Sacred Rituals of an Indian Punjabi Wedding

Punjabis are fun filled people. They love to party and are also excellent hosts. This nature of theirs reflects in their weddings and all the pre and post wedding functions. The main attractions of Punjabi weddings are delicious non-vegetarian feasts and delicacies, good music and lots of dancing. There are many pre-wedding functions of this regional wedding all of which are given as follows.

Pre-wedding traditions and rituals

Roka Ceremony: In this ceremony, the families of the bride and the groom commit the beginning of a new family relation with each other. They exchange gifts, fruits and dry fruits.

Sagan: In the Sagan ceremony, the groom’s family hosts a function in which the girl’s family gives gifts to the groom’s family. The bride’s father puts a tikka on the groom’s forehead.

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Chunni Chadai: During either the Sagan ceremony or the Roka, the groom’s sister or mother puts a red or a pink chunni (veil) on the girl’s head and give her jewellery and traditional clothes.

Sagai: In the Sagai ceremony, the couple exchange rings and the bride’s family give gifts to the groom and his immediate family members. The groom’s family in return, gives their bride-to-be gifts and clothes.

Mehendi and Sangeet: Here, a function is organised at both the houses where Mehendi is applied on the bride’s hands and feet. A simple 'mehendi' ceremony is conducted for the groom at his home. The 'mehendi' is just smeared onto his palms and quickly washed off!

All the other ladies of both the houses also get Mehendi designs on their palms and then the celebrations of dance followed by dinner continue.

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Wedding Traditions and Rituals

Kangan Bandhana: On the morning of the wedding day, the bride and the groom (each in their respective homes), has to have the sacred thread or 'mouli' tied to their right wrists. The 'mouli' is tied with 'supari' (betel nut) and 'kaudis' (shells). The thread has to have as many knots as possible in order to make it difficult to untie later.

Chuda Ceremony: The bride’s maternal uncle gives her red bangles known as the Chuda. She cannot see her bangles until she is ready for the wedding.

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The Gharoli ritual: The bhabhis of the bride and the groom respectively, bring water in a ghada (earthen pitcher) from the gurdwara and the couple is expected to bathe with this water before the wedding.

Sehrabandi and Ghudchadai: A few hours before the wedding, the sister of the groom ties a sehra on his head and then he climbs the ghodi.

Varmala: The bride and the groom exchange flower garlands before the pheras (vows).

Kanyadaan: The father of the bride gives his daughter’s hand in matrimony to the groom. The couple then takes seven mangalpheras around the sacred fire.

After all this, the groom ties a Mangalsutra around the bride’s neck and applies sindoor  to her forehead. When this is going on, friends and family shower rose petals on the couple. The newly married couple now takes the blessings of all the elders.

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The Juti Chupai: When the bride and groom are sitting at the mandap, the sisters of the bride hide the groom's jutis and return them in exchange for money.

Post-wedding Traditions and Rituals

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Vidaai: The bride bids goodbye to her maternal family. She throws behind a handful of rice without looking back and her mother catches this in her pallu.

Fun games: After the bride and groom arrive at the groom’s house, his mother greets the couple with an aarti and the bride tosses a vessel of rice with her right foot to enter the house. After this, the entire family sits with the couple and makes them play some fun games.

Kangna Kholna: The bride and groom untie each other's bracelets in the presence of all the relatives. The bride is required to untie her husband's bracelet first.

The Reception party: The big fat and enjoyable Punjabi Wedding comes to an end with a grand reception party.

Image Courtesy: Anshum M Photography, Neytra Photography and Mahima Bhatia Photography.


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