The tradition of marriage stands as the most sacred and pious ceremonies in Indian culture. The richness of Indian heritage is carried out in the various wedding customs that are observed in the different states of India.
Marriage symbolizes the virtues of love and companionship through the best and the worst of times. The bride and the groom bonded by the nuptial knot take vows to support each other in times of happiness as well as distress.
The occasion of wedding brings along an air of joy, laughter and merriment. The gathering of the familial relations strengthens the ties of love and affections. The atmosphere of festivity and celebration intensifies the joys of the prospective bride and
The aura of merriment that surrounds a wedding ceremony is best exemplified through Punjabi wedding rituals.
Punjab can be defined as a land of large hearted people, who believe in living a life full of love, laughter and frolic. Their enthusiasm and zest for life shines through their personality and charisma. The charm of Punjabi weddings lies in the elaborate and flamboyant customs that are followed in the Punjabi culture. Gracefully upholding the richness of their traditions, Punjabi community heightens the frolic and gaiety of the wedding ceremonies.
Punjabi wedding rituals consist of ostentatious and extravagant practices. The wedding celebrations begin with the Roka ceremony which is the formal beginning of relationships between the families of the prospective bride and groom, securing their commitment in the process. This is followed by a ‘Sagan’ ceremony wherein the groom goes through a ritualistic practice of being offered gifts and sweets by the bride’s family. The custom of ‘Chunni Chadana’ is then carried out by the groom’s family in which the bride is gifted with a red saree as a token for being accepted into the groom’s family.
The ‘Sangeet’ ceremony then follows, in which traditional folk songs are sung and beautiful dances are carried out. As part of Kwar dhoti, the custom of ‘Mehandi’ is then carried out.
The wedding rituals comprise of ‘Chuda’, ‘Vatna’, ‘Ghara Ghardoli’, ‘sehrabandi’, ‘Ghodi Chadna’, ‘Milni’, ‘Varmala’, ‘Kanyadaan’ and ‘Phere’.
The ‘Chuda’ ceremony is commemorated with a havan or puja conducted by the priest, who ties a thread on the bride’s wrist. Chuda, a set of red and cream ivory bangles are then rotated and touched by all present to bless the bride for her future married life.
The custom of ‘Vatna’ then follows wherein turmeric paste and mustard oil is applies on the bride’s body to enhance her beauty on the day of the wedding. The ritual of ‘Ghara Ghardoli’ is then carried out by the bride’s sibling or sibling’s spouse or wife who visits the nearby temple and fills a pitcher with holy water. The bride is then bathed with this Holy water. The rituals of Vatna and Ghara Ghardoli is observed in both the bride’s and the groom’s family.
The custom of Sehrabandi then follows, wherein the groom is tied a turban after which he is offered gifts and cash as tokens of good luck and love.
Ghodi Chadna is a ritual in which the groom’s mare is fed by his sisters. He then climbs the mare and leaves for the wedding venue.
The Milni ceremony is a custom in which the groom’s family and relatives are offered a warm welcome by that of the bride’s. Garlands and gifts are exchanged after which the groom is led to meet his bride.
The ritual of Varmala then follows wherein the bride and the groom exchange garlands.
The culmination of the wedding happens when the rituals of ‘Kanyadaan’ and ‘Phere’ are performed. The bride’s father hands over his daughter to the groom. The Punjabi bride and the groom then take seven rounds or ‘Saat Phere’ around the sacred fire. These rounds are solemnized by the chanting of mantra by the priest.
Punjabi weddings are thus an occasion of extreme liveliness and exhilaration. The richness of Punjabi customs and traditions are effectively extended to their wedding ceremonies, intensifying the joyous occasion of the union of the bride and groom.