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Friday, September 25, 2009

Sikh marriage Customs

THE SIKH MARRIAGE IS USUALLY HELD IN GURUDWARA, AMIDST THE PREACHER OF THE HOLY PLACE, FAMILY, FRIENDS AND RELATIVES. WHEN IT COMES TO A SIKH INDIAN MARRIAGE, THE FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE IS SET A WEEK BEFORE THE RITUAL. THE GROOM'S SISTER AND THE BRIDE'S FATHER PLAY A MAJOR ROLE DURING THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY, APART FROM THE FAMILY MEMBERS. THE SIKH MARRIAGE IS A SIMPLE, YET ELEGANT OCCASION WHEREIN VARIOUS RITUALS ARE FOLLOWED BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER IT. GIVEN BELOW IS DETAILED INFORMATION ON THE PRE-MARRIAGE, MARRIAGE AND POST-MARRIAGE RITUALS FOLLOWED BY SIKHS.

Sikh marriage Customs

Pre-marriage Rituals
Shagun or engagement is the ceremony that marks the starting of the Sikh marriage celebrations. The ceremony is also called Tilak, which is performed by a preacher of the Gurudwara. He reads hymns and then applies a tilak on the groom's forehead, to mark the engagement ceremony. On the occasion, the families of the future bride and the groom exchange gifts in order to authenticate the engagement of the couple. The bride's father takes care of the ceremonial activities of the engagement. As a part of the shagun, a thali containing coconut, dry dates, sugar and money are sent to the groom's family by the bride's family.

Choora or the bangle ceremony is another important Sikh pre-marriage ceremony. The moment is organized at the bride's home, wherein the maternal uncle and aunt of the bride decorate her wrist with white and red bangles. Ornaments made of silver and gold, known as kalira, are tied to the bangles. The third pre-marriage custom followed by Sikhs is 'maiya', according to which, the bride and the groom are not allowed to leave their house for few days previous to the marriage. Gana is a pre-marriage ceremony wherein an favorable red thread is tied to the right wrist of the groom and the left wrist of the bride, at their particular homes. It is regarded as a sacred thread that protects the bride and the groom from ill omen.

Vatna is a ritual celebrated a few days before the marriage ceremony. According to the tradition followed by the Sikhs, vatna, a scented powder consisting of barley flour, turmeric and mustard oil, is smeared to the bride and the groom. This is followed by an favorable bath. Mehndi is another pre-marriage ritual organized on the eve of the marriage.During the ceremony, henna (mehndi) is applied on the hands and the feet of the bride.

Marriage Rituals
Gharoli is viewed in the morning of the marriage day, at the groom's home. During the occasion, the groom's sister-in-law, accompanied by other female relatives, go to a nearby well or Gurudwara to fill an earther pitcher (gharoli) with water, which is later used to bathe and the groom. This is followed by the marriage ceremony, which is called 'milni'. The groom's sisters tie a sehera (floral veil) to his forehead. They decorate his neck with a wreath of money notes. The groom's procession then heads towards the bride's house, where the milni ceremony is held.

During the milni ceremony, the bride and the groom's families hug and wish each other. Shabads are sung and the ardaas declaimd as the procession enters the Gurudwara breakfast is served to the guests. After the culmination of the milni ceremony, the bride and the groom sit together to attend the Guru Granth Sahib Kirtan. The groom's sister drapes a chunni around his neck. She ties one end of the chunni to the pallu of the lehanga wear by the bride. The chunni could be pink, red or orange in color. Thereafter, the bhaiji of the Gurudwara declaims hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, which are then sung and the bride and groom, who surround the Guru Granth Sahib. While walking around the Guru Granth Sahib, the groom leads the bride, with a sword in his hand. The marriage ceremony culminates here. This is followed by a grand feast.

Post-Marriage Rituals
The post-marriage rituals of a conventional Sikh wedding consist of vidaai or doli ceremony, which marks the last part of the celebration. It is a very touching affair for the bride's family. As the bride leaves from her parent's house, she flings back handful of rice over her shoulder, thereby wishing prosperity for her parents and family, which she leaves behind to start a new life with new dreams and hopes.

1 comment:

Sikh Dating said...

Sikh Dating is a precursor to Sikh marriage as described above.

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