This is a discussion on Sikh Marriages within the Roots and Culture forums, part of the :- Mature Discussions -: category; Preparations at Home
If Sri Guru Granth Sahib is installed at home, it is usually kept in a separate room ...
Preparations at Home If Sri Guru Granth Sahib is installed at home, it is usually kept in a separate room out of reverence and respect. Any religious ceremonies at home center around Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
The family reads Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the morning before departing. Here the grooms mother performs the duties. Receiving the ceremonial sword for the day from his uncle. Everyone performs Ardas the common Sikh prayer. Bowing down before Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Receiving a mouthfull of traditional sweets from his mother.
Departure of the Braat Close family and friends are invited to the house to depart together for the Gurdwara. Everyone receives tea and snacks before departing.
The groom and his nephews in the car. The children playing basketball in the front yard. Getting last minute advice from family members. The family departs singing traditional wedding songs.
Arrival at the Gurdwara Keeping an old Sikh tradition alive the groom has arranged to arrive by horseback for the meeting of the families.
The groom and his nephews approach the Gurdwara. In the Gurdwara parking lot the groom mounts his horse. The bride's family and friends await the arrival of the groom. The ragis perform kirtan as the two families meet.
The Braat approach the brides family outside the Gurdwara
Performing Ardas Ardas is the common Sikh prayer and is invoked at the start and conclusion of every Sikh event. Here both families perform Ardas on their meeting each other.
Everyone recites the Sikh common prayer Ardas in reverence. The Milni A simple ceremony takes place and both families exchange well wishes on meeting each other. This is followed by light snacks and tea before the religious ceremony begins.
A mother & daughter enjoy the moment. One by one designated family members exchange garlands and a hug. The groom distributes Karah Prashad (ceremonial sacremental pudding) to his family. Everyone enjoys tea and snacks in a large tent beside the Gurdwara
the Gurdwara Ragis perform kirtan (the singing of hymns from Sri Guru Granth Sahib) as people begin to enter the Gurdwara for the beginning of the ceremony. This is when the bride makes here first public appearance of the day. Men and women sit on opposite sides of the Gurdwara hall at equal distances from Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Non Sikh male and female visitors and guests can usually sit together if they wish.
The sounds of kirtan are heard as people enter and pay their
respects before Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The groom and his parents enter and he presents a cash offering as well as a rumala, a new silk covering for Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The groom sits before Sri Guru Granth Sahib and listens to kirtan as he awaits the bride's arrival. The bride and her family enter the Gurdwara. The bride sits down beside the groom and waits as people continue to arrive. The granthi (caretaker of the Granth Sahib) sits in attendance of
Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which is covered when not being read
Reading of the Lavans The religious ceremony can be conducted by any respected Sikh man or woman. In this case it is being conducted by the local granthi who is in charge of respectfully looking after Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The ceremony officially begins with the officiate after having ascertained that both the bride and groom are Sikh asking the couple to stand up as well as their parents for Ardas. This family Ardas indicated the public consent of the parties involved to this marriage taking place. Every time the bride and groom arise or sit down during the ceremony they will bow down to Sri Guru Granth Sahib out of respect by touching their foreheads to the ground. After Ardas the couple sit down and the officiate then lectures the couple in the significance of marriage, their duties and obligations to each others as equal partners. The couple indicate their agreement to these guidelines and principles by bowing down before Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The father of the bride then places one end of a scarf or sash worn by the groom over his shoulders in his daughters hand signifying that she is now leaving his care to join her husbands. The officiate now reads the Lavan hymn of Guru Ram Das which is composed of four stanzas. The four stanza of the hymn describes the progression of love between a husband and wife which is analogous to that between the soul (bride) and God (the husband). After the conclusion of the recitation of each stanza the groom followed by the bride holding the end of the scarf go around Sri Guru Granth Sahib in a clockwise direction while the ragis sing out the recited Lavan stanza. After each round the couple sit down and listen while the officiate reads the next stanza. The ragis then sing it while the couple completes another walk around Sri Guru Granth Sahib. This process is repeated four times in total for each stanza of the Lavan after which the couple sit down. During their walk around Sri Guru Granth Sahib often there will be members of the girls family who help her complete her rounds with her husband. This is to signify their support for her as she leaves one family for another.
Completing a circle holding the sash in hand. Reading of the Lavan hymn begins. Standing up during the Ardas for the family. The brides family members help her. Bowing down when standing or sitting down out ofConclusion of the Religious Function After the Lavan the Anand hymn by Guru Amar Das is recited. This is followed by lectures and kirtan. The religious ceremony is formally concluded by the entire congregation standing for the final Ardas of the marriage. After this Sri Guru Granth Sahib is now opened to any page at random and the hymn is read out as the days order from the Guru for the occasion (hukamnama). Karah Prashad, ceremonial sacremental pudding is then distributed to everyone to mark the formal conclusion of the ceremony.
The couple sit and listen to the Anand Sahib hymn. Kirtan is performed by friends of the groom. A lecture on having a successful marriage. The final Ardas is performed. Karah Prashad is distributed to everyone.
respect. One of four circular walks around Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Listening and awaiting singing of the next stanza.
Well Wishes from All Both parents now congratulate the couple. In many cases guests now follow to present the couple with gifts of a cash offerings in their lap. In this wedding the couple declined these as they said they had received the ultimate gift, the blessing of the Guru. Everyone then leaves for the dining hall to sit on the floor in langer (the community kitchen) and enjoy a meal in the spirit of equality and humility.
The bride's parents congratulate their daughter and new son-in-law. Well wishers congratulate and escort the couple to the langer hall. Everyone enjoys a traditional langer meal. The couple continues to receive congratulations while relaxing in the Gurdwara library
Aftermath After the official religious ceremony concluded the couple ate in the langer hall and chatted with friends and family. They later went to a park to have some photographs taken and then journeyed to the brides home. When leaving her home the brides family and friends bid her a tearful farewell as she departs for her new home and life. The following day there was a party in a banquet hall with a cake cutting ceremony as well as the couple performing a first dance and exchanging their wedding rings. Family and friends then danced the night away and enjoyed dinner.
And they lived happily ever after...
Many thanks to my friend Harpreet Singh and his wife Ranjit Kaur for allowing me to photograph and document their wedding!