Punjabi weddings are renowned for being lavish and elaborative. If the rituals run consecutively, the average wedding would last a week. Punjabis are characterised by their generosity to guests with majestic dining and ample entertainment. The wedding is celebrated exuberantly with a remarkable splash of colour. Unlike other Indian communities, both the bride and groom’s families don’t shy away from the dance floor!
A traditional Punjabi wedding has numerous functions that lead to the big day. It begins with a roka ceremony, which is a simple event usually attended by close family. The function involves the bride’s family visiting the groom, in absence of their daughter, and giving the groom sagan (gifted money and he is fed ladoo). Some families opt to begin the ceremony with a small puja or ardaas (prayer), to mark the first step towards the wedding. This is followed by the groom and his family visiting the bride, which is often referred to as the thaka ceremony. The couple are given sagan together. There is often an exchange of gifts and sweets such as fruit, Indian sweets or dry fruit (meva).
The significance behind this ceremony is to declare that the boy and girl are officially engaged, thus they can openly court. It represents the beginning of a relationship between two families, who will then discuss a wedding date. Historically, this has been a low-key affair that has been conducted at the respective homes of the bride and groom. However, now it is becoming popular to hold the function in a banquet hall or hotel venue.
Watch this space in A Guide to Punjabi Weddings with the kurmai and chunni ceremonies coming soon..!