The Indian wedding season kicks off with a bang, its usually begins in mid-October and lasts until spring.
Being a Punjabi, we take this season pretty seriously! There are two weddings already lined up, one in October and the other one in December.
The Sikh wedding ceremony is called the Anand Karaj meaning, the Blissful union, this takes place in the Gurudwara. The main part of the Anand Karaj, is when the couple joined by a piece of cloth circle the Guru Granth Sahib Ji four times(Laava), while the Laav(hymn) for each circle is sung in turn.
For the ceremony in the Gurudwara, the traditional sikh bridal wear is the Punjabi suit that is a short Kurta with a Patiyala Salwar and also a dupatta which is heavily embellished. The main focus is normally given to the Dupatta, since it’s adorned on the head in the Gurudwara. Heavy gold jewelry is an integral feature of Sikh bridal attire.
A typical Sikh bride will wear a red salwar kameez or lehenga to the official wedding rituals. While sarees are still worn, they are not as popular as traditional Punjabi attire.
The colors that are most preferred are shades of red and pink. Maroon and Magenta are the two favorites. The dress must be red for the Anand Karaj, as the color symbolizes prosperity and auspiciousness in the bride's new married life. Embellishments such as beading are common as well.
Chura is a set of bangles in red and white, which is worn by the bride on the morning of the wedding day. The bride’s maternal uncle and aunt choose the set of chura (21 bangles); they dip each bangle in a bowl of milk and rose petals and put it on for the bride. The bride should ideally wear the chura for atleast a year.
The red and ivory bangles gifted to the bride during the pre-wedding rituals are worn on the wedding day and for a few months beyond - to symbolize her status as a new bride. These bangles are typically ornate, with embedded jewels or carved designs, but the colors are constant for all Sikh brides.
Kalire clinking, long umbrella shaped jewelry made of silver or gold. This symbolizes the good wishes given to the bride by her sisters and friends. And also worn to remind the bride of her sisters and friends.
The kaleere are two gold or silver plated, dome-shaped ornaments that dangle from the bride's wrists, often attached to the choora. These can be further embellished with beading or string, but are generally made of lightweight materials so as to not overburden the bride's wrists.
A bride always covers her head and shoulders with a draped dupatta whlie in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib, in the temple or gurudwara where she is to be wed. The dupatta is pinned discreetly with safety pins or worn freely, as long as the hair is covered for the main ceremony.
Along with the red and white choora bangles gifted by her family, the bride often wears gold bangles to add flair to her accessories. These bangles are often slim and simple, without extra jewels or designs to detract from their elegance.
The Sikh bride wears an engagement ring after her official kurmai and continues to adorn this ring on her wedding day. After the marriage rites are completed, the bride will also wear a seperate, simpler wedding ring - often a gold band.
A pendant tikka is the most common head accessory for a Sikh bride, with the styles varying from elaborate to simple, depending on the bride's preference. The tikka is tied over the hair and under the dupatta so that the pendant shows from beneath the cloth.
A bride will also wear an ornate nose ring, gifted to the bride by her maternal uncle. The size and style of the nath may vary, but it is often embellished with pearls or other small jewels.