Punjabi Wedding Rituals WedSwing

Punjabi Wedding Rituals (Pre Wedding, Wedding Day and Post Wedding)

Punjabis are boisterous, fun-loving and a large-hearted people who believe in expressing their emotion with gusto and their weddings reflect this philosophy; Punjabi weddings are colorful, loud and filled with lots of opportunities for singing and dancing one’s heart out. A host of pre and post wedding rituals make a Punjabi wedding a lengthy and enjoyable affair, sometimes even lasting the entire week! Even though the Punjabis do not miss an opportunity to have a good time, their weddings display their desire to adhere to traditions, albeit with an unconventional twist to them sometimes. From elaborate lehengas to the noisy barats, the Sangeet to the extremely hospitable people, a Punjabi wedding is a true celebration. Let’s take a look at the various wedding rituals.

Pre-Wedding Rituals

Roka and Thaka

When all aspects of the marriage look satisfactory, the bride’s family visits the groom’s place to offer the groom their blessing along with various gifts for the family like fruits, sweets, clothes, money also known as shagun etc. This custom is known as the Roka. The bride is generally not present at the Roka. The groom’s family reciprocates the gesture by visiting the bride’s family on a separate day carrying gifts. The return ceremony is known as Thaka.

roka

Mangini/Sagai

This ceremony marks the official engagement between the couple. This is often a grand ceremony and precedes the wedding by some months at least.

Chunni Chadana

To mark the acceptance of the bride into the groom’s family, the Chunni Ceremony is observed. The Chunni is placed on the bride’s head and her face is covered with it like a veil. This ceremony is known as Chunni Chadana. She is then gifted jewelry like bangles or necklaces that are family heirlooms.

Sangeet

The Sangeet is a musical party generally arranged by the bride’s family. Traditionally, the ladies of the family got together and sat surrounding the bride. The groom and a few of his family members were also invited to participate. Nowadays, the sangeet is a gala event when both the families get together to enjoy a fun-filled musical evening.

Sangeet

Mehendi

Mehendi is an indispensable part of Punjabi wedding ceremony. The bride sits down on a special stool while the henna paste is applied to her hands and feet. The henna designs are intricate and elaborate, and the groom’s initials are hidden amidst the various patterns. Other female members of the family also get henna applied to their hands.

Mehendi

Wedding Day Rituals

Gana Bandhna

On the morning of the wedding day, in their respective houses, the bride and the groom attend a puja. After completion of the puja, the priest ties a sacred thread or mouli to their right wrists.

Chooda Chadana

Chooda refers to a set of red and ivory bangles. The eldest maternal uncle of the bride has a vital role to play in this ceremony; he performs a haven, during which the chooda are purified in a liquid mixture containing milk and rose petals. The head and face of the bride are covered during the ceremony as she is not supposed to see the chooda until the moment of her wedding. The maternal uncle and his wife then slip the Chooda into the bride’s hands.

Haldi

Four lamps are lit and the bride sits on a low wooden stool, facing them. A paste made of sandalwood, turmeric, rosewater, and mustard oil is prepared and applied all over the bride’s body especially face, hands and feet by the married ladies of the family. A similar ceremony is also observed at the groom’s house.

Haldi

Sehrabandi and Varna

The groom dresses up in his wedding sherwani and churidar and a small puja is then performed in his honor. The turban and the Sehra are sanctified by the priest during this puja and tied around the head of the groom by an elder male member of the family or the groom’s brother-in-law.

Ghodi Charna or Baraat

Traditionally, the Punjabi groom sets off for the wedding venue by riding a mare. The mare is decorated with ornaments and a tika is applied on its head. He is also accompanied by members of his family to the wedding venue. The wedding procession is accompanied by a band that plays upbeat music, and the members of the wedding procession dance to it.

Varmala

Upon entering the wedding hall, the groom is led towards the stage and he is made to stand on a small pedestal. At the designated muhurat- auspicious time- the bride arrives at the stage and the couple exchange garlands. This is a fun-filled ceremony where there is competition among the two sides to lift either the bride or the groom higher so that the other cannot put the garland over his or her head.

Kanyadaan

During this age-old Vedic ritual, the bride is given away by her parents to the groom. Through Vedic mantras, the father asks the groom to take good care of his daughter. The groom accepts the bride’s hand and promises her father that he will treat her with the utmost love and respect throughout his life. The wedding havan, sacred fire is then lit. In Hindu custom, the fire deity is the most important witness to a wedding. The groom is handed a plate which has fourteen parallel lines drawn on a bed of flour with a flower. The lines symbolize fourteen vows of a marriage. The priest outlines these vows one by
one through Vedic mantras; the groom repeats after him and erases each line with the flower bud.

Kanyadaan

Phere

During this ritual, the ends of their dupattas are tied in a knot and they circle the sacred fire four times. For the first three times, the bride precedes the groom and for the final phera, she has to follow the groom.

Phere

Lajahom

For this ritual, the bride’s brother pours puffed rice into her cupped hands. The bride and the groom then offer this to the fire together and seek the Fire God’s blessings. This ritual is repeated thrice.

Sindoor Daan

After completion of the Lajahom, the groom applies sindoor to the bride’s hair parting and ties the Mangalsutra around her neck. This completes the wedding rituals.

Sindoor Daan

Post-wedding Rituals

Vidaai/Doli

The bride bids a tearful goodbye to her family and throws the handful of rice over her shoulder in her family’s direction. Through this, she expresses her gratitude to her family for taking care of her for so long. She is then sent off in a decorated car to her husband’s home. This return bridal procession is known as Doli.

Vidaai/Doli - post wedding ritual

Paani Bharna

On arrival of the Doli, the mother of the groom does an arti of the bride with a pitcher of water. After each circle, the mother-in-law attempts to take a sip of water, but the bride prevents her from drinking. She finally relents after the seventh circle. She then crosses the threshold after overturning a pot of rice with her right feet.

Reception

A lavish reception party is thrown by the groom’s family in honor of the newlyweds. A Punjabi reception is an occasion of immense joy with scrumptious meals and high-spirited music.

Related read:
List of top ten Indian wedding planners.

Pag Phera

The bride returns to her parent’s home with her husband. The parents welcome their daughter and son-in-law with a grand lunch. The couple has to spend the night at her parent’s place. The next day she returns to her husband’s home with a lot of gifts for her in-laws. This marks the end of the wedding celebrations.

Wedding Attire

Groom

The Punjabi groom traditionally wears a set of Kurta and Pajama to the wedding, but the Kurta may also be paired with churidar trousers. The designs on these Kurtas are generally lavish and elaborate. Nowadays, as a standard, the Punjabi groom wears a Sherwani, cream or off-white is the preferred color, with lots of embellishments using zari thread work, beadwork and stone decoration. He pairs the Sherwani with a pajama or churidar in a complementary color like blue or maroon and a dupatta tied around his neck completes the outfit. On his feet, he wears traditional jooti or more modern
loafers, while his head is decorated by a headdress with dangling strands of either flowers or decorative ribbons and even strings of pearls that cover his face. This special headdress is known as Sehra.

groom

Bride

The Punjabi bride is a true sight to behold. Resplendent in a gorgeous lehenga and bright jewelry, she is truly the belle of the ball. Although red is the traditional wedding color for most Indian brides, Punjabi brides are known to go for other colors like green, gold, fuchsia, and orange. She pairs the lehenga with a matching dupatta, which is used to cover her head. Some compulsory components are maangtika, bangles, Nath, Chooda (a traditional red and ivory colored bangle set in multiples of four), Kamarbandh and Paijaniya.

bride

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