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Punjabi wedding traditions

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Anand Karaj, the Sikh wedding, being taking place

Punjabi wedding traditions and ceremonies are traditionally conducted in
Punjabi and are a strong reflection of Punjabi culture.

The actual religious marriage ceremony differs among Sikhs, the weddings
are conducted in Punjabi; among Hindus, the ceremony is conducted in
Sanskrit; and among Muslims, in Arabic. There are commonalities in ritual,
song, dance, food, and dress. The Punjabi wedding has many rituals and
ceremonies that have evolved since traditional times, including many famous
Punjabi dances.

Contents [hide]
1 Important wedding songs
2 Wedding rituals
2.1 Pre-wedding rituals
2.2 Rituals at the brides home
2.3 Rituals at the groomss home
2.4 Rituals at the marriage venue
2.5 Post-wedding rituals
2.6 Rituals observed at the groom's house

3 See also
4 References
5 External links
Important wedding songs[edit]
Songs of the bridegroom's side

Mangane di geet: sung at the time of engagement

Maneve de gaon: songs sung to welcome the bridegroom
Gharouli de geet: sung while filling the pitcher(gharouli) for
Bride/Bridegroom's bath before the wedding
Chounki charanvele de geet: songs sung when the bridegroom sits on the
chounki wooden bathing seat
Sohhle: songs of happiness and joy
Ghoriyaan: sung at the time of riding to the bride's house
Sehra: sung at the time of tying the bridegrooms flower-veil
Kangana: sung when the bride and bridegroom enter the house together for
the first time.
Songs of the bride's side

Suhag: which is sung by the bride in praise of her parents and the happy days
of her childhood and in anticipation of happy days ahead.
Jaggo: procession song to call the neighbours to the wedding.
Churra charan vele da geet: sung when the chura, ceremonial bangles are
worn by the bride.
Janj: sung when the janj, marriage procession, is to be greeted.
Milni: sung at the ritual introduction of the two sides.
Ghenne de geet: sung when the bride is adorned with jewels.
Siftan: song in praise of the bridegroom

Chhandh: evolved from poetry, songs of joy.

Sitthniyan (crude, teasing songs)

Song sung when the bridegroom's procession is being welcomed.

Song sung when the wari, or gifts from the bridegrooms side, are being
Song sung when the groom's party sits down to the meal.
Song sung when the daaj, dowry or the bridal gifts, are being displayed.

Lavan Phere :sung at the time of the actual wedding ritual.

Maiya :sung when the girl is preparing for the wedding and is bathed by the
women at home. It goes for both men and women.
Vedi de geet : sung while erecting the marriage pandal.
Khatt: sung at the time the maternal grandparents present gifts to the bride
on an overturned tokra, or basket.
Pani vaarna: welcoming the bride to her new home.
Bidaigi: sung when the bride is being sent off in the doli.
Ghughrian: sung when the doli arrives at the groom s house.
Shahana: sung by mirasis in praise of the bridegroom.
Til Methre: sung while welcoming the bride and orienting her to the family.
Pattal: song sung before meal.
Wedding rituals[edit]
Pre-wedding rituals[edit]
In this ceremony, the boy and the girl commit to enter a wedlock, and won't
consider any more matrimonial proposals. Ardaas is done, followed by
exchange of gifts.

Mangni/shagun The engagement is usually very high profile. The girls side of
the family goes to the boys' side with gifts, jewellery, and other goods, to
confirm the engagement.

Rokka It is an unofficial engagement ceremony where the family and friends

come give present,money and blessings to the couple to be. The girl's mama
ji (mother's brother) gives her the nath (nose ring) which she will wear on her
wedding. The origin of this ceremony lies in the arranged marriage norm
where the parents would let out the world that they are looking for a suitable
match for their son or daughter. And once they had found that match, their
search had come to an end. Though rings are not exchanged, the couple
stand unofficially engaged after this ceremony. Looking forward to starting
the wedding ceremonies.

Sagai The wedding celebrations begin with the tikka ceremony, held a week
to ten days before the wedding (depending on the number of functions to
follow) in which the family of the girl visits that of the boy's carrying
beautifully wrapped gifts and the tikka material: a silver tray with a few
grains of rice and saffron in a tiny silver bowl, 14 chuharey (dried dates)
covered with silver foil and a coconut wrapped in a gold leaf. The father of the
girl applies 'tikka' on his son-in-law's forehead and gives him his blessings
and some money. In return, the girl's family receives baskets of seven dried
fruits: almonds, cashewnuts, chuahara, coconut pieces, raisins, khurman
(dried apricots) and phoolmakhana, at the kudmai (sagai or engagement).
Nowadays the tikka ceremony is usually combined with the engagement.
First, the girl is draped with a chunni (stole), which is usually very ornate. In
some families this chunni is a family heirloom, passed down from generation
to generation. She is also presented with jewellery, which her mother and
sister-in-law help her wear. A tiny dot of mehendi is applied to her palm for
good luck, and the function is sealed with the exchange of rings. Everyone
present congratulates the couple by feeding them sweet.

Dholki/sangeet Can be one day or many days, usually high profile in a

banquet hall, ladies sing traditional songs, and it is the eastern version of the
western bridal shower. There is a sangeet function hosted by the girl's family,
in which just a few close members of the boy's family are invited. The girl's
family play the dholki (an elongated tabla) sing songs in which they tease the
boy and his family. Nowadays people hire DJs and have a dance party
followed by dinner. Ladies sangeet-is held for the bride and her bridesmaids.


The last major function before the wedding is the mehendi. Mehendiwallis are
called to the respective houses of the boy and girl and they apply mehendi to
the palms of the female family members, and the hands and feet of the bride.
A basket containing bindis and bangles is handed around so girls can choose
those that match the outfit they plan to wear to the wedding. The Mehandi
ceremony takes place in the atmosphere of a party. The bride and other
ladies get mehndii (henna designs) done, on their hands and feet (most
ladies get it done only on their hands but the bride gets it done on both
hands and feet). For the bride the mehndi is sent by the future Mother in Law,
which is beautiful decorated.

Rituals at the brides home[edit]

On the wedding day the rituals at the girls home begin with the Chuda
ceremony. The oldest maternal uncle and aunt play an important role in the
performance of the ceremony. Chuda is basically a set of red and cream ivory
bangles that is touched by all present which is gifted by girl's Mamma
(mother's Brother) the girl does not see the chuda until she is ready for the
marriage. People touch the chuda and give their heartiest wishes to the girl
for her future married life. Also, they sprinkle flower petals on the bride. After
that, the girls uncle, aunt, friends and cousins tie kaliras (silver, gold or gold
plated traditional ornaments) to a bangle worn by the girl.

Chuda of a Punjabi bride

Vatna/Haldi Four lamps or diyas are lit and the bride is made to sit facing
them. Oil is constantly poured into the lamps, so that the glow from diyas is
reflected on her face. Vatna involves applying the paste made from turmeric
powder and mustard oil all over the girls body by her female friends and
relatives. This is done to make the girl look more beautiful on the special day
of our life. This ritual demands that the bride to stay at home in her old
clothes for a couple of days before her wedding. Ubtan is supposed to bring
glow on the bride's and groom's body especially their face. This tradition is
also known as Shaint in some cultures. After this ritual, bride and groom are
constrained from meeting each other until the wedding ceremony.

Ghara gharoli The decorated pitcher of water (ghadoli) is brought for the
bride's bath by the groom's bhabi (brother's wife). In the Ghara Gharoli ritual,
the brides sibling or siblings spouse visits the nearby temple and fills a
pitcher with holy water. The girl is then bathed with this holy water.
Thereafter, the bride wears their wedding attire.The ghara gharoli and the
vatna ceremonies take place at the grooms house too. But over there, the
boys sister-in-law brings the pitcher of water. As per the tradition, their
wedding dress is presented to them by their respective maternal uncles.

The Rut Jugga In this ceremony, the family dances and sings in the beautifully
decorated wedding home. Rut Jugga is celebrated in the last hours of the
night. They decorate copper or brass vessel called "gagger" with diyas (clay
lamps) and fill them with mustard oil and light them. The bride/bridegrooms
maternal aunt (mammi) carries it on her head, and another lady will have a
long stick with bells, and she will be shaking it. The ladies will then go into
other friends and families homes and be welcomed by sweets and drinks,
they will then dance there and move on. It is a loud ceremony, filled with joy,
dancing, fireworks, and food.

Rituals at the groomss home[edit]


A young nephew or cousin also dons similar attire as the groom. He is called
the sarbala/shabbala (caretaker of the groom) and accompanies him.

Groom riding a horse with his sarbala.


Like the brides home, the Vatna and Ghara Gharoli are followed by the
dressing up of groom in his wedding attire. After the groom has dressed up in
his wedding clothes, a puja is performed. Thereafter, the grooms sister ties
the sehra on the grooms head. After the completion of Sehrabandi
ceremony, all those who witness the function give gifts and cash to the boy
as a token of good luck.

A groom with sehra.

Varna Varna is a ceremony that is supposed to ward off the evil eye. The
groom's bhabi lines his eyes with surma (kohl).

Ghodi Chadna

The Ghori Chadna is the final ceremony at the grooms place. The grooms
sisters and cousins feed and adorn his mare. To ward off the evil eye, people
use cash and perform the Varna ritual. The cash is then distributed among
the poor. After this the boy climbs the horse and leaves his home for the
wedding venue.

Ghodi chadna
Rituals at the marriage venue[edit]

Milni It literally means "Introductions". The Ardas is performed by the priest

(Giani) followed by the formal introductions of the main male players in the
families. For example both eldest Chachas (father's younger brother) will
come together and exchange garlands of flowers and money. In the Milni
ceremony, the girl's relatives give Shagun (a token of good luck) to the
groom's close relatives. It is done in the descending order, beginning from the
elder most. Cash and clothes are gifted.

Jaimala/Varmala After Milni, the bride and groom come in the middle of the
circle where the family is standing, and place a heavily made garland made
of flowers- varmala on each other to state, they accept each other and will
love and live together with one and other. Friends and relatives of the bride
and groom indulge in teasing and fun, to celebrate this happy occasion. An
auspicious time or muhurat is chosen for the performance of wedding

Hindu bride and groom.

Kanyadaan and Phere The bride's father puts a ring on the boy's finger and
then he gives his daughter to the boy. This ritual is known as the Kanyadaan.
It is after the kanyadaan that the pheras begin. The pheras take place in front
of the sacred fire-agni. After this the groom applies Sindoor (vermilion) to the
girls hair partition and the Mangalsutra Rasam takes place where the groom
ties a beaded necklace i.e. a mangalsutra to the girls neck. When all these
rituals are over, the couple gets up to touch the feet of all the elder members
in the family and seek their blessings for a happily married life. In a Hindu
Punjabi Wedding, Agni (sacred fire) is usually encircled seven times.

In a Sikh wedding, the bride and groom will walk in tow around the Guru
Granth Sahib four times, called laanva.

Joota chupai It literally means 'hiding the shoes'. The brides sisters indulge in
stealing of shoes. It is a fun tradition, in which the girls charge a fee for
agreeing to return the shoes. They demand Kalecharis of gold for the bride's
sisters and of silver for her cousins.

Nikah Nikah is Muslim marriage ceremony. Nikah is the contract between a

bride and bridegroom and part of an Islamic marriage, a strong covenant
(mithaqun Ghalithun) as expressed in Qur'an 4:21.

Post-wedding rituals[edit]
Vidaai/Doli Vidaai marks the departure of the bride from her parental house.
As a custom, the bride throws phulian or puffed rice over her head. The ritual
conveys her good wishes for her parents. A traditionally sad ritual, here the
bride says goodbye to her parents, siblings and rest of her family. Her
brothers/male cousins then lead her to her husband, who waits to take her to
his family home. Her relatives throw coins in the wake of this procession. In
keeping with tradition the mother in-law will often not come to the Doli and
instead make preparations at home to greet the arrival of her son and new
wife. The mother-in-law has a glass of water in her hand, which she circles 3
times around her bahu and then offers it to her to drink, as a symbol of her
acceptance and blessing as her newest daughter.

Rituals observed at the groom's house[edit]

Reception at the boy's house

The newly weds are welcomed in a ceremony called the pani bharna. Then
the bride must, with her right foot, kick the sarson ka tel (mustard oil) that is
put on the sides of the entrance door before she enters the house. Then,
along with her husband, she must offer puja in their room. Then they must
touch the feet of the elders in a ceremony called 'matha tekna'. The rest of
the evening is spent in playing enjoyable traditional games.

Alta dipped feet of the bride.

Phera Dalna The newly weds visit the bride's parents on the day after the
wedding. The brides brother usually fetches them.

See also[edit]
Arranged marriage in India
Sikh wedding
Punjabi culture
Indian wedding photography
Hindi wedding songs

External links[edit]
Anand Karaj Matrimonial Website for Punjabis
Punjabi Links
Scroll Wedding Invitations
[show] v t e
Pakistani wedding
[show] v t e
Indian wedding
Categories: Punjabi cultureIndian wedding traditionsWeddings by
culturePakistani wedding
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