Sikhs are often known for their zest of life. Whether it is their sense of food, clothes, or their dance, every part of their culture speaks loudly about their heartiness and fun-loving nature. Just like their people, Sikh weddings are equally colorful and filled with traditional rituals.
A marriage is considered holy matrimony where two people or two families come together and spend the rest of their lives with each other. Sikh weddings are like festive events that are celebrated with great pomp and show. Right from clothes, food, and Sikh wedding rituals, everything is enjoyed with equal enthusiasm. So, if you have never been a part of the Sikh wedding or planning to attend one, this article would give great insight into everything you can expect from this wedding.
Traditions Followed in Sikh Wedding
Following culture and tradition has always been a part of the Indian marriage system and Sikhs are no exceptions. With every ritual, they like to take pride in their culture.
- The Pre-Wedding Ceremony – Before the main event takes place, an engagement ceremony is conducted between the families where the would-be bride and groom exchange rings. It is not necessary to have this custom followed. During this engagement ceremony, the family of the bride usually gift the groom with various things like jewelry, cash, electronics, or furniture, but essentially with Kirpan and Kada, which groom needs to carry on the wedding day. Similarly, the family of the groom blesses the bride by giving her a “Chunni” which is a drape that is worn during the wedding ceremony by the bride along with jewelry and other gifts. The ceremony comprises of Sikh prayer, Kirtan and later Langar (meals)
- Mehndi and Sangeet – The wedding ceremony start a day before from early in the morning separately in grooms and bride’s family. Both the families perform the ceremony of Mehndi and Sangeet in their homes because it is not considered auspicious for the bride and groom to meet a day before the wedding. In the bride’s family, the bride’s hands are decorated with Henna. Henna has been a part of Indian marriage culture for ages and followed till date. The day is celebrated with sangeet which is nothing but singing folk songs and dancing to these songs with each other.
- TheAttire– Unlike before, where Sikh brides are usually dressed in salwar and kameez, today the brides like to wear lehengas for their wedding. They are bright in color along with a dupatta because the bride’s head should always be covered during the ceremony. The groom mostly wears a sherwani along with Pagri along with Kirpan and Kada gifted by the girl’s family.
- The Wedding Day or Anant Karaj -The wedding day starts with the Barat, precession of the groom’s family, and the groom from home to take the bride. In Barat, the groom is usually riding on a horse and other people walk alongside dancing on dhol. Once they reach the Gurudwara, they are welcomed by the bride’s family with joy and merriment.
A Sikh marriage, also known as “Anant Karaj” is performed in a Gurudwara. The word “Anant Karaj” means a blissful union of two individuals. The prime reason for conducting this ritual in Gurudwara is because the marriage needs to be conducted in the presence of their holy book and Gurudwara is a place where Guru Granth Sahib is placed. Many people like to conduct this ceremony in their homes as well if they have this holy book placed in their homes. Unlike other Hindu weddings, religious rituals should only be performed at home or their temple. Also, there is no requirement for the presence of any priest to solemnize the marriage.
During the Anant Karaj, the bride and groom recite verses from the holy book and must take four rounds around the holy book to celebrate their holy matrimony. Weddings usually take place in the mornings, though they can be conducted at night as well. After this ritual, the rest of the wedding takes place either in their Gurudwara hall or many families like to book a hotel or banquet to celebrate the marriage. A Sikh wedding is nothing without a sumptuous meal where you can expect an assortment of some of the finest dishes from Indian cuisine. In today’s modern time, families like to also add international cuisine to their feast.
- The Parting Ritual – It is one of the most emotional rituals followed in the Indian marriage system, where the bride must leave for her new home with the husband leaving her own family behind. Families get emotional during this ceremony and both depart to begin their new life. After this parting ritual, marriage celebrations come to an end with enjoyment and wishes for the bride and the groom as they embark on their new journey.