A Guide to Punjabi Weddings – jaago night

We have almost reached the Big Day but before then, there is one more excuse to party – the jaago night. This is traditionally held on the night before the wedding day but some families opt to keep a day in between to recover!

Process

The jaago night begins with another maiya ceremony. The significance of this was discussed in an earlier blog post.

Traditionally, the maternal family bring gifts, which is known as naanki shak. Historically, the maternal uncle would buy the bride or groom’s wedding day outfit. They would also buy clothes for the paternal family. This is a dwindling tradition.

naanki shak

Choora ceremony

Bridal choora and kaleeray

If it is a girl’s wedding; the next big aspect of the night is the choora ceremony. This is when the maternal uncles will put wedding bangles (choora) on the bride by dipping them in a milk and water mixture first. This is followed by adding coconut-shaped decorations that hang from a bangle or kara. During this ceremony, the maternal aunts will also gather around and assist the uncles in putting the bangles on.

This is followed by dressing the bride in a red chunni (scarf), and gifting her jewellery (often silver or gold). This is the wedding gift from the maternal family. The maternal uncles and aunts are then given milk to drink.

Choora Significance

Traditionally the bride would wear 21 red and ivory coloured bangles on each arm. Odd numbers are considered auspicious in Indian culture. Nowadays, the number of bangles worn and their design are now dictated by the bride’s choice. Bangles were usually worn by a bride for a full year as a symbol of her being newly married. The coconut-shaped decorations (kaleeray) were historically significant because many girls would be married in towns or villages that were miles away. As they were expected to be shy and reserved, they would seldom say if they were hungry. So, dried coconuts were given to them during the choora ceremony to wear on the wedding day, and to have as optional food when they depart for their marital home. Now, kaleeray are decorated as an accessory to compliment the bridal look.

Jaago significance

jaago being lit

And now for the party! Jaago literally means “wake-up”. Centuries ago, invitations were not sent to invite people to weddings. Relatives of the bride or groom would go around the village on the night before the wedding day with pots on their head that were decorated with oil candles, singing and dancing as an open invitation to attend the wedding. The candles were used for light as this is before electricity was established! The traditional folk song is “jaago”, so they would encourage people to wake-up and join in the festivities.

Novelty jaago clothes

Now, jaago nights are considered an opportunity to be creative. The bride or grooms siblings and friends will often dress up in traditional Punjabi clothing or comical outfits. Traditional Punjabi lenghas can be rented from Epic Events.

The aim of the night is to make noise and party, so not only will jaagos be carried (pots decorated with lights), decorated sticks (jaago sticks) will be banged on the floor and even a chaj would be banged (as pictured). The maternal and paternal families will often sing mischievous folk songs to each other.

Chaj

Contact us to rent jaagos

If the jaago night is held at home, families tend to book tents or marquees. DJs are also booked to add to the party atmosphere. For more information on booking marquees, DJs, catering, decorations and renting jaagos; get in touch with us for a no obligation quote!

Check list

  • Maiya accessories
  • Oil – to pour at the entrance when greeting the maternal family
  • Jaagos
  • Chaj
  • Jaago sticks
  • Traditional novelty outfits
  • Book marquee/function suite
  • Book DJ

For girl’s weddings:

  • Choora (bangles)
  • Kaleeray
  • Bowl with water and milk mixture (to dip bangles)
  • Red chunni
  • Blanket (to sit on during choora ceremony)
  • Indian sweets (to be fed to the bride and maternal uncles)

Next time, I’ll be leading you through the day we’ve all been waiting for…the Wedding Day! Find out what you need for the day and what all the customs mean.

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About Raj Bilkhu

Raj Kaur Bilkhu is a journalist from Birmingham, UK.
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One Response to A Guide to Punjabi Weddings – jaago night

  1. Pingback: A Guide to Punjabi Weddings | Epic Events

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