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The Sikh wedding is very different, it does not believe in financial status or the socio economic status of the bride and groom. The only condition that is laid down for a couple to get married is that they have to both follow the religion of Sikhism and believe in the religion and trust in the Granth Sahib. Any such couple who are followers of Guru Nanak Singh and who want to get married can wed each other with the permission and blessing of the parents.
The marriage can be conducted anywhere – whether it is at the Gurudwara or at the home of the bride. Again, the only mandatory requirement is that the place that is chosen for the solemnization of the marriage should have the Granth Sahib installed. Most of the Sikh marriages are conducted as close family members in the Gurudwaras and then there is a party that is arranged in the evenings like a reception where friends and a bigger crowd can come in.
The marriage ceremony is called Anand Karaj which can be translated as a joyful union of two souls. So, there should be no comparisons between any of the worldly parameters when a Sikh marriage is being performed. As long as the bride and the groom like each other, the marriage should be conducted in a free and fair manner.
The Rehat Maryada which governs the daily life conduct of the Sikhs emphasizes that these guidelines be strictly followed at all times. As per the Rehat Maryada, the couple is considered to be equals in matrimony. Neither of them are superior and both of them have an equal share in the running their married lives as per their customs and beliefs.
Because they follow the Rehat Maryada, the Sikhs in general do not see auspicious days and time for the marriage. They go by the belief that marriages solemnized at the Gurudwara can never go wrong and hence have no hard and fast rules on good and bad days or times. They also do not encourage the matching of the horoscopes of the bride and the groom as they do not generally believe in horoscopes and in complicating the future. In a way, it is easier to handle one day at a time and take it as it comes.
Rituals Performed in Sikh Wedding
Though this is not a mandatory requirement this is generally conducted closer to the wedding date and is more of an engagement type. The families of the bride and groom congratulate each other and offer sweets and gifts. The girl’s mother buys gifts for the boy and his parents while the parents of the groom buy saree, jewelry and other things for the girl and her parents. The engagement ceremony is also conducted in the Gurudwara or in the home of the bride. The presence of the Granth Sahib is the only mandatory requirement.
Lavans – Signing Songs
The most important aspect of the Sikh Marriage is the singing of the Lavans – which are holy hymns and will help in not only uniting the bride and the groom in matrimony but also in the belief of the Lord. These are holy hymns and when sung with real passion can mean a lot and act as a morale booster. A Laavan session is never complete without singing the four stanzas that were written by Guru Ram Das Jito be used as an integral recital in marriage ceremonies.
Blessings and Final Ardas
Once the Lavans are recited, the ceremony comes to a close and the friends of the groom or the bride play some kirtans. After that the Guru Granth Sahib is opened at random and the verse is read as verse of the day. Once these are all over, the final hymns go off and all the guests stand up for the Ardas and the final thanksgiving.
Once this is over, the relatives come over to congratulate the newlyweds and make some connections with their new relatives. Both families mingle freely at the time of the meal or langar and this sets the stage for the relationship to grow multifold.