A Guide to Punjabi Weddings – Roka Ceremony

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..!

About Raj Kaur Bilkhu-Sohal

Raj Kaur Bilkhu-Sohal is a journalist from Birmingham, who now lives in London.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to A Guide to Punjabi Weddings – Roka Ceremony

  1. Neelam says:

    Do you have to give shagun to boys parents and their relatives during Roka ceremony or leave it for the thaka ceremony?

    • Raj Bilkhu says:

      Hi Neelam

      This depends on your family. Generally, the girl side keep the roka and thaka simple – so they give sagan to the boy and girl. But some families go all out and give clothes to the boy and his immediate family.

      So, it just depends on your family’s expectations.

      Hope that helps!

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

  3. Hans N says:

    Hello, I’m a foreigner and my friend is getting engaged she is like a sister to me. Therefore, I want to know is any special gift or something that i need to give as part of rituals for the roka ceremony

    • Raj Bilkhu says:

      Hi, thanks for getting in touch.
      There isn’t a traditional gift given by friends. At the roka you may join the other guests to give ‘sagan’ or blessing to the couple, which is basically money. But otherwise there is no gift as such at a roka ceremony.

  4. Gursimran says:

    What does sagan include which is given to boy and girl together??

  5. pk says:

    I am the girl mother and the boy and boy parents are coming to do ROKA. As a girl mother what gift do I give to the boy and do I have to give gift to the boys parent

    • Raj Bilkhu says:

      It really depends on your family’s tradition. Recently its become a trend to give the boy and his immediate family clothes. Although most families just give something sweet (mithai, etc).
      Hope that help.

  6. As I have very fat fetish for literature and culture, your blogs really been the delight of cultural information.

  7. abhishek says:


    we are from the groom’s side. please suggest what are all the things need to be gifted to the groom’s family on the occasion of roka-ceremeony.


    • Raj Bilkhu says:

      Do you mean what should be gifted to the bride’s family from you or what the bride’s family should give to you?
      It really depends on the family. Nowadays people like to be extravagant and go with baskets of fruit, Indian sweets and clothes for the immediate family.
      It truly depends on your family.

  8. J. Sethi says:

    I am bride’s brother. I want to know that who all give Sagan to groom, does that include me as well?

    • Raj Bilkhu says:

      Hi. Generally, married people are expected to give sagan. However, single elder siblings also give sagan. I have given sagan as an unmarried younger sister, so I suppose it completely depends on you and the expectations in your family.

  9. s.swaroop says:

    Hi .com
    As a bride’s father could you enlighten me about the necessities to be attended from our side, for the Groom, Groom’s parents and siblings and also other relatives joining the Roka Ceremony

    Also could u plz let me know what are the other pre wedding celebrations in a punjabi family and the similar details which are required to be attended from our side


  10. tanya says:

    Thanks mam

  11. Anonymous says:

    How many months earlier is it done.

    • Raj Bilkhu says:

      There is no set time. It’s down to the families how soon they want to do it. Older generations prefer to do a roka as soon as the marriage alliance is agreed as an indication that their son/daughter are ‘fixed-up’.

  12. Kuldip says:

    when the brides parents give sagan, do they give to both bride and groom? money and ladoo?

    • Raj Bilkhu says:

      Yes, whenever parents from either side give sagan they give it to both the bride and groom. But the groom’s parents give the bride more, and the bride’s parents give the groom more.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s