All You Need To Know About The Punjabi Wedding Rituals And Customs
India is a land with diversity. Different cultures and religions dwell and merge here beautifully. There are different people across the country following different cultures and traditions from ages. Similarly, each religion has its own set of rituals, customs, and traditions. And those customs are passed down from one generation to another, making it more enthralling. Among such sacred customs is the “Wedding”. Every religion and community has its own unique wedding rituals. And talking about wedding rituals, the first thing that might come to your mind is of a Punjabi wedding, thanks to the many hit Bollywood wedding scenes. They have their own distinct Punjabi wedding rituals.
Well, when it comes to Punjabi wedding and Punjabi wedding traditions, the big fat wedding is the first thing that comes to one’s mind, because a lot more is happening. A wedding in Punjabi family is very glamorous and high-spirited. Families love to flaunt their wearing flamboyant attires. And honestly speaking these colourful attires actually justify their joyful personalities. A Punjabi pre-wedding ceremony is incomplete without music and dance and everyone in the family participates in it to express their happiness.
Also, read: Tamil Brahmin Wedding Rituals
As a matter of fact, these Punjabi wedding traditions and rituals are really fascinating even for the non -Punjabi’s. It’s quite common these days for couples from other community to have a sangeet ceremony for the sheer joy of it. As a result, it makes one curious about knowing their culture and its aspects. Therefore, through this blog, we have tried to elaborate on the Punjabi wedding rituals.
Pre Wedding Rituals
Roka and Taka
This first ritual of Punjabi wedding is followed before the whole world comes to know about two people getting married. The ritual of Roka and Taka is a very personal affair between two families of would-be bride and groom.
Once the boy and the girl decide to marry, each other. The bride’s family visits the groom’s family to express their willingness and agreement, which is the Roka custom. Similarly, in Taka custom the groom’s family visits the brides’ family to show their consent. Both the families show their happiness by offering some gifts, money, sweets, fruits to each other. From here on all the planning and discussion for the wedding are commenced.
Well, this ceremony is a very sweet little gesture by the group of ladies from the groom’s family. In the chunni ceremony, female relatives and the mother of the groom visit the bride’s place with gifts, engagement attire, sweets, jewellery, chunni (scarf) etc. The main element of this ritual is the red scarf or the chunni.
Here, the groom’s mother puts the red chunni on the daughter-in-law’s head like a veil, which is known as the Chunni Chadhana ceremony and shower her blessings. This Punjabi marriage ritual takes place a day before the engagement or on the engagement day.
All the rituals that take place before the engagement are private functions just between the bride and the groom’s family. It’s usually discreet and a low key affair. But the engagement is celebrated with relatives, friends, neighbours etc.
The main part of the engagement ceremony is the ring exchange ceremony. Here, the would-be bride and groom put the ring on each other fingers. However, before the ring ceremony, the family members of the bride and groom commence the ceremony with a small puja.
The ring ceremony is followed by the most awaited part of the engagement dance performances by both the families. The excitement level is high in both, the performers and spectators. Each family member practices for months to give their impeccable performance. Other than that, even the bride and groom perform which is the limelight of night.
Mehendi is considered very sacred in the Hindu religion. It is considered imperative to put Mehendi on any auspicious occasions. Hence, at weddings too, this custom if followed with lots of enthusiasm.
Like the other Punjabi wedding rituals, Mehendi function is also celebrated in an extravagant style. There is a proper themed decoration at the wedding venue. The ladies in the family sing and dance on the songs related to Mehendi. The bride usually adorns a beautiful attire as per the theme. The bride along with the other female members in the family apply mehendi/henna. While bridal mehendi is very elaborate and intricate covering major parts of her hands and legs, the others may opt for simpler designs.
Usually, this event is the limelight of the pre-wedding ceremonies and celebrated with much ado. Earlier it used to be a private affair. But these days its one more opportunity to cherish the wedding and celebrate.
Chudha Chadhana Ceremony
A newly married woman wearing red bangles or chodha is not just a fashion statement. It symbolizes her wish for a happy and long married life. Therefore, chodha chadhna is very important in Punjabi wedding rituals and very distinct too.
This ceremony is mainly done by the maternal uncle/”mama”. The uncle and his wife make the would-be-bride wear a set of 21 bangles in red and ivory colour. Before making the bride wear these bangles, they are purified by dipping into milk and rose petals. The bride has to wear them for at least for 40-45 days after the wedding.
Punjabi Wedding Rituals
Once the bride-to-be wears her chudha, her sister, friends, and sister-in-law tie an umbrella-shaped to one of the bangles. It is known as kalire. It is believed that when the kalire falls on any unmarried female, then that female will soon get married. The kalire is the combination of coconut, dry fruits and dried betel nuts. In fact, these small, little functions of a Punjabi wedding make the wedding ceremony more memorable and interesting.
Haldi/Turmeric is considered sacred in the Hindu religion. On the morning of the wedding day, there is a Haldi function at both the groom’s and bride’s side.
The family members apply a paste of turmeric, sandalwood, mustard oil and rose water on would-be-bride and groom. This paste is especially scrubbed on the face to make the skin more glowing. Additionally, they place four diyas/lamps around the bride. It is believed that the light illuminating from the lamp will maintain the glow on the bride’s face. Later, the family members apply haldi on each other just for fun.
After the haldi ceremony, the bride and groom and their family members visit a temple nearby. A ghara/pot full of holy water is poured on the would-be couple. Then they enter the inner sanctum of the temple to seek blessings from the deity.
Sehra is the headgear that a groom usually wears. However, Punjabi grooms wear a turban instead of sehra. The eldest male member of the family or the father of the groom performs this ritual. Once the groom has worn his wedding attire, a small puja is done by the priest and the turban is wrapped around the groom’s head. Usually, the sehra or the turban is pink in colour.
Ghodhi chadhana is a very unique Punjabi wedding tradition. The groom arrives wedding venue riding a horse. Before the groom mounts on the horse, the females in the family feed water and lentil to the horse. The journey the venue is the highlight as everyone dances their heart out. It’s usually a grand procession with music band, lights etc. It’s considered a matter of pride for the groom and his gang to make a grand entry. This tradition is quite popular is most of the weddings in the Northern part of India.
Agwanni And Milni
Agwanni meaning warm welcome is bestowed by the bride’s family upon the groom and his family. It happens at the wedding venue. In other words, the bride’s welcome the groom’s side open-heartedly and with full enthusiasm. This includes a lot of hugs and handshakes between the two families.
Milini ritual is basically greeting each member on a one-on-one basis as per their relationship with the bride and groom. Firstly, the groom is welcomed by his would-be mother-in-law. After that, all the members meet each other. For instance, the bride’s maternal aunt greets the groom’s maternal aunt and so on.
Varmala or Jailmala
Varmala or floral garland is one of the interesting parts of a wedding. In this ritual, the groom and bride are supposed to exchange the garland by putting it around each other. However, it is not But there is a tough competition among the two families, in a mischievous way. as simple as it sounds. Both the bride and groom compete as to who puts the garland first. So each of them tries to resist and use tricks to win. Needless to say, this fun-filled event is an exciting site to watch.
Madhuperka is a sacred ritual. Once the couple sits in a Mandap in front of the havan/holy pyre, the groom has to sprinkle some water on himself from a bowl and drink the rest. After this, he sprinkles a traditional and sacred drink called Madhuperk in all directions and drinks the rest of it. This traditional drink is a mixture of honey, ghee, milk, curd.
The utmost sacrifice by a parent is “Kanyadaan” or giving away one’s daughter. As per the Hindu religion, this sacred ritual. It means that the bride’s father willingly agrees to marry his daughter to the groom. The groom accepts her with 14 vows. A plate with 14 parallel lines of flour, each symbolizing a vow, is placed in front of the groom. The groom has to erase the flour line with a flower bud every time he takes a wedding vow.
After Kanyadaan, the groom and the bride circle around the holy pyre/havan for four times. They do this either by holding each other’s hands or with their respective dupattas tied to each other.
For the first three pheras, the bride leads the groom and in the last one, she follows the groom. With the completion of the pheras, they are considered married.
Lajahom is a small Punjabi wedding ritual that emphasizes the relationship between the bride and her brother. It is actually part of pheras. At the beginning of each phera, the brother gives the couple some rice flakes which they offer to the havan/holy pyre. This process continues until the last phera and is called lajahom.
In this ritual, the groom applies sindoor/vermilion on the bride’s forehead. Sindoor, like a mangalsutra is a sign of being married. Not to mention that the bride looks complete with sindoor on her forehead.
Viddai is a very emotional part of the wedding for the bride and her parents. It’s the last phase in the marriage when the bride leaves her parents behind and start a new phase of her life with her husband. With every step that the bride takes she throws rice flakes over her shoulders on her family members. Unlike the other rituals which are fun-filled, everyone is tear eyed during the viddai.
Post Wedding Rituals
Once the bride arrives at the groom’s place, she is welcomed by her mother-in-law with an arti with a pot full of water. At the end of the seventh round of arti, the bride drinks the water.
Then there is a rice-filled pot kept at the entrance. The bride has to overturn the pot with her right foot and enter the groom’s house.
Mooh Dikhai means ‘ show your face’. It is done to introduce the newlywed bride to the family groom’s members. While the bride sits with a veil or dupatta on her face, the female members of the family take turns to unveil the bride’s face and give her some lovely gifts. It is a sweet way to make the bride feel comfortable and happy in the new atmosphere.
The groom’s family arranges for a lavish feast to celebrate the occasion through a reception party for friends, family members, colleagues, and acquaintances.
In pag phera, the bride visite her parent’s house for the first time after the wedding with her husband. The couple stays there overnight. While returning, they are sent with many gifts and sweets for the couple and the groom’s family.
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