A Complete Overview of Sikh Wedding Functions
Saturday, 23 December 2023
Jasmine delves into all the functions of a traditional Sikh wedding.
Sikh weddings embrace culture and tradition to celebrate the union of two individuals and their families. Each ceremony carries its own unique significance.
The journey of a Sikh wedding commences with the Roka. This is an informal engagement ceremony. Both families meet and agree upon the marriage, which is very important, as it symbolises the coming together of not just two people, but also their families. This is followed by the Chunni ceremony. Here, the groom’s family present the bride with a chunni (a scarf) as a gesture of acceptance into their family, again demonstrating how Sikh marriage connects two families together. The chunni ceremony marks the beginning of the bride’s transition into her new household.
Religious ceremonies form the spiritual core of Sikh weddings, which is why a Paath is usually held either at a Gurdwara (place of worship) or at one of the couple’s house. The Paath involves the recitation of prayers and hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh holy book) to bless the couple with a prosperous and harmonious future together.
Before the wedding, the bride and groom participate in separate pre-wedding celebrations. These usually start with a Sangeet. Family members and friends come together to sing traditional songs and dance. The Mehendi ceremony is where intricate henna designs are applied to the bride’s hands and feet. It is also time for the bride and her female companions to bond and celebrate the impending wedding.
As the wedding day draws closer, the Jago takes place. Family members and friends take it in turn to hold a ghara (a brass pot) over their heads and dance. The purpose of the Jago is to spread happiness and inform the neighbourhood about the upcoming wedding, whilst singing jago songs. The Mayian is another significant ceremony. The couple’s friends and family cleanse the bride and groom with turmeric paste, purifying them before the embark on their journey together.
The official engagement ceremony is the Kurmai. It solidifies the couple’s commitment and is marked by the exchange of gifts between the two families. The actual wedding ceremony, the Anand Karaj (“blissful union”) is next. The couple walk around the Guru Granth Sahib four times, with each circle representing a different aspect of spirituality.
After the official wedding, comes the Doli, where the bride leaves her parental home to begin her new life with her husband. When the bride enters the groom’s house is the Paani Varna ritual. A jubilant Reception follows, where friends and family celebrate the newlyweds with dinner, speeches and partying. Last is the Phera, where the newlywed couple visit the bride’s parental home for dinner. It’s a gesture of love and acceptance, representing the bride’s connection to her birth family even after marriage.
Even today, Sikh weddings encompass traditional, spiritual and cultural aspects. Sikh weddings, celebrating unity and love, create lifelong memories, bestowing blessings upon the newlyweds and their families.
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Being a bilingual family (French mother and British father,) living in France I thought your article was extremely interesting . Have you research on bilingualism ? It seems that when the mother is British and the father French and they both live in France their children seem to be more bilingual than when the mother is French and the father is British . This is what we called mother tongue , isn't it ?
Such an interesting article!