Indian weddings are an extravagant and loud affair wherein special emphasis is laid to all aspects including decors, rituals, food, ambiance, etc and Punjabi weddings are no different.
As with Punjabis who are fun-loving and happy-go-lucky people who believe in expressing their emotions with great enthusiasm, Punjabi family weddings are extravagant, colorful and loud affairs that are celebrated with great pomp and show.
Punjabi family weddings may be lavish or simple, however, display their propensity towards adhering to age-old traditions and rituals, though, with a conventional twist to them sometimes.
Through this blog, we will familiarize you with the complete guide to organizing a Punjabi family wedding.
Best Tips For Organizing a Punjabi Family Wedding
We will now bring forth some of the best tips for hosting an extravagant and memorable Punjabi family wedding:
We will first go through the pre-wedding rituals involved in hosting a Punjabi family wedding:
1. Roka: Roka and Thaka symbolize the beginning of a relationship between two families and implies stopping the search of another partner for the bride/groom since the perfect match is found. Roka ceremony is a low-key affair with only the close family members attending it and involves the exchange of gifts such as fruits, sweets, money, dry fruits, etc. This ceremony was conventionally organized on different days wherein the bride’s family and the groom’s family paid a visit to each other’s home with gifts on different days, however, is organized as a joint ceremony nowadays.
This ceremony is also known as ‘Sagan’ and generally begins with a small ‘Puja’ or ‘Ardaas’ to seek the blessings of the Almighty at the beginning of a new relationship.
2. Sagaai/Kurmai/Engagement/Mangni: This ceremony symbolizes the official engagement between the couple and precedes the wedding by at least several months. This ceremony is characterized by the exchange of rings between the couple and the bride’s family gives gifts to the groom and his close family members.
This ceremony commences with a short prayer by a Sikh priest and the groom’s family gives gifts and clothes to the wannabe bride.
This ceremony makes the match an official one.
3. Chunni Ceremony: This ceremony is held on the same day as the engagement. In this ceremony, the groom’s mother covers the bride’s head with a red scarf/chunni that symbolizes that she is responsible for upholding the pride and honor of their family from the moment. The groom’s family dresses up the bride with a special outfit, bangles, and jewelry, apply henna (mehandi) on her hands and feet and mark the bride’s head with sindoor (red powder) as a symbol of commitment.
The ceremony proceeds with the exchange of gifts, sweets, dry fruits, fruits, etc followed by a lavish dinner and thumping music and dance.
4. Nanki Shak: In this ceremony, the bride’s and the groom’s maternal uncle bestows the bride and groom with gifts, money, fruits and other items as a symbol of showering their blessings on the couple.
5. Mehendi: This ceremony is performed one or two days prior to the wedding. In this ceremony, a henna paste is applied to the hands and feet of the bride and the groom by a mehndi artist. The bride’s palms and feet are decorated with intricate henna designs and the groom’s initials are hidden amidst the various patterns. The Mehendi ceremony is reciprocated at the groom’s place, however, on a smaller scale.
Female family members at the bride’s and the groom’s place also get henna applied on their hands, folk songs are sung and people dance their heart out over the course of this ceremony.
6. Sangeet: This ceremony is organized a night prior to the wedding day at both the bride’s and the groom’s place. This ceremony is a musical extravaganza wherein relatives and close friends of the couple dance their heart out on rocking party numbers. Traditionally, this ceremony featured the presence of only female family members who played musical instruments like dhol, sang folk songs, danced to the fullest and teased the bride.
Nowadays, this ceremony is held in an extravagant manner wherein close friends and family members dance and enjoy to their fullest on exciting and rocking DJ tunes.
7. Choora Ceremony: This ceremony is held a day or two before the wedding. In this ceremony, the bride’s maternal uncle gifts a set of 21 bangles in red and cream color to the bride. The bangles are purified in a liquid mixture containing rose petals/rosewater and milk. The bride’s maternal uncle puts the bangles on the bride’s wrist and covers it with a cloth that denotes breaking away from her family. Kaliras (Silver and Gold hanging ornaments) are tied on the bangles by the relatives as a mark of blessing to the bride.
The bride’s maternal uncle gifts her a wedding outfit during this ceremony and flower petals are showered on the bride at the time of performing the ritual.
8. Jago: This ceremony takes place a night before the wedding wherein the bride/groom’s maternal aunt carry a brass or copper pot/vessel decorated with clay lamps on their head, visit houses of friends/relatives who feed them sweets and sing songs and dance all the way while performing the ritual.
Wedding Day Rituals
1. Maiya/Haldi: This ceremony is performed by both the families at their respective homes and is performed only a few days prior to the wedding. In this ceremony, the bride’s and the groom’s body is smeared with a paste of turmeric powder, oil, sandalwood and rosewater as a symbol of cleansing and purifying them before the big day. Folk music is sung and enjoyed by all whilst the course of this ceremony.
2. Ghara Gharoli: This immediately follows the Haldi ceremony. The bride pays a visit to a temple after the dried Haldi paste is scrubbed off from their body. In this ceremony, a pitcher full of holy water is poured on the bride and the groom after which they pray to the reigning deity of the temple and seek their blessings. The bride then returns home, takes a proper shower and starts getting ready for the wedding. The same ritual also takes place with the groom, however, the groom is usually not required to visit the temple. Instead, the ceremony is performed by the groom’s sister-in-law after which he starts getting ready for the wedding.
3. Gana Bandhna: This ritual is performed on the wedding day morning wherein both the bride and the groom attend a puja at their respective houses after which the priest ties a thread or mouli on their wrists as a good luck charm.
4. Sehrabandi and Ghodi Charna: After the groom gets ready for the wedding, he is made to stand in front of the family deities and a puja is performed by a priest wherein a pink colored turban or Sehra is tied around the groom’s head by an elderly male family member.
In Ghodi Charna ceremony, the mare or the horse is decked up in gaudy decorations, tika is applied on its head, is fed chana dal (lentil) after which the groom mounts the mare in a ceremonial manner and sets off for the wedding venue with his family.
5. Agwaani and Milni: Agwaani is the ceremony performed to welcome the groom and the wedding procession at the venue wherein the bride’s mother welcomes the groom with a traditional aarti and tika on the forehead. Milni is the ceremony wherein each relative from the groom’s side is met and greeted by the corresponding relative from the bride’s side.
6. Anand Karaj: This ceremony happens at a Gurudwara and is referred to as the ‘ceremony of bliss’ that starts off with kirtan or recitation of hymns. The groom sits in front of the holy book ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ and the bride is escorted in by her brothers and uncle. The priest leading the ritual describes the Sikh philosophy of marriage after which the couple and their parents are asked to stand for prayers (Ardaas).
7. The Laavan (Four Prayers): The laavan are the four prayers that seal the marriage and this requires the bride and groom to move in a clockwise manner around the Guru Granth Sahib as the priest finishes the prayer. The couple bows to the holy book and await the next verse. During this ceremony, one end of the scarf (palla) is placed on the groom’s shoulder while the other is held by the bride. The worshippers shower flowers on the couple once the laavan is complete and the ceremony ends with final prayer and distribution of guruprasad to guests.
8. Shagun: The couple is taken to the stage once the laavan phere is complete and family members, friends, and relatives bless the couple with gifts, money, etc and bless them for their future life.
9. Doli: This is the last ceremony that takes place in the evening after the guests have consumed food. The bride showers rice all over the room while her mother stands behind her holding a scarf or a sari palla to collect the rice. With this gesture, everyone prays for a happy and prosperous life for the bride and she is then escorted to the car.
10. Pag Phera: The bride pays a visit to her parents’ home the third day after their marriage and spends a night at her parents’ place. Bride’s parents bestow their daughter and son-in-law with gifts after which the couple returns to their home the next day.
Conclusion: We hope that going through this blog will definitely familiarize you with the complete guide to organizing a Punjabi family wedding.