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Aakshi + Kunal

A Traditional Sikh Wedding

Over the span of 16 hours, we at Seven Ivory Brides got to become a part of a very beautiful, traditional Sikh Wedding. Through this post, we are explaining the meaning of each of the customs that were followed at the pre-wedding celebrations and on the day of wedding of Aakshi and Kunal.

Seven Ivory Brides - Sikh WeddingPre-wedding Ceremony

Roka:

This is the first step where meeting of two family members is arranged at brides home and the groom’s immediate family members are invited. The word Roka means ‘to stop’ and in this perspective it is to stop the search of partner as the perfect match has been found

Taka:

The word Taka means to ‘set the date’. After roka this ceremony is conceded at brides place to set wedding date and preparations are made for engagement

Kurmai (Engagement):

This is a formal engagement ceremony which is performed at grooms place or gurdhwara. Family members are invited and groom presents the engagement ring. This is also when the bride’s family members offer kara (sikh steel bangle) to the groom. Engagement ceremony is started with a short prayer by granthi (sikh priest). After which red scarf is placed around the grooms shoulder along with dried dates according to granthis instruction and then grandfather feeds that dried dated to the groom after which food and drinks are enjoyed by all

Chunni ceremony:

This ceremony is performed by mother of the groom who cover the brides head with chuuni (red scarf) which represents that from now onwards she is responsible for upholding the honor and pride of her family. Bride is dressed in clothing and jewelry by her in-laws. Groom marks her head with sindoor (red powder) as sign of commitment. Grooms parents offer shagun (sweets) to bride and her family as blessings and acceptance of engagement. Gifts are exchanged followed by lavish celebration with lot of music and dance take place

Mehendi:

This ceremony is performed 1 or 2 days before wedding. Bride and groom both are adorned with henna (mehendi), the hand and feet are adorned with mehendi (henna), eucalyptus oil, clove oil and lemon juice water. Traditional dholak is played and ladies enjoy with folk dance and song. Ladies in the house also apply mehendi on their hands and leg as it is known as shagun. Mehendi is suppose to be symbolize the love of couple, darker the color, stronger is the love.

Choora Ceremony (bangle ceremony):

This ceremony is performed at brides maternal home by her uncle giving her choora (21 bangles with red and cream color) which is bathed in lassi (yoghurt milk) and rosewater. Traditional folk songs are enjoyed by all the guest. After putting the choora the uncle covers it with shawl (subar) which represents breaking away from natural family and home. Kaliras (silver and gold hanging ornaments) are tied on the bangels by everyone blessing bride. Before leaving the room she touches one of her female friends with kalirah and its been said whosever head it falls next would be her wedding.

On The Day of The Wedding :

Sehra Bandi:

This is performed by immediate family members of groom at his home or in absence of bride’s family. Sehra (a heavy embroidery veil) is fixed on groom’s head which is then tied on turban. This moment is quite emotional for groom’s family as he becomes a mature and responsible man entering his new life. Lot of sweets and money is exchange. Sometimes priest is called to perform a small ritual

Soorma and Kalgi:

The father or an elder uncle of groom ties turban for him indicating that his son has become mature and responsible to support this family and start his new life. His sister in law adds kohl to line his eyes with soorma and his sister puts feather jewelry on his turban. As he is about to leave his sisters stop him and teases him on his eagerness to meet his bride, he is allowed to leave only after he gifts his sisters. After being anointed on oil he leaves to meet his bride

Baraat:

Most of the people perform this ceremony as fun, the godi (horse) is served nuts and groom assembles on the horse. Traditional music and dance is performed by all the family members and they visit the venue of wedding by dancing.

Milni:

After arrival of groom and his side to the venue, bride’s parents welcome them in a traditional manner by songs and hymns, individual introductions of both the family members is done where the foremost family member is greeted with garlands. This ceremony is performed by priest along with bride’s family member mainly by men.  After this breakfast is been served to guest before ceremony begin

Anandkaraj:

This is also known as “ceremony of bliss” which starts with kirtan- traditional singing of hymns. The bride is escorted in by her brothers and uncle while the groom sits in from of the holy book called “Guru Granth Sahib”. The priest leading this ceremony explains the sikh philosophy of marriage. After which the couple and their parents are asked to stand for prayers (ardas).

The Laavan (four prayers):

Laavan are the four prayers that seals the marriage, the bride and groom move clockwise around guru granth sahib as ragis finish the prayer. The couples bow to the holy book and wait for next verse. During this ceremony the groom is given one end of palla (scarf) on his shoulder and other end is hold by bride. After completion of laavan the worshippers’ showers flower on the couples in significance of blessing and the couple are officially married now. The ceremony is ended with final prayer and distribution of guruprasad to guest.

Shaggan:

In this ceremony all the family members and guest bless couples with gifts or money for their best future and life.

Doli:

The bride sits in a traditional doli which is lifted by four people, this is very emotional moment for her parents as their daughter is leaving from her home to start her new life. The mother of bride stands behind her holding a scarf or her sari palla while the bride showers rice all over the room with rice, praying her home to remain happy and prosperous forever and she is escorted to her car.

Content courtesy: Ruchita Parelkar on Wedding Rituals

Photo credits: AISM Photography

Wedding Coordinator: Seven Ivory Brides Event Planning