Every time one thinks of Punjabi weddings, in comes the image of happy, cheerful faces, dressed in jazzy attire, breaking into a jig to a loud song and dance sequence. Set in an extravagant backdrop, the image is nothing short of a happy joy ride, perhaps a larger than life scene from Karan Johar’s filmi way of celebrating weddings on celluloid.
And it is, whether it is the gala wedding backdrop, the labeled fashion couture of the bride and groom, the fanfare, merrymaking, the vast array of food, and not to mention, the rituals, everything takes place on a grand scale.
The Punjabi wedding rituals are not just elaborate, but also vibrant. Let’s take a look at the detailed wedding ritual plan of a Punjabi wedding.
This ceremony is often considered as the engagement of the bride and groom and the acceptance of their togetherness in respective families. Highlighted with an exchange of gifts, the ritual marks the involvement of friends and family.
Held at the groom’s place, the ritual is all about blessing the groom. The bride’s parents and relatives bless the groom and shower him with gifts and cash.
This ritual is similar to Sagan, except that it takes place in bride’s home. However, there is a custom of gifting a “red chunni” or “red sari” to the bride, which is usually given by the groom’s sister or sister-in-law. The girl wears the chunni and goes to the groom’s place, where she is showered with gifts and jewellery by her would-be mother-in-law. The ritual is further sealed by the exchange of rings between the groom and bride.
Sangeet and Mehendi
These ceremonies are more fun filled and vibrant than any other rituals. While Mehendi is all about decorating the palms and feet of the bride and the female relatives, Sangeet is about making merry. Women sing and dance to wedding songs in this ritual.
This is the ritual that happens in the bride’s house. The girl’s maternal uncle or brother helps her wear chuda, set of white and red bangles. Soon after this, the girl is smeared with turmeric and oil paste with good wishes by her family members. She takes a bath with holy water post the ritual and then wears the bridal attire, offered to her by her maternal uncle.
Similar ritual of applying turmeric is also witnessed in the groom’s house. However, an elderly relative helps the groom wear his ‘sehra’ along with his attire.
Often meaning “staying awake”, the Jago ritual involves the relatives of the groom and bride, in their respective abodes, to stay up all night. The idea is to celebrate the wedding and make merry by dancing and partying. The aunt of the bride and groom takes an earthen pot filled with candles, places it on her head and dances. The pot is further passed on to other merrymakers as well.
On the day of wedding, the wedding progresses with ‘Sehrabandi, milni rasam, jaimala and phera dalna’. These, coupled with games for the newlyweds, post vidaai, make the wedding ceremony replete with elaborate rituals of the Punjabi community.
Image Courtesy: Anshum M Photography