Indian culture is extremely diverse, so are the wedding customs and traditions followed by each culture. If you've attended a few weddings of your close friends, you know how different one wedding can be from the other. It's always best that you are aware of some of the customs that are duly followed, so you don't (even unknowingly) disrespect any of them.
Sikh Wedding or an Anand Karaj Ceremony takes place in the morning and early afternoon time. The couple gets married in front of the Guru Granth Sahib while guests gather around them. Sikhs uphold their traditions with utmost honor and respect which means it's imperative that you follow the rules that all the guests are supposed to follow. Here are 6 of them to keep in mind:
Cover your headBefore entering a Gurudwara, it's a MUST that you cover your head with a pallu or dupatta if you are a woman or a bandana if you are a man. Absolutely no one is allowed to enter a gurudwara without their head covered. Also, it's best that you are dressed ethnically and conservatively.
Remove your shoes or sandalsAnand Karaj takes place in a Gurudwara, which is like the holy place of worship for Sikhs. It's customary that you remove shoes and sandals before entering the ceremony.
No talkingThe Sikh ceremony lasts for about an hour or so and wraps up before noon. And by the end of it, the couple is married. The ceremony is full of holy hymns sung, mantras enchanted and blessings showered. All of this happens without any distractions and talking. You shouldn't disrupt the ceremony by talking to others or attending any calls.
Go along with the seating arrangementIn a Sikh ceremony, ideally, the women and mean get seated separately on the opposite side of the halls. The closest family members make up for the front seats of the ceremony. If you are quite close to the bride or the groom, you can take up the first few seats as well.
Bow down to the holy textAfter the ceremony is done, you will see guests bowing down to 'Guru Granth Sahib'. Even though it's not necessary that you do the same, it's nice to embrace traditions and if you do, the family members will find it respectful too!
Say 'yes' to the sweetAfter the end of the formal part of the Sikh ceremony, sweet or 'Kara Prashad' is served. It's Prashad and is considered very holy to the Sikhs. Made up with wheat flour, sugar and ghee, it's a delicacy. When it's served to you, take it.
Sikh weddings are damn FUN and they are very welcoming and warm to their guests. If you want to know what all happens in a day of the Sikh wedding, here's a short guide:
It all starts with the groom's family leaving their house dancing to the dhol beats, a gathering that's called baraat. They reach the Gurudwara to join the bride's family. But before letting them enter, the bride's sister and other family members tease and ask for 'shagun' before letting the groom enter the ceremony area. Once this joyous banter is done, the groom along with his family enters the building. This is followed by milni and tea. After a formal introduction of both sets of parents and other elderly, the guests enjoy tea and other refreshing beverages.
The groom is then seated comfortably in front of the holy scripture. The bride enters and is seated to the left of the groom. This is followed by Kirtan (singing of holy hyms from holy scriptures) and Ardas, where the bride and groom along with key people of the family stand and fold their hands to offer prayers.
Then comes the emotional part of the ceremony, where the bride and her family generally tear up. Here, the bride's father takes the sash of the groom and place it in the hands of the bride. The groom will then lead the bride to walk around the holy text four times. After each turn, the bride and groom bows down to the holy scripture in the end. This tradition is termed as Laava. After it's performed, another Ardas is performed.
That's it. The bride and groom are now married. They will now seek blessings or 'shagan' from the key elders in their family. The ceremony ends with serving of kara Prashad. This is followed by a wedding lunch and loud Bhangra music. All the guests join in the celebrations.
That, guys, is the beautiful Anand Karaj! Don't you want to just go out and make a Sikh friend after this, just so that you can attend their wedding? If you are successful, just keep these simple things in mind and there's nothing that will stop you from having fun.