A joyful and colourful event. That’s how all Sikh wedding attendants would describe it. Far from western weddings, this event in Sikh culture is colourful not only because of the stunning outfits the groom and bride are wearing, but also because of all the customs involved and because of their significance. The passage ritual for the young new couple is a stunning event, and the assistance of a Guru is a necessity, offering guidance in the life of a married couple. However, for all people having to attend a Sikh destination wedding and not knowing what to expect from it, below are have a few important traditions and rituals.
Barat, the groom’s departure
The groom, wearing a stunning, colourful outfit is riding a white horse, on his way to the place of the ceremony. However, in modern times, he may be arriving at the established place in a car, decorated with flowers. As he makes his way to the pandal, the close relatives are singing and dancing aside, celebrating his new path in life as a married man. The white horse represents the power and peace that will guide the groom in his life as a husband.
Marat, a ceremony exclusively for men
After the ceremony, the groom is welcomed in the bride’s family by her father, handing him as a present an envelope with money. This represents the support and acceptance of her family, as well as a way of enabling a new start by their daughter’s side.
Lavan Pheras, the ritual of blessing the marriage
The Guru officiating the marriage gives the soon-to-be married couple Gods’ blessing, while the father of the bride helps the groom and bride tie their clothes together as a symbol of eternal bondage in the institution of marriage.
Anand Sahib, the one hour-long ceremony
During this part of a Sikh wedding, the Guru or the priest is reading from the Book of Bliss, explaining to the new couple essential aspects of a marriage. These lessons include their duties in the community and family, mutual love, passing together through a chaotic life and finding inner peace in love, and ultimately, the priest is talking about the love both bride and groom are witnessing that in the end can translate into an endless love of God. Lately, it has become more and more difficult for young Sikh couples to find a Sikh Priest for destination weddings, because not all are able to closely follow all traditions and rituals.
The Garland ceremony
After the religious ceremony, the families of the bride and groom are putting flower garlands on the new couple. The ritual is started by the groom’s father, followed by his mother and ultimately by the bride’s parents. Before this, the couple is exchanging rings, as a symbol of their holy union.
Sikh weddings are stunning life events, and the ceremonies and rituals are charming for sure. If you have doubts regarding the etiquette, make sure you do a little research beforehand. This way, you will make sure you pay the all respect the couple and their relatives deserve.