The Sikh marriage ceremony, known as the Anand Karaj, is a cherished and beautiful event for those celebrating a union in the Sikh faith. It is an event celebrated throughout the UK for many years, with couples from all over the country participating. As an integral part of Sikh culture and tradition, the Anand Karaj symbolises love, commitment, and unity between two people.
The most crucial event in Sikh culture is marriage, which involves a series of pre-wedding rituals steeped in tradition and symbolism. The first step in any Sikh marriage ceremony is the engagement or Ardaas ceremony. It consists of a prayer led by both families seeking blessings from Waheguru (God) for the couple’s future life together. Next, the bride’s family presents gifts to the groom’s family as a gesture of their acceptance and goodwill towards each other. The couple then exchanges rings to symbolise their commitment to each other.
Wedding Day Traditions
The Gurdwara, or Sikh temple, is the traditional location for the Sikh wedding ceremony. First, the bride and groom sit beside the holy book while their families and guests gather around them. Next, a priest recites prayers from the sacred book, exchanging garlands between the couple to symbolise their acceptance of each other. The couple then walks around the holy book four times as they take vows to love, honour, and cherish each other for life.
The post-wedding celebrations in Sikhism are equally crucial as the wedding day itself. These celebrations include ceremonies such as Doli, Vidaai, and reception parties. During Doli, the bride’s family says goodbye to her while she departs for her new home with her husband. Vidaai marks the end of all wedding-related events, and it’s an emotional moment for both families involved.
The traditional attire for a Sikh wedding is known as the “Punjabi dress,” which includes vibrant colours, intricate embroidery, and ornate jewellery.
The bride typically wears a red lehenga or saree with intricate gold work, complementing jewellery pieces like bangles, earrings, necklaces, and maang tikka. She also wears a chunni (a long scarf draped over her head), which adds to her overall elegance. The groom usually wears a sherwani or kurta pyjama with jootis (traditional shoes). On his head, he may also wear a turban adorned with kalgi (a jewel-encrusted plume).
A Sikh marriage ceremony is a beautiful and joyous occasion with immense cultural significance in the UK. The wedding begins with the Anand Karaj, a religious ceremony conducted in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib – the holy book of Sikhs. Next, the couple takes four rounds around the Holy Book while reciting prayers and exchanging vows. The groom then ties a piece of cloth called Palla to his bride’s dupatta (veil) to symbolise their union. This act represents their commitment to each other for life.
A Sikh marriage ceremony is a beautiful and joyous occasion with immense cultural significance in the UK. The Sikh community has been an integral part of British society for over a century, and their wedding ceremonies are essential to their culture. Rituals, customs, and traditions characterise Sikh weddings passed down through generations.