Punjabi marriages – Before the wedding day
As soon as Vivaah (marriage) is confirmed, the first ritual which is celebrated is rokka. It is the ceremony which formally declares that the alliances (boy and girl) have chosen their life partners and thereby committed to marry each other. Rokka is celebrated at the bride’s house. The prospective groom and their family arrive to the bride’s house for this ceremony. The Punjabi bride family performs a small puja conducted by a purohit. Both the families exchange gifts after puja is accomplished. An auspicious day of wedding is fixed up after the rokka ceremony. Rokka ceremony is followed by sagan, sangeet and Chunni ceremony. In this ceremony, the bride and her family visit the groom house. The father of the bride applies tikka to the groom and offers him money and gifts. The beautifully dressed bride is presented red chunni by her prospective sister-in law. The bride also receives gifts and jewelry from her in-laws as a part of sagan. As a part of this ritual, the bride mother-in law feeds her kheer which is the prepared from boiled rice and milk. Finally, the bride and groom exchange the rings with each other. Next is the sangeet wherein the family and friends of both the punjabi groom and bride are invited. On this occasion, traditional songs are sung and both the families exchange gifts and sweets with each other. This event is to cherish the joyful moments with this new relationship between two families.
After sangeet, there is a significant churha ceremony or bangles ceremony. This ceremony is all about giving wedding dress and bangles to the bride by her maternal uncle. The maternal uncle of the bride adorns her wrist with red and white bangles. These are peculiar bangles which have light ornaments of beaten silver and gold known as kalira. After wearing kalira, the bride is unable to perform any task as they get in way doing it. After churha ceremony, next custom is applying Mehendi or henna to the bride. Normally, mehendi is sent by the groom’s family to the bride. Traditionally, mehendi is applied to the bride by her family members but now a day professional girls are called upon to apply it. The ladies of the family, relatives and friends sing and dance to mark the occasion and celebrate it very joyously.
Next is the Ghara Ghardoli and Vatna ritual. According to the ritual, the bride has to stay at home in her old clothes for couple of days before wedding. The sibling of the bride usually fills water in the pitcher from the nearby temple. The sibling of the bride and other family members sing and dance on the way to the temple. Vatna and uptan which is the paste prepared from powdered turmeric and mustard oil is applied on the bride by her family and relatives. After applying uptan, the bride takes a holy bath from the water which is brought by her sibling from the temple. The ritual of Ghara Ghardoli and Vatna is also celebrated by the groom’s family members. Here the water to take holy bath is brought by the bhabhi (brother’s wife) from the temple.
Just few days before the wedding day, ladies get together daily at night and sing to the accompaniment of the dholaki. They sing traditional suhag at the bride’s place while ghorian at the groom’ place.
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