Sikh weddings are always conducted according to the rituals mentioned in the Guru Granth Sahib, the main religious scripture of Sikhism. There are plenty of pre- and post-wedding rituals that new couples need to observe in the presence of their family members and friends.

Sikh pre-wedding rituals

Roka and Thaka – Roka is the ritual when the bride’s family members visit the groom’s house, to gift him sagan or token money and sweets. It is followed by Thaka, which is a ritual when the groom’s family visits the bride’s house to gift her sagan, sweets, and dry fruits.

Kurmai – This ritual may occur months before the wedding or just immediately before the main ceremony, at the groom’s house, or in a Gurdwara. The bride’s family brings dry fruits and a gold bangle or watch for the groom, which they put on a large scarf held by the groom.

Shagun and Chithi – The bride is gifted some expensive family heirlooms, like a necklace or bangles, by her mother-in-law before the marriage and this ritual is called Shagun. The families of the bride and groom choose the perfect Sikh wedding invitation cards called Chithi, to invite all their acquaintances for this wedding ceremony.

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Chunnichadai – The ladies from the groom’s family visit the bride’s house and gift her the dress to be worn for the occasion of Sagai. The groom’s mother covers the head of the bride with a red chunni or scarf, called Chunnichadai.

 Chooda ceremony – The bride is given a set of red and ivory-colored bangles by her eldest maternal uncle on the morning of the wedding date, after purifying the bangles in sacred liquid. The bride’s face is covered as she should not see these bangles before the wedding while her maternal uncle and aunt put the bangles on her wrists.

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Maiya – This is a type of rangoli made at the balcony and garden of the bride’s house on the wedding day. Rice powder, flour, and colored powder are used to make the elaborate designs of Maiya for decorating the wedding venue.

Gana – In this ritual, a red thread is tied on the left hand of the bride, as well as on the right hand of the groom. This sacred thread is supposed to drive off evil omens from their life.

Vatna – This ritual is also called the Haldi ceremony, where a mixture of turmeric paste, flour, and mustard oil is applied to the hands and feet of the bride and the groom separately at their houses, by female members of their families.

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Gharoli – This ritual is observed by the sisters-in-law or sisters of the bride and groom. They fetch water from the local Gurdwara or any holy place in earthen pots called Gharoli. The bride and groom are bathed with this water after the Haldi ceremony.

Sikh wedding rituals

Milni ceremony – When the groom arrives at the wedding venue, his father and other relatives are welcomed and greeted by similar relatives of the bride. It is called Milni where both families get acquainted with each other.

The Anand Karaj – This is the main wedding ceremony, as in Gurmukhi language it means “Act towards happy life”, evolved from the Sanskrit phrase “Anand Kaarya”. Here, a sacred marriage contract is read to seal the spiritual bonding between the bride and groom, as well as their families.

Lavan Pheras – The bride and the groom take four pheras called Lavan around the sacred fire, which means the spiritual union of the new couple. Four verses from the Guru Granth Sahib are chanted during these four pheras, each telling them how to follow the divine rules.

 Anand Sahib – It is a collection of sacred hymns from Guru Granth Sahib that are read at the end of the Sikh marriage ceremony.

Langar – It is a community feast held jointly by both families at the Gurdwara, where people from all classes of the society are fed together.

Sikh Post-Wedding Rituals

Reception – The reception party is arranged by the groom’s family at their house, where the bride’s family and all other relatives and friends are invited to enjoy lavish meals and entertainment.

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Doli – This is a sad ritual where the bride needs to bid farewell to her family and expresses her gratitude to them by throwing some rice backward towards them over her shoulder. Then she sets off with her husband for her in-laws’ house.

Pag Phera – This is the first visit of the new couple to the bride’s house after the marriage. They stay there for a night and return the next day when her parents give some gifts to her in-laws.

In this way, the entire Sikh wedding ceremony is completed in a happy and jolly mood, with the blessings of both families.