Punjabi culture is one of the oldest in world history. Punjabis are well known for their zeal, vivaciousness and warmth of hospitality. They maintain their traditions and culture in areas of cuisines, religion, language and wedding. In case of weddings Punjabis follow their age old customs and rituals. Punjabi weddings are elaborate and unique. Some of the wedding ceremonies that are performed In Punjabi weddings are:
It is the official announcement from the families of both the bride and groom, that both of them have found their soulmates. In future they will be married to each other. Although no rings are exchanged among the would-be-bride and groom, they are considered to be engaged since the time of Roka. The bride’s maternal uncle presents her the nath (nose-ring) that she will wear on her wedding day.
Sagai is the official engagement ceremony. But nowadays the “Tikka” ceremony is also performed alongside the Sagai. On Tikka, the girl’s family carries beautifully wrapped gifts and the Tikka accessories like a silver tray with two silver bowls consisting of few grains of rice and saffron, 14 dried dates wrapped in a silver foil and a coconut wrapped in a golden leaf, to the boy’s house. The girl’s father applies tikka on the would-be son-in-law’s forehead, bestows blessings on him and gives him some money. In return the girl’s family receives baskets of seven dried fruits. Following this, begins the ceremony of Sagai. The girl is covered with a much ornate “chunni”, most of the times this chunni is inherited. Finally the girl and the boy exchange rings with which ends the Sagai.
Sangeet is a homely function where song and dance are performed to celebrate the occasion of wedding. The performance may be folk based or modern. Nowadays families even hire DJs to perform on Sangeet. On the other hand, Mehndi is the final major ceremony before marriage. Professional Mehndi Walis are called to the respective houses of bride and groom, and they apply Mehndi on the hands of the bride and the other female members of the family. On the darkness of the Mehndi, depends the marital luck of the bride. It is considered auspicious by them.
On the big day of the wedding, both the bride and groom are applied with “batna” a paste of flour and turmeric. It is believed to enhance their beauty and fairness. After the bath, the bride is made to wear the bridal “churas” which is a collection of red and ivory colored bangles. This is the first mark of her status as a bride. On the other hand, the groom after a bath, is tied with a sehera (veil of flowers) on his turban by his mother. By doing this the mother prays to God that his son’s life will be as beautiful and fragrant as the flowers.
Finally, in the evening the bride’s family waits for the “baarat” which is the groom and his family. They welcome the baarat and after that begins the rituals of weddings consisting of various customs like saat phere, kanyadaan, and a farewell of the bride called “vidaai”. Thus ends a happy Punjabi wedding and the bride and groom enter into a new married life.
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