A Guide to Punjabi Weddings – Saahe Chithi

The next stage of a Guide to Punjabi Weddings is the Saahe Chithi, which is little known about until people have a close wedding in the family and they carry out this custom. It usually takes place a week before the wedding and tends to involve only close relatives.

Procedure

The girl’s family prepare a wedding invitation for the boy’s family, which is splashed with a few drops of saffron. In India, the local barber is asked to take this invitation to the boy’s family and he is rewarded with clothes for doing so. Being asked to “be the messenger” is considered an honour for the barber. Although this is now a dwindling custom. Today, it’s usually key family members and/or the “middle person” (or matchmaker, otherwise known as bachola or bacholan), who will go to the girl’s house with the invitation. They may take gifts such as Indian sweets or dry fruit.

Purpose

The traditional significance of this ceremony is to officially invite the boy’s family to the solemnisation of the marriage and implies that you should now begin preps for the wedding day. Although in modern weddings, planning could start years before to secure venue and temples on certain dates. But historically, weddings were a lot simpler and could be arranged within days.

The invitation is prepared in the presence of elders in the family, as a sign of respect. It is splashed with saffron, which gives a red stain. Red is the symbol of the renewal of life in Indian culture, which is what the marriage signifies.

The barber was traditionally sent as the messenger because historically it was considered discourteous for the girl’s family to visit the boy’s family too often. Also, travel was usually by foot so travelling to the boy’s house if it was in a different village or town could be timely. By rewarding the barber with clothing or some other sort of gift would be considered both charitable and auspicious to receive the barber’s well-wishes in gratitude as a result.

The gifting of Indian sweets or dry fruit is an age-old custom of not going to somebody’s house empty-handed, especially if they are your daughter’s prospective in-laws. There is a cultural bias for the girl’s family to hold the boy’s family in high-esteem to avoid any repercussions on their daughter’s married life. Although; opinion of this is subjective to each family.

Saahe Chithi Checklist

These are general guidelines. The “gifts” are not compulsory:

  • Indian sweets – usually laddoo or mithai
  • Dry fruit could also be taken – this is usually in odd quantities of the ingredients, for example 3, 5 or 7 ingredients mixed together.
  • Saffron
  • Gaana, which is a red thread used at many Hindu or Sikh ceremonies as a symbol of starting something new. This is sometimes tied around the invitation.
  • And of course the wedding invitation.

So this was the Saahe Chithi. Next time in a Guide to Punjabi Weddings, find out what the Maiyan or Vatna ceremony involves as we approach the big day – the wedding!

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About Raj Bilkhu

Raj Kaur Bilkhu is a journalist from Birmingham, UK.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to A Guide to Punjabi Weddings – Saahe Chithi

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

  2. mandeep kaur says:

    I neer printed saahe di chithi by today. Are you able to send me saahe di chithi though email.

    • Raj Bilkhu says:

      Hi Mandeep. We don’t supply them I’m afraid. Most Asian shops that sell wedding accessories offer them or you could try searching one online to download.
      Thanks

      • Anonymous says:

        Hello.

        Just wondering what the boys side do if anything once they have received the chittee. Thanks

      • Raj Bilkhu says:

        Hi
        When the girl side come with the saahe di chithee the wedding festivities are officially under way. You don’t have to do anything in particular but when the girl side come with the invite you shouldn’t let them go empty-handed – so gift them with something sweet.

  3. sanjeev verma says:

    Please provide wordings of saaahe chithi in english language.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Do the boy side also give the sahee chithi to the girls side?

    • Raj Bilkhu says:

      No, only the bride’s family give a sahe di chithi

      • Takshi gupta says:

        Any specific reason for boy’s family not providing saahe di chithi to girl’s house?

        And is there any compulsion that girl cant step out of the house once saahe chithi is received?

      • Raj Bilkhu says:

        The idea behind the saahe di chithi being given by the bride’s family is that they’re inviting the groom’s family to the wedding. It sounds odd but I guess it’s one-sided because traditionally the bride’s family manage everything on the wedding day. Times have changed but such traditions remain.

      • Anonymous says:

        Can I get any copy of Sahe di Chitthi in Punjabi? or matter of Sahe di Chitthi.

      • Raj Bilkhu says:

        It can be bought in shops. It’s aways written in Punjabi

  5. Takshi gupta says:

    Is there any compulsion that girl/bride cant step out of the house after receiving saahe di chithi ?
    Also do boys give saahe di chithi to girl’s house? If not what is the specific reason ?

    • Raj Bilkhu says:

      This compulsion of not leaving the house is not practised today, which is why so many families celebrate pre-wedding parties in venues rather than their home. The thinking behind it was to ensure the bride and groom are safe and looked after before their big day. Even today many families don’t allow them to drive a few days before the wedding.

  6. Paramjit Kumar says:

    Can I get the contents of Chithi

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