Sikh Weddings

Nothing can quite match the zest for life of the Sikhs. Be it the bhangra dance or their food, everything speaks of their hale heartiness and fun loving nature. Their weddings too are colorful affairs complete with traditional ritual and much music and merriment. A typical Sikh marriage is a special ceremony wherein two individuals come together to spend the rest of their lives with each other. It is a festive event and the union is celebrated amidst much pomp and show. The Sikh marriage is known as "Anand Karaj" which translated beans "blissful union".

A Sikh marriage is generally performed in the Gurudwara or in any home where the holy Sikh book, Guru Granth Sahib has been installed. The rituals should not be performed in a hotel or a marriage hall. The religious ceremony is generally held in the morning and does not take more than a few hours. Sikh weddings are not as elaborate as Hindu weddings and are simple and mostly centers on religious practices. The rituals and the customs are an integral part of a typical Sikh wedding.

A Sikh marriage is also unique in the sense that it does not require the presence of any priest to solemnize the marriage. The marriage is conducted in the presence of the holy book with a man or a woman reciting verses from it and the bride. The groom and the bride have to take four rounds around the holy book. Also there are no prescribed timings to conduct the marriage. It can be conducted at any time of the day or night, though the marriages are mostly conducted in the morning.

Prior to the wedding, an engagement ceremony might be performed by the families of the bride and the groom though it is not mandatory to do so. This event is usually conducted at the house of the boy or in the Gurudwara. It comprises Ardas (sikh prayer), Kirtan (hymns) and Langer (meal). The groom is gifted a kirpan, kara or Indian sweets and the bride is gifted traditional Indian dresses and sweets.

The wedding day celebrations is sparked off by the baraat (family and friends of the groom) reaching the girls house in the evening. They are welcomed amidst much joy and merriment. They spend the night at the house of the girl. The following day the wedding day rituals are conducted either at the girl's house or at the local Gurudwara. After the ceremonies are over the celebrations continue throughout the day. The next day the groom and the bride depart to begin their new life.

A Sikh bride is usually attired in a bright colored and heavily embroidered salwar kameez. The duppata (scarf) must cover the head of the bride. At times lehenga chunni is also worn by the bride. A Sikh groom usually wears a kurta pyjama. He also wears the pagri (turban). The Sikhs lay a sumptuous meal for their guests. You can expect a wonderful assortment of some of the finest Indian cuisines in the wedding day menu. The marriage comes to a conclusion amidst much enjoyment and wishes for the bride and the groom as they embark on their new life together.

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