Punjabi Wedding ceremony is an interesting ceremony full of several rituals and customs. The wedding preparations start day before the actual wedding ceremony. Overall, a Punjabi wedding is very vibrant and colorful. The wedding ceremony starts from the Chuda ceremony and at the groom’s place with Vatna ceremony. Like most of the Hindu wedding ceremonies, Punjabi wedding is also very ritualistic. If you are interested in knowing more about a Punjabi wedding, we have given a systemized list of rituals of Punjabi wedding ceremony in the following paragraphs…
Rituals at the Bride’s home-
On the wedding day the rituals at the girl’s home begin with the Chuda ceremony. To commemorate the Chuda ceremony, a havan or puja is conducted by the pandit. Thereafter, the pundit ties a mauli on the to be bride’s wrist. The oldest maternal uncle and aunt play an important role in the performance of the ceremony. They fast till the event is completed. Chuda is basically a set of red and cream ivory bangles that is touched by all present. People touch the chuda and give their heartiest wishes to the girl for her future married life. Also, they sprinkle flower petals on the bride. Prasad is distributed to all. After that, the girl’s uncle, aunt, friends and cousins tie kaliras (silver, gold or gold plated traditional ornaments) to a bangle worn by the girl.
Four lamps or diyas are lit and the bride is made to sit facing them. Oil is constantly poured into the lamps, so that the glow from diyas is reflected on her face. Vatna involves applying the paste made from turmeric powder and mustard oil all over the girl’s body by her female friends and relatives. This is done to make the girl look more beautiful on the special day of our life.
The Ghara Ghardoli follows the Vatna. In the Ghara Ghardoli ritual, the bride’s sibling or sibling’s spouse visits the nearby temple and fills a pitcher with holy water. The girl is then bathed with this holy water. Thereafter, the bride wears their wedding attire.The ghara ghardoli and the vatna ceremonies take place at the groom’s house too. But over there, the boy’s sister-in-law brings the pitcher of water. As per the tradition, their wedding dress is presented to them by their respective maternal uncles.
Rituals at the Groom’s home
Like the bride’s home, the Vatna and Ghara Ghardoli are followed by the dressing up of groom in his wedding attire. After the groom has dressed up in his wedding clothes, a pooja is performed. Thereafter, the groom’s father or any elderly relative ties the "sehra" on the groom’s head. The boy also wears a pink color turban, which is touched by all the people present in the pooja. After the completion of Sehrabandi ceremony, all those who witness the function give gifts and cash to the boy as a token of good luck.
The Ghori Chadna is the final ceremony at the groom’s place. The groom’s sister-in-law lines the boy’s eyes with surma. Thereafter, the groom’s sisters and cousins feed and adorn his mare. To ward off the evil eye, people use cash and perform the Varna ritual. After that the boy climbs the horse and immediately leaves his home for the wedding venue.
Rituals at the Marriage Venue
When the groom’s barat reaches the wedding venue, Milni ceremony is performed. The bride’s close relatives give a warm welcome to the groom and his relatives with flower garlands. Rose water is sprinkled on them. In the Milni ceremony, the girl's relatives give Shagun (a token of good luck) to the groom's close relatives. It is done in the descending order, beginning from the elder most. Cash and clothes are gifted.
Varmala is the actual beginning of marriage rituals on the involves the exchange of garlands between the bride and groom. Friends and relatives of the bride and groom indulge in teasing and fun, to celebrate this happy occasion. An auspicious time or muhurat is chosen for the performance of wedding ceremony. At the time of muhurat, the purohit conducts a puja for the groom, in which the groom is asked to chant the first few mantras. It is during this time, when the bride’s sisters indulge in stealing of shoes. It is a fun tradition, in which the girls charge a fee for agreeing to return the shoes.
Kanyadaan and Phere
The wedding is actually solemnized with four important rituals- the Kanyadaan, in which the bride’s father giving his daughter's hand to the groom, the Mangalpheras in front of the sacred fire, the Sindoor ritual when the groom applies vermilion to the girl’s hair partition and the Mangalsutra Rasam when the groom ties a beaded necklace to the girl’s neck. When all these rituals are over, the couple gets up to touch the feet of all the elder members in the family and seek their blessings for a happily married life.