Punjabi’s are simple, but fun-loving people. They express their emotions with enthusiasm. Their weddings reflect the philosophy of their life and are colorful, loud, and fun filled. A Punjabi wedding includes a number of pre as well as post wedding rituals, making it a long affair.
Roka and Thaka
The members of the bride’s family visit the groom’s house with gifts such as fruits, sweets, clothes, money (or Shagun) to offer their blessings to the groom. This is called the Roka. The bride will not be present at the Roka. The groom’s family members go to the bride’s house on a separate day with gifts. This ritual is called Thaka.
This grand ceremony, which represents the engagement between the bride and groom, is often held some months before the day of the wedding. Family and friends of both the bride and the groom gather and the bride is fed milk and boiled rice by the groom’s family. The couple exchange rings.
ChunniChadai and Shagun
The Chunnichadai ceremony marks the bride’s acceptance into the family of the groom. A group of women come to the house of the bride on the Sagai morning or a day earlier and give the bride the dress that she is supposed to wear for sagai. Gifts to the bride, known as Shagun, include jewelry, sweets, mawa, and fruit. As part of the ritual, a Chunni or headscarf is placed on the head of the bride, covering her face like a veil.
The bride’s family arranges the musical party Sangeet. The women of the family sit around the bride and sing folk wedding songs, tease the bride, and dance. The groom and some of his family members are also invited.
Mehendi involves drawing intricate designs on the bride’s hands and feet using henna paste. The groom’s name is hidden within the design. Professional Mehendi artists are often hired for the purpose. Henna paste is applied on the hands of other women in the family as well. Mehendi ceremony is held in the groom’s house on a smaller scale.
The groom wears a Kurta with lavish and elaborate designs and a Pajama or churidar trousers. A Punjabi groom may also wear cream or off-white Sherwani. The groom also wears a dupatta around the neck and a traditional jooti. A headdress, known as Sehra, consisting of dangling strands of decorative ribbons or flowers also forms part of his wedding dress. Strings of pearls cover his face.
The Punjabi bride wears a gorgeous lehenga and fashionable jewelry. Traditionally, all Indian brides wear a red coloured dress on the wedding day. However, Punjabi brides wear other colours like green, fuchsia, gold, and orange. The lehenga is paired with a suitable dupatta. The bride covers her head with the dupatta. The bride’s would-be sister-in-law ties gold or silver Kalire to her wrists.
Wedding day rituals include Jago, GanaBandhna, ChoodaChadana, Haldi, GharaGharoli, Sarbala, Sehrabandi and Varna, GhodiCharna, Agwaani and Milni, Varmala, Madhuperk, Kanyadaan, Phere, Lajahom, SindoorDaan, JootaChhupai, Vidaai/Doli, PaaniBharna, MoohDikhai, Reception, and PagPhera.