Sikh marriages are no different, just like any other religion the marriages are meant to be the union of two souls. For Sikhs, Anand Karaj is what marriage is all about i.e. it is the blissful union of two souls. The event is full of fun and frolic for guests but for the husband and wife, it means a new life which assures them of equal rights and life (life as herein refers to the couple’s life).
The first stage of the marriage starts with the planning and introduction of the families. Like before majority of the marriages are no longer ‘arranged’ in nature, i.e. the marriage fixed by the parents. These days the number of love-marriages is on a rise in which the groom decides his bride and vice-versa then the families interact and look for a suitable day for the marriage to take place. In general, Sikh marriages are arranged in nature, only if both the bride and groom are ready.
The marriage ceremony isn’t a long one; it involves revolving around Guru Granth Sahib, four times while Lavan is recited. When they complete the process they can be declared as a married couple. Many people do not understand the reason for revolving and believe it is a tradition that needs to be followed and has no real meaning. When a man and a woman revolve around it means they commit to each other with the Guru being witness. Each of the 4 revolves have their own meaning.
The marriage ceremony begins with the groom being asked to sit first and then the bride is asked to sit to the left of her to-be husband. While the prayer and the rituals starts the couple and their parents are asked to stand while the rest of the guests watch being seated. After the couple and their parents agree, starts a short hymn. The prayers are followed by the bow of the married couple in front of Guru.
In Sikh marriages, Guru Granth Saheb is the core and Sadh Sangat refers to the support. Sikh marriages generally take place in the bride’s home or the Gurdwara or any place where Guru Granth sahib is installed. There are guests present when the marriage takes place both from the bride’s family as well as the groom’s family.
Just as the ceremony wraps up and the couple is married, the speech of the parents and well-wishers make up an excellent affair. The speeches are mainly targeted towards the newly-married couple. With wishes from the parent and well-wishers, the auspicious day ends with some celebrations. Sikh marriages have some traditions to be followed before and after ceremony such as singing by professionals, ancestor worship etc. Any Sikh marriage isn’t complete without these traditions being followed.
For the newly married couple, the marriage results in a single soul in two different bodies. The commitment is believed to be for life and according to the Sikh traditions divorce is not possible, as it is sacred bond between two people.