The wedding dress for the bride includes a Sharara, which is a long following skirt and blouse. There is a dupatta to cover the head. The groom wears a gorgeous Sherwani or a conventional salwar and kurta.
Pre Wedding Rituals
There are a number of pre wedding rituals, which makes the Punjabi wedding even more colourful.
Roka ceremony is performed on a mutually convenient chosen date as 'shubh muhurat'. Family members and close friends for basically exchanging gifts and cash attend this function. The girl's uncle gives her the nose ring that she wears on her wedding.
The wedding celebrations begin with the tikka ceremony, held a week to ten days before the wedding in which the family of the girl visits that of the boy's carrying beautifully wrapped gifts and the tikka material: a silver tray with a few grains of rice and saffron in a tiny silver bowl, 14 chuharey covered with silver foil and a coconut wrapped in a gold leaf.
The ceremony usually takes at the groom's house. Sacred fire ceremony named "havan" is performed. The girl's father applies the "tikka" on the boy's forehead who takes the blessing from the girl's family members. Each of the relatives and friends present from the girl's side then offers mithai to the boy and gives cash.
On this occasion, the boy's parents and relatives visit the girl's house. The boy's sister presents the bride a red "chunni" or a red sari. After dressing the girl in those clothes, they lead her to the venue of the ceremony where the groom's mother gives her gifts and adorns her with jewellery. The boy and the girl exchange rings and the girl is given gifts, in cash and kind, by all those present from the boy's side.
Before the wedding day after Sagan on every night till the wedding day, the relatives and friends get together for singing sessions both at the boy's as well as the girl's house. One day is fixed for special sangeet session, which is attended and celebrated by both the sides together.
Mehendi is applied on the bride's hands and feet either by a family member or by a professional but the important factor is that the Mehendi is sent by the boy's side as part the custom.
The "chuda" ceremony begins with a "havan" or "puja". The oldest members of the family performing this ceremony keep a fast till chuda. The chuda, i.e., the set of cream and red ivory bangles, is not shown to the girl just before the ceremony. A paste of turmeric powder and mustard oil is applied to the bride's body and then the bride is given a bath with holy water. The bride then wears her bridal attire, which as per tradition given by the maternal uncle.
The bridegroom is applied a paste of turmeric and mustard oil and is bathed by water brought by his sister in law. He changes into his wedding attire, which is presented to him by his maternal uncle. The boy's father or an elderly relative ties the "sehra" on his head. The pink turban is touched by all present before it is died on the groom's head.
At the venue The bride's family waits at the entrance to greet the baarat, who reach singing and dancing 's family. When they enter the venue the bride is brought out and the couple exchange garland.
As the time of the mahurat approaches, the boy is led to the "vedi" where the pundit performs puja for the boy. The boy recites the first few mantras only. This is the time for the mischievous pranksters from the girl's side to grab for the groom's shoes, which they later exchange for money. Thereafter the girl is led to the "vedi". Then the ritual of "kanya daan" takes place where the girl's father puts a ring on the boy's finger before placing his daughter's hand in his. Thereafter the couple takes the seven pheras around the holy fire. The bride's brother pours kheel into her hands, which she pours into her husband's hands. The bride then makes a tearful farewell to her new home in what is known as the 'bidai'.
Post Wedding Rituals
As per tradition on her first day in her new home, the bride is supposed to make a sweet dish like halwa or kheer. The parents and relatives of the groom give gifts and presents to the bride. After that the newly wed couple visit the girl's parents where the girl and boy are given gifts of clothes and jewellery by the girl's parents and relatives.
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