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Sikh Pre - Wedding Planning
Roka or Thaka - This is a ceremony for the man and woman that signifies that they are committed to enter wedlock and will not consider any other matrimonial proposal. The ceremony is held at the Bride's family home. A respected member of the family offers the Ardaas (prayer). The Groom's mother gives a gift to the Bride and the Bride's parents give a gift to the Groom's parents. This giving of gifts is called Shagan.
Kudmai, Mangni or Sagaai - A ritual for the engagement ceremony. The female relatives of the Groom go to the Bride's home with gifts such as elegant clothes, jewellery, and other accessories. The Bride will wear these for the engagement ceremony. The Groom arrives later with his relatives. Refreshments are served and the ceremony begins with prayers and kirtan. Kirtan is a singing of psalms in the presence of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy book. This is followed by the exchange of more presents.
Shri Akhand Paath - Meaning unbroken. A continuous 48 hour reading of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib. A relay of volunteers recite from the Guru Granth Sahib. Passages are taken from the Holy Book at random. The reading takes place separately at both the Bride and Groom's homes. The serving of Parshaad symbolizes the accomplishment of the Paath.
Mehndi or Henna - The palms of the bride to be are coated with Henna and she then makes a hand print on the wall behind her. It is then immediately washed off her hands and a professional henna artist (mehndiwalis) uses the mehndi to paint elegant patterns on her hands and feet.
Sikh Wedding Plan
Chooda - On the morning of the wedding, the Groom's Father sends the Bride to be a dress called a Kuwaar Dhoti.
Kuwaari means maiden, so kuwaar dhoti signifies the last maiden attire the Bride to be will wear. Her Aunt and Uncle then decorate her wrists with an odd number of armlets made of ivory, called the Chooda.
The Ghodi Ceremony - The sisters of the Groom drape his turban with sehra (a veil of golden threads). He then mounts a mare, or ghodi, which is decorated as ornately as he is. He is then accompanied by a nephew and leaves for the wedding ceremony at the Bride's house. Seheras (traditional wedding songs) are sung by the women.
Milni Ceremony - The baraat (Groom's party) arrives at the venue and is greeted by the Bride's male relatives. The Fathers exchange wreaths and embrace each other. The rest of the males meet each other and embrace in the same manner.
Jaimala Ceremony - In this optional ceremony, the bride garlands the Groom signifying her acceptance of him as her husband. The groom garlands the Bride in return.
Anand Karaj Ritual - The actual wedding ceremony takes place in the early morning and must conclude before noon. A respected member of the community conducts the ceremony.
Post Sikh Wedding Planning
Doli Ceremony - This ceremony symbolizes the send-off of the bride prior to leaving for her new home. She performs the traditional cooking and serving of rice to her family members, flinging back raw rice at her family while stepping over the threshold. Her family bid her goodbye which is usually an emotional moment. When the Bride reaches the Groom's home, which is essentially her home now, the newly weds are received by the Groom's Mother at the doorstep of the house.
Phera Ceremony - The newlyweds visit the former house of the bride and receive benedictions and generous gifts from her parents. This usually happens the day after the wedding.
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