India is a country of diverse culture, religions and languages. Every religion has different traditions and culture. All cultures treat marriage as the union of two souls. Marriage is considered the most important even in a person's life. All cultures and religions follow different marriage rituals. Have you ever wondered what ceremonies the Punjabis perform before and after a wedding? Punjabis are large hearted people who love big family gatherings and lavish weddings. Everything associated with them has to be lavish and extravagant. Let us go through the ceremonies of a colorful Punjabi wedding.

Bride Rituals

  • Chuda : Though there are many other cultures that follow the Chuda ceremony but it has originated from the Punjabis. Chuda is a set of red and cream ivory bangles that are touched by all the relatives and they give their blessings to the girl for a happy married life. The Chuda ceremony involves a havan or puja by a Pandit who ties a mauli on the wrist of the bride-to-be. The oldest maternal uncle and aunt are responsible for bringing the Chuda and they fast till the entire event is completed. Afterwards, the girl's friends and family members tie kaliras to a bangle worn by the girl.
  • Vatna : After the Chuda Ceremony comes the Vatna. In this ceremony, the girl sits facing four lamps that are constantly filled with oil. This is done to reflect the glow of the oil lamps to the girl's face. Afterwards, a paste of turmeric powder is applied on to the girl's face, arms and legs.
  • Ghara Ghardoli : In the Ghada Ghardoli ceremony, the girl's siblings or their spouse has to visit a temple and fill a pitcher with holy water with which the girl is then bathed. The Vatna and Ghara Ghardoli ceremony is also performed at the Groom's house, where the pitcher is filled by the boy's sister-in-law. The groom's wedding attire is presented by his maternal uncles.

Groom Rituals

  • Sehrabandi After the Vatna and the Ghara Ghardoli, the boy is dressed in his wedding attire and the sehra is tied to his head, either by his father or some other elderly relative. The boy is presented with gifts and blessings by friends and family members.
  • Ghodi Chadna The final pre-wedding ceremony is the Ghodi Chadna. The groom's sister-in-law lines the boy's eyes with surma and then he climbs on to the mare. Relatives then perform the ritual of Varna by using cash to ward off the evil eye from the boy.
  • Marriage Venue Rituals Milni When the boy's barat reaches the wedding venue, the relatives of the girl welcome the boy's relatives with gifts of clothes and cash and garlands.
  • Varmala The boy and the girl exchange Varmalas, which are basically garlands made of flowers. The friends and family then presents the bride and groom with gifts. Afterwards, the boy is asked to sit on the mandap and along with the pandit he chants various mantras. The sisters and cousins of the girl steal the boys' shoes and return it in exchange for a fee.
  • Phera Ceremony The Phera ceremony involves four rituals- the Kanyadan, the Pheras, Sindoor Ritual and the Mangalsutra Rasam. In Kanyadan, the father of the bride gives his daughter's hand to the groom. Certain mantras are chanted by the pandit. Then the Pheras take place where the boy and girl circle around the sacred fire. The boy then applies the Sindoor to the girl's head and ties a necklace to the girl's neck.

    Next time you go to a Punjabi wedding, you know what all ceremonies the boy and the girl have followed before the actual wedding takes place. It seems difficult to sit through all the ceremonies but as Punjabis like everything lavish, their ceremonies will not stay far behind.