and religious messages, is the ritual’s most important element. Lava, which means to separate or enter a new stage in life, makes it crucial as well.
Another important component of the Anand Karaj is the Sikhia, in which a community elder or veteran sits before the couple. According to Dr. Singh, they will provide advice on what the religious tradition teaches and what marriage entails from a Sikh point of view. This is crucial because, although life experience is subjective, sharing wisdom can help a couple actively forge a secure future. Sweet wheat pudding, langar, and kara Prashad are served at the Guru Granth Sahib’s official closing ceremony.
Jewelry is not necessary.
According to Kaur, jewelry and makeup are not essential for the wedding ritual because they have no religious significance. However, gcba weddings are encouraged by Punjabi culture to don striking cosmetics and substantial jewelry, such as gold necklaces, chorion, and tikka. In other weddings, the bride gets her mehndi applied on a different day. According to Kaur, the bride gets decked out in gold jewelry to ensure her financial stability in her new residence. People touch her arms to wish the bride well. She is wearing a set of crimson and white choorian or bangles. Some people think that the gem tikka, a necklace placed in the center of the forehead, can shield the bride from the “evil eye.” It is worn on her head.
According to Kaur, the bride’s female relatives will dance with pots on their heads decorated with oil candles during the jagged celebration. Jago, which means “wake-up” in the original language, would have traditionally taken place by announcing the impending wedding to the hamlet at night. The women are then welcomed with cha, barfi, and other Indian delicacies before dancing all night long around as many homes as possible. The event celebrates the bride entering a new house and starting a new life with her spouse, which is undoubtedly boisterous and joyful.