I hear wedding bells..!

Monday, March 25, 2013

This week I'll be kept busy because one of our close family friends is getting married! :D I am Indian, and Indian weddings aren't just one day...they're basically a whole week. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to go over some of the Punjabi traditions and show you guys how the week will go.

Pre-Wedding Rituals:

An example of some mehndi, or henna.

The wedding day rituals begin with the bride getting mehndi, or henna, done on her hands, arms and feet. She usually keeps it on the whole night and washes it off in the morning to ensure a dark pigment gets left behind. It's the bride's choice how much or how little she wants to get done.

An example of a chuda with kaliras. 
Then there is the chuda ceremony. A chuda is a set of red and cream/ivory bangles. Basically the oldest maternal uncle and aunt gift the chura and it gets passed around to all that are present at the time, however, the bride does not see the chuda until she is ready for the marriage. When she puts on the chuda, the bride's uncle, aunt, friends and cousins all help tie kaliras, or silver/gold plated traditional ornaments, to the bangles.

The Vatna ceremony.
Next up is the Vatna. Vatna is a ceremony that involves applying a paste, made from turmeric powder and mustard oil, all over the bride's body. The bride's female friends and relatives all apply this paste to make the girl look more beautiful on the big day. This ritual also involves the bride to stay at home in her old clothes for a couple days before the wedding.

How my week is going to go
Monday-Wednesday will basically be spent preparing for the wedding, getting everything cleaned up and making sure we have everything we need.

A Giani reading from Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji
Then, Wednesday-Friday morning there will be an Akaand Paat, which is like a three day period where people take turns reading through our holy book (Guru Granth Sahib Ji) without stopping. Basically there will never be a period of time during the three days where someone isn't reading from the Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

A jaggo that is carried during the Jaggo ceremony.
Friday afternoon there will be a Mahinya and a Jaggo. The Mahinya is when the girl is bathed by women at home to prepare for the wedding. She's not literally being bathed, it's more in a figurative sense, like washing away all the sins before starting her new life. The Jaggo is a procession where the family and friends go around their village, or in our case neighborhood, and "call" the neighbors to the wedding. Basically we go around our neighborhood singing and dancing, stopping in front of the family's homes and just having a good time.

An example of a Milni ceremony.
Saturday morning is the big day! The bride and groom arrive separately to the Gurdwara, or Sikh temple, on Saturday morning and stand outside to take part in the Milni. The Milni is basically the introductions of the main male figures in both families. For example, both of the eldest brothers on each side will come together and exchange garlands of flowers. After everyone is introduced there is an Ardas performed by the Giani, or priest. After the Milni, the bride and groom come in the middle of the circle where the family is standing, and place a heavy flower-clad garland on each other to state that they accept each other and will basically live happily together.

A couple doing the laanvas around Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
After the Milni and the exchange of garlands, the bride and groom enter the Gurdwara and the wedding procession begins. When the bride and groom site down in front of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the bride's father puts a ring on the groom's finger and then he gives the daughter to the groom; this is known as Kanyadaan. After the Kanyadaan, the laanvas begin.This is when the bride and groom walk around the Guru Granth Sahib Ji four times. Then there is another Ardas and the bride and groom are officially married!

After the wedding ceremony there is lunch, the newly weds go home and rest up before the wedding reception that happens on Saturday afternoon! I'm not sure how much I'll be posting this week but hope you all have a lovely week and keep doing what you do!

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