Punjabi wedding traditions

Punjabi wedding traditions

Punjabi wedding traditions and ceremonies are traditionally conducted in Punjabi and are a strong reflection of Punjabi culture.While the actual religious marriage ceremony, among Hindus, Sikhs and Jains may be conducted in Sanskrit, Punjabi by the Pundit, Granthi or Priest, while the Muslim wedding are performed Qazi or Imam, there are commonalities in ritual, song, dance, food, and dress. The Punjabi wedding has many rituals and ceremonies that have evolved since traditional times, including many famous Punjabi dances.

Important wedding songs

Songs of the bridegroom's side

** Mangane di geet: sung at the time of engagement
** Maneve de gaon: songs sung to welcome the bridegroom
** Gharouli de geet: sung for the gharoult or dowry
** Chounki charanvele de geet: songs sung when the bridegroom sits on the chounki wooden bathing seat
** Sohhle: songs of happiness and joy
** Ghoriyaan: sung at the time of riding to the bride s house
** Sehra: sung at the time of tying the bridegrooms flower-veil
** Kangana: sung when the bride and bridegroom enter the house together for the first time.

Songs of the bride's side

** Suhag: which is sung by the bride in praise of her parents and the happy days of her childhood and in anticipation of happy days ahead.
** Jaggo: procession song to call the neighbours to the wedding.
** Churra charan vele da geet: sung when the chura, ceremonial bangles are worn by the bride.
** Janj: sung when the janj, marriage procession, is to be greeted.
** Milni: sung at the ritual introduction of the two sides.
** Ghenne de geet: sung when the bride is adorned with jewels.
** Siftan: song in praise of the bridegroom
** Chhandh: evolved from poetry, songs of joy.

Sitthniyan (crude, teasing songs)

** Song sung when the bridegroom s procession is being welcomed.
** Song sung when the wari, or gifts from the bridegroom’s side, are being exhibited.
** Song sung when the groom s party sits down to the meal.
** Song sung when the daaj, dowry or the bridal gifts, are being displayed.


** LavanPhere :sung at the time of the actual wedding ritual .
** Mahinya :sung when the girl is preparing for the wedding and is bathed by the women at home. It goes for both men and women.
** Vedi de geet : sung while erecting the marriage pandal.
** Khatt: sung at the time the maternal grandparents present gifts to the bride on an overturned tokra, or basket .
** Pani vaarna :welcoming the bride to her new home .
** Bidaigi:sung when the bride is being sent off in the doli .
** Ghughrian : sung when the doli arrives at the groom s house .
** Shahana:sung by mirasis in praise of the bridegroom .
** Til Methre :sung while welcoming the bride and orienting her to the family .
** Pattal :song sung before meal .

Wedding rituals

Pre-Wedding Rituals:

Rokka: In this ceremony, the boy and the girl commit to enter a wedlock, and won't consider any more matrimonial proposals. Ardaas is done, followed by exchange of gifts.

Mangni: The Engagement. Usually very high profile. This when the boys' side of the family goes to the girls' side with gifts, jewellery, and other goods, to confirm the engagement.Usually even an exchange of rings takes place.

Shagan: The main engagement.In this the bride's family goes with gifts to the groom's place these gifts are called shagan i.e. lucky present.

Chunni Chadana: When the boys side goes to the brides home, a day or two before the wedding, and take a red chunni and place it on her head, and also apply makeup, sindoor, jewellery, mendhi, red nail polish, bindi and other accessories to symbolize her new life with her in laws.A pooja may also be performed.

Sangeet:Can be one day or many days, usually high profile in a banquet hall, ladies sings traditional Indian songs, and it is the Indian version of the western Bridal shower.Now a days people hire DJs and have a dance party followed by dinner and drinks.

Mehndi: The Mehandi ceremony takes place in the atmosphere of a party. The bride and other ladies get mendhi (henna designs )done, on their hands and feet (most ladies get it done only on their hands but the bride gets it done on both hands and feet). For the bride the mendhi is sent by the future Mother in Law.

Rituals Observed on Wedding Day and Mayian: See: Anand Karaj and Mayian

Akhand Paat: This ceremony is optional, but is strongly suggested for a strong married life. It is a three-day prayer before all the other functions are to start. Here the Guru Granth Sahib is present and read non-stop and incense is also lit. Guest can come whenever they wish, in the first two days of the prayer, but should be present on the last day of the prayer in the morning hours. Morning hours is significant because Sikhs believe that the morning is the most peaceful time of the day. At this prayer, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided depending on when you are present at the prayer.

Chuddha Ceremony: This ceremony is performed by the maternal uncle and aunt (mama - mami) of the bride. The chuddha which is a set of red and cream ivory bangles are touched by all present to signify their blessings and good wishes for the bride. The girl's maternal uncle and aunt, friends and cousins tie kaliras (silver, gold or gold plated traditional ornaments that are tied to the chuddha). Before departing for her husband's home, the bride must tap one of her unwed female friends or cousins with her kaliras. According to popular belief, the one who is tapped thus will be the next one to marry.

Vatna: This ritual demands that the bride-to-be stay at home in her old clothes for a couple of days before her wedding. Before her bath, vatna (a paste of powdered turmeric and mustard oil) is applied on her body by female relatives and friends. Both, the ghara ghardoli and the vatna ceremonies are also performed for the groom at his house. Here the decorated pitcher of water (ghadoli) is brought for his bath by his bhabi (elder brother's wife).

Jaggo: The Jaggo ceremony is where the family dances and sings on the road in front and around the beautifully decorated wedding home. Jaggo is in the last hours of the night. They decorate copper vessels called "gaffers" with divas (clay lamps) and fill them with mustard oil and light them. The bride/bridegrooms maternal aunt (mammi) carries it on her head, and another lady will have a long stick with bells, and she will be shaking it. The ladies will then go into other friends and families homes and be welcomed by sweets and drinks, they will then dance there and move on. It is a loud ceremony, filled with joy, dancing, fireworks, and food. And if the family wishes the ladies' sangeet (ladies night of singing) and mendhi will follow the mayian and dinner.

Anand Karaj (Wedding Process)

Sarbala: A young nephew or cousin also dons similar attire. He is called the sarbala (caretaker of the groom) and accompanies him .

Sehrabandi: his relatives bless his sehra or turban.

Varna: The groom's bhabi lines his eyes with surma (kohl). After this, the groom's sisters and cousins feed and decorate his mare. varna, a ceremony that is supposed to ward off the evil eye. The cash is given away to the poor.

Milni: (means "Introductions") The Ardas is performed by the priest (Giani) followed by the formal introductions of the main male players in the families. Example is both eldest Chachas (father's younger brother) will come together and exchange garlands of flowers and money. After or during the wedding, ladies will do the same thing, but a much smaller affair.

Jaimala: After Milni, the bride and groom come in the middle of the circle where the family is standing, and place a heavily made garland made of flowers on each other to state, they accept each other and will love and live together with one and other.


Pheress/Lavan: Depending on a Hindu Punjabi Wedding or Sikh Wedding, the Bride and Groom will walk in tow around the Guru Granth Sahib four times at the set intervals, if Sikh and if Hindu around the Agni, (sacred fire] four times.Sikhs

Anandkarah :

Nikah: Nikah is Muslim marriage ceremony. Nikah is the contract between a bride and bridegroom and part of an Islamic marriage, a strong covenant (mithaqun Ghalithun) as expressed in Qur'an 4:21.

Walima: It is one of the two traditional parts of an Islamic wedding. The "walima" is performed after the "nikah", or marriage ceremony.

Juta chhupai. This is when the girl's young relatives grab the groom's untended shoes and hide it away to be returned after the ceremony for a fee which is Kalecharis of gold for the bride's sisters and of silver for her cousins. This joyful custom is called juta chhupai.

"'Post-Wedding Rituals:"

Vidaai/Doli: Vidaai marks the departure of the bride from her parental house. As a custom, the bride throws phulian or puffed rice over her head. The ritual conveys her good wishes for her parents. Her brother’s accompany the bride. Her relatives throw coins in the wake of this procession.

Rituals Observed at the Groom's House:

Pani vaarna. The groom's mother performs the traditional aarti with a pitcher of water. She makes seven attempts to drink the water from the pitcher. The groom must allow her to succeed only at the seventh attempt. The bride must, with her right foot, kick the mustard oil that is put on the sides of the entrance door before she enters the house.

Phera Dalna: the newly weds visit the bride's parents on the day after the wedding. The bride’s brother usually fetches them.

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