Sikh Pre Wedding Ceremonies

Roka

Similar to the Roka ceremony in Hindu Wedding, this event is said to be the first step of the wedding. It is during this celebration, the two families meet at the bride’s home. Gifts are exchanged between the two families and sweets are distributed.

Taka

This is a significant Sikh pre wedding ceremony as during this event, the date for the wedding is fixed by the family members from the two sides. The word Taka means to ‘set the date,’ this ceremony takes place in the house of the bride.

Kurmai

It is an official engagement ceremony which takes place either at groom’s house or in the Gurudwara. The rings are exchanged and also the family of the bride offers kara (Sikh bangle) to the groom. The ceremony begins with a short prayer by granthi (Sikh Priest), followed by placing a red scarf around the groom’s shoulder. Dried dates are then fed to the groom by the grandfather after which food and drinks are enjoyed by all.

Chunni Ceremony

This auspicious ceremony is performed by mother of the groom who covers the head of the bride with a red scarf or chunni which signifies that from now on the bride-to-be is responsible for upholding the honour and pride of the groom’s family. The bride is also wears the clothes and jewelery brought by her in-laws and the groom marks her head with sindoor or vermilion as a sign of commitment. Sweets as shagun are also offered by groom’s parents to the family of the bride as blessings and acceptance of engagement. Gifts are also exchanged between the two family followed by a grand celebration with a lot of music and dance.

Maiya (cleansing and purifying)

A five-day event, Maiya takes place in families of both bride and the groom. During this event, oil is poured into the hair of the bride and groom with olive branches, and their bodies are massaged with turmeric powder. Girls performing Maiya have red string or a thread tied around their wrist; and a red scarf is held above the bride or groom’s head, which girls from the family take turns to hold while the traditional songs are sung.

Gana

The ceremony marks the tying of a red thread on the left wrist of the bride and the right wrist of the groom. Along with this, several auspicious items like cowrie shells, iron key chain, pearls and a small pouch of sugar are also tied to the wrist for good fortune.

Vatna

Vatna ceremony takes place a day prior to the wedding day. In this ceremony a paste consisting of barley flour, turmeric and mustard oil is applied to the bodies of the groom and the bride for cleansing and beautifying them that is then followed by a ritual bath.

Gharoli

This ceremony is related to the ritual bath which the groom has to take after Vatna. In this auspicious ceremony, the groom's sister-in-law accompanied by other female relatives go to a nearby Gurudwara or well to fill an earthen pot (gharoli) with water that is used for bathing the groom after the vatna ceremony.

Karahi Charna

It is also a five-day ceremony which takes place in the house of groom and the bride. Savory and sweet items are made in karahi and are offered to guests as a gesture of blessing to bride and groom.

NanKi Shak

NanKi Shak is a ceremony where the gifts are exchanged at the houses of bride and the groom. Sometimes a priest also performs small pooja prior to the exchange of presents. A formal get together is also planned for this ceremony.

Mehendi

A fun filled ceremony, Mehendi takes place about one or two days before the wedding. Bride and groom, both get the design made on their hand and feet with henna mixed with eucalyptus oil, clove oil and lemon juice water. This is also seen as an opportunity to play dholak and performing folk dance and songs by the ladies. Women family members also apply mehendi on their hands as it is considered a shagun.

Choora Ceremony (bangle ceremony)

In this unique ceremony, the uncle of the bride gifts her choora which is a set of 21 bangles of red and cream colour. This choora is then bathed in yogurt milk and rosewater. The bride is then asked to close her eyes and her uncle slips the choora on her hands while the traditional folk songs are enjoyed by all the guests. After putting the choora, bride’s uncle covers it with shawl (subar) which symbolizes the departing of the bride from her family and home.

Sikh Post Wedding Ceremonies

Doli

To perform this Sikh post wedding ceremony, the bride wears the set of clothes and jewelry presented to her by her in-laws. She then feeds the male members of her own family with cooked rice and prepares to leave with her new family. While leaving the house, she has to throw handful of puffed rice, which symbolizes blessings and prosperity for her own family. On arriving at the groom’s house, the groom's mother welcomes the couple by pouring some oil on the doorstep. The mother then attempts to drink water from a lota or a jar but the groom prevents her. After three failed attempts, the groom relents and lets the mother drink the water. This act is repeated with six other female relatives.

Doli dinner

Doli dinner

Reception

The groom's parents host a reception which is like a formal introduction of the newly wed couple to the extended family and friends.

Phere Pauna

This ceremony marks the bride's first visit to her own home after the wedding, where she is greeted with gifts and blessings.