Religious marriage ceremony
On the wedding day the groom’s family and friends (known as the Baarat) travels to the home/town of the bride’s family and that is where most of the ceremonies takes place.
This is the formal introduction of the bride and the groom’s families. The ceremony begins with the granthi (priest) reciting the Ardass followed by the bride and the groom’s fathers exchanging garlands. This is followed by other important members of the families doing the same. The Milini ceremony usually takes place in the car park and is followed by a breakfast in the Langer hall.
Anand Karaj Ceremony
The Anand Karaj ceremony takes place in front of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib and for this ceremony the bride usually dresses in red, pink or other bright colour and the groom usually wears a sharewani, turban and a scarf.
It is customary for the groom to arrive first in the hall where the ceremony is going to take place. He presents a Rumala (a silk cloth that is used to cover the Shri Guru Granth Sahib) and places some money into the box. Then he pays his respect to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. by bowing down to touch his forehead to the floor. He then sits down in front of the Shri Guru Granth Sahib but to the left side. The bride, accompanied by some female family and friends members, also presents a Rumala and follow a similar custom and sits to the left of the groom.
The Anand Karaj ceremony begins with the couple and their parents standing up while the Ardass is cited by the Giani for a successful marriage. The ragis then sing the hymn ‘Keeta Loree-ai Kaam’,
The bride’s father ties one end of the groom’s scarf to the end of the bride’s chauni (headscarf). This symbolises that she is now leaving the care of her father and is joining her husband to begin a new life together – this is referred to as Palla (or sometimes as Palle De Rasam).
The musicians then sing the hymn: ‘Pallai Taiddai Lagge’
The Four Wedding Lavan
The most important part of the religious ceremony is the four wedding lavan. This involves the couple tied together (i.e. by the groom’s scarf (palla) and the bride’s chauni ) and walking around the Shri Guru Granth Sahib (which is situated in the Palki, so they walk around the Palki).
This is referred to as the Lavan
To begin with, the ragies start to sing the appropriate hymns for the first Lavan. The bride and groom then bow down (by touching their foreheads to the ground) together they rise and walk around the Shri Guru Granth Sahib, in a clockwise direction.
Normally, the bride’s brothers/cousins stand around the Palki to help guide the couple around. This symbolises that these people are there to help and guide them in their lives. The bride and groom then return back to their original starting point and sit down on the floor, and once again bow down to the Shri Guru Granth Sahib.
There are four lavan in total (i.e. the couple walk around the Shri Guru Granth Sahib four times while tied together). During this process the ragies sings hymns which describe various stages of love and commitments between the couple.
This is followed by the Anand Sahib Paath (hyms from Shir Guru Granth Sahib) and Ardass. The wedding ceremony is concluded by reading the Hucanamma
Civil Marriage Ceremony – The process
Civil Marriage Ceremony at the Bhawan requires the bride and the groom to register their intention to marry at their local Registry Office and obtain permission so that the ceremony can be conducted at the Bhawan.
They than need to come and visit us (parents of the bride and the groom are also welcome) stating their intention to get married at the Bhawan on a chosen date. The Bhawan will then issue them with a completed marriage ceremony forms (one for the bride and one for the groom) with the details of the couple and the proposed date of the marriage. These forms will be signed by our marriage register. The bride and the groom needs to take these to their local register office for registration.
They may be seen immediately or given an appointment – allow 2 weeks for this process.
The registration office will display form stating the bride and groom’s intention to get married at their office for 28 days (this period is known as the cooling off period) so that the people of the Borough know that you are getting married and to whom. On the completion of this process you will be given a form 262 (also known as the Blue Form) which you need to bring to the Bhawan only then the Civil Marriage takes place.
A dedicated registrar will be appointed by the Bhawan to conduct your civil Marriage Ceremony. You will be able to talk to the him about any concerns you may have about the wedding or the process. Ideally, you need to allow between 6 – 8 weeks for this process. If possible, please try to visit the Bhawan at least 2 months before the date and book a slot for your civil ceremony.
If the Anand Karaj ceremony is also going to take place at the Bhawan the the civil marriage ceremony will be performed before the religious marriage.
Punjabi Terms and their meaning
Parkash – A short ceremony performed when the Guru Granth Sahib is formally opened each day
Nitnem – daily prayers that consists of reading Japji of Guru Nanak, Jap and Ten Swayyas of Guru Gobind Singh in the morning;
Ardaas – Prayer to God
Katha – Religious sermon
Rehraas – Collection of 9 hymns, which are read in the evening
Hockanam – Daily reading taken at random from the Shri Guru Granth Shaib ji
Kirtan Sohila Collection of 5 hymns, which are read at bedtime.
Sukhasan – The ceremony that takes place at the end of the day when the Guru Granth Sahib is formally closed for the night.
Paath, Path, Patha – means reading or reciting of the holy texts (for example Sri Guru Granth Sahib )
Manji Sahib – is a small rectangular wooden bed, which is covered with white cotton sheets and three small pillows. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib is placed and the Manji Sahib and covered in white cotton sheeting and Rumallas.