Customs and Traditions - Sikh Wedding

♥ Rokka :

This ceremony is primarily meant to connote that the boy and the girl have committed to enter a wedlock, and thus won't consider any matrimonial proposal.

A respected member of the family offers "Ardaas" or invocation to almighty. This is followed by a give and take of gifts from both sides. The bride's parents gift money or sweets to the groom, which is known as "Shagan" or the emblem-gift.

♥ Kudmai :

This ritual is the manifestation of engagement ceremony. The female relatives of the groom reach the bride's home with profuse gifts like elegant clothes, jewellery, and other accessories, which the girl would don at the time of the "Mangani" ceremony. The boy later arrives with his relatives. This is followed by "Kirtan" or singing of psalms in the presence of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib. The Kirtan being over, there is again an interchange of presents.

The bride's mother presents a silver platter called "Thaal", which is loaded with the emblems of Sikh religion, saffron, flowers and sweetmeat. This could be followed by an exchange of engagement rings, which has been adopted from the Western culture. Thereafter, refreshments are served to the guests.

♥ Shri Akhand Paath :

The literal meaning of "Akhand" is unbroken or uninterrupted. Shri Akhand Paath is thus the uninterrupted recital of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib, which lasts for 48 hours. A batch of volunteers recites the hymns from Guru Granth Sahib incessantly. At the summation of the reading the Holy Book is opened haphazardly and the hymns are read out. Serving of Prashad symbolizes the accomplishment of the Paath.

♥ Sangeet :

Traditional wedding songs are sung on the beats of a tom-tom; which are primarily derogatory to the members of the groom's family, but this is done good-humoredly. This ceremony embodies a mood of great revelry and merriment. The women relatives of the girl sing, play and dance ceaselessly almost throughout the night.

♥ Mehndi :

The palms of the girl are coated with mehndi. The girl then smears the wall behind her with the mehndi applied to her hands and makes the imprint of her palms. This mehndi is instantly washed off. Thereafter, the professional mehndiwalis apply mehndi to the girl's palms in elegant patterns.

♥ Chooda :

On the morn of the wedding, the groom's father relays to his would-be daughter-in-law a dress called 'Kuwaar Dhoti'. 'Kuwaari' means a maiden, so 'kuwaar dhoti' is the last attire the girl puts on as a maiden. In the morning, she is anointed with a paste of turmeric and sandal. Having bathed, she puts off all her bangles, if she is wearing any, and wears the 'Kuwaar Dhoti'. The maternal uncle and aunt of the bride then embellish her wrists with the armlet made of ivory, called the chooda, which signifies the actual chooda ceremony.

♥ The Sehra and The Ghodi Ceremony :

The sisters of the groom drape his turban with sehra, a shiny and elegant mantilla. The groom mounts a mare, or ghodi, which is also as much embellished as the groom himself. A sarbala, generally a nephew of the groom, accompanies him throughout the ceremony. The women sing the traditional wedding songs, and the groom on his mare leaves for the wedding venue with the baraat following him.

♥ Milni :

Essentially, milni ceremony connotes the meeting of the male relatives of both the sides. First of all, the fathers of the bride and the groom exchange a wreath and then embrace each other. Subsequently, the other male relatives of both the sides meet and hug their counterparts. This ritual is preceded by singing of the traditional thanksgiving hymns after the arrival of the baraat at the wedding venue.

♥ Lavaan Phere :

Lavaan Phere is the actual wedding ceremony, after which the girl and the boy are considered 'married' to each other. Generally, the ritual takes place at dawn. In case the proceedings get delayed, everything must wrap-up before noon. First, a Morning Prayer is offered. Later, a respected member of the family conducts the proceedings of the wedding. The bride and the groom circle the Holy Guru Granth Sahib four times, the groom leading the bride. The ceremony is deemed accomplished after the ardaas and the serving of 'kada prashaad'.

♥ Doli :

Doli symbolizes the send-off ceremony of the bride. Prior to leaving for her new home, she performs the traditions of cooking and serving rice to her family members, and flinging back raw rice at her family members while stepping out of the threshold of her home. The family members then bid goodbye to the bride, which is as usual a moving episode.
On reaching the groom's home, which now belongs to the bride as well, the newly wed are received by the groom's mother at the doorsill of the house.

♥ Phera :

The newly wed visit the former house of the bride and receive benedictions and generous gifts from the parents of the bride.

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