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Religious Studies

Sikhism: marriage and divorce

Anand karaj – the wedding ceremony

A Sikh wedding usually takes place in the morning. It is held in front of a copy of the Guru Granth Sahib [Guru Granth Sahib: Primal collection of Sikh Scriptures, compiled by Guru Arjan and given its final form by Guru Gobind Singh. ]. In India a bride may traditionally be dressed in red but in other countries she may wear white with her head covered with a chunni (scarf). The groom wears a coloured turban and scarf and carries a kirpan (a ceremonial sword or dagger). The idea of a dowry is forbidden in Sikhism. Any Sikh can conduct the ceremony.

Before the service the families meet and give gifts and then eat a meal (called the milni).

The ceremony starts with the morning hymn, Asa di var, and the Ardas (a prayer for important tasks). The Sikh ideal of marriage is explained as the joining together of two souls.

A Sikh wedding

A Sikh couple takes four turns around their sacred book...

The bride and groom bow to the Guru Granth Sahib to show that they accept these teachings and wish to spend the rest of their lives together supporting each other physically and spiritually.

The bride’s father places flower garlands over the couple and ties one end of the groom’s scarf to the end of the bride’s head scarf. This shows that she is leaving her father and joining her husband.

The lavan (wedding hymn) of Guru Ram Das is sung. The lavan explains the relationship between Waheguru [Waheguru: A Punjabi term used in Sikhism to refer to God. ] and an individual.

The couple walk clockwise around the Guru Granth Sahib four times. The service ends with karah parshad (ceremonial food). Finally, everyone eats in the langar (free kitchen).

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