The marriage ceremony, known as Anand Karaj, means “Blissful Event”. Sikhs regard marriage as a sacred bond of mutual dependence between a man and a woman; a true partnership of equals in marriage is made between those who are united in spirit as well as in mind and body. Marriage is regarded as a strong lifetime bond between the bride and groom and a union between both the families of the bride and groom.
The ceremony has been recognised by the Indian Government since 1909. Sikhism is strictly against the orthodox practice of dowry exchange at the time of marriage, and upholds the ideals of equality to the man and the woman during the wedding proceedings, and nothing less. A celebration of a divine, familial union, a Sikh Wedding is solemnised in totality after days of processions, pre as well as post-wedding ceremonies and rituals. The rich culture and strict adherence to religious codes of conduct make the Sikh wedding a study in contrasts. Almost 30 ceremonies in total make up for the elaborate ceremony, that is a Sikh wedding, and they may be listed as follows:
- Roka and Thaka: Parental approval sought by both parties.
- Kurmai : Formal engagement ceremony that takes place at the groom’s house or at the gurudwara.
- AkhandPaath – Generally, the weekend before the date of the Anand Karaj is fixed, readers from the family sit down at the house or at the gurudwara to read the entire Guru Granth Sahib within 48 hours’ time.
- Kirtan – Kirtan is a performance of religious music.
- Ardas – On the days leading up to the Anand Karaj, the family members visit the gurudwara daily to offer prayers.
- Karah Prasad and Langar: Offering of sweetmeats and community lunch.
- Shagan – The bride’s family sends the groom’s family gifts prior to the wedding.
- Chunni Chadana – A few days before the Anand Karaj, the groom’s female relatives visit the bride’s place to gift her with the auspicious wedding outfit, jewels, etc.
- Maiya – A cleansing ceremony where the bride/groom is made to sit down on a stool and oil is applied to their hair while turmeric paste is applied on their body.
- Karahi Chadana – Five days before the wedding, a large Wok is set up in which all items to be cooked would be made in that itself and served.
- Warna: Any amount of currency notes is waved around the bride’s/groom’s head clockwise and the money is then given away to charity.
- Gaana – Here, a red thread is tied on the right wrist of the groom and on the left wrist of the bride.
- Gharoli – The bride or the groom’s sister-in-law visits a nearby gurudwara and fills up a special earthenware pot, Gharoli, with holy water, which is then used to bathe the bride/groom after their Vatnaa.
- Vatnaa: A special turmeric, barley and mustard paste that is applied on the bride/groom’s body for beautification. There is song and dance around, a hearty procession.
- Mehendi – The ceremony is practiced two or three days before the wedding. Henna paste is applied to the bride’s hands and feet in elaborately beautiful patterns.
- Chooda and Kalire – The maternal uncle of the bride gifts her Chooda, a set of 21 red and white bangles. After the Chooda ceremony, the relatives of the bride come up to her and tie umbrella-shaped metallic ornaments called Kalire to her bangles and offer their blessings.
- SehraBandi – On the day of the wedding, before the wedding party departs from the groom’s home, the turban is tied around the groom’s head by his father. He is handed over a fake sword by his father that he has to carry during all the wedding ceremonies. The sister of the groom then ties the Sehra, a curtain made of golden ribbons or flowers or even string of pearls, around the turban and covering the groom’s face.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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