The Sikh marriage is not merely a physical and legal relationship but is a holy union between two souls where physically they appear as two individual bodies but in fact are united as one. The Sikh marriage ceremony is also known as Anand Karaj meaning “blissful union”. Anand Karaj consists of the couple revolving around […]
The Sikh marriage is not merely a physical and legal relationship but is a holy union between two souls where physically they appear as two individual bodies but in fact are united as one. The Sikh marriage ceremony is also known as Anand Karaj meaning “blissful union”. Anand Karaj consists of the couple revolving around Guru Granth Sahib Ji four times as the #Laava# (Marriage Hymns) are being recited. Revolving is the sign of making the commitment with the Guru as a witness. In addition, revolving signifies that Guru is the center of the couple’s life and springs life and the understanding of the journey of the soul crossing this world to be One with God. During the marriage ceremony, Guru Granth Sahib Ji represents the core while the congregation (Sadh Sangat) represents the support.
1. A Sikh (bride or groom) must marry only a Sikh.
2. Marriages among Sikhs must not be based on considerations of caste, creed or worldly status.
3. The marriage must be solemnised by following the prescribed code of conduct, i.e., Anand Karaj – ceremony of bliss.
4. Sikh faith forbids child marriage.
5. Any date that is convenient to both families may be chosen without considering any taboos, customs or rituals.
6. The wearing of a veil or a crown or a red thread band around the wrist by the groom, ancestor worship, placing the groom’s feet in a vessel filled with diluted milk, chopping off the stem of a wild berry/jujube (Beri) shrub, filling an earthen pitcher with water from a well, walk away from home in a fit of mock or feigned sulkiness, reciting coarse/rustic/vulgar couplets,performing a Havan (making an offering to the sacred fire), installing a wooden canopy or pavilion (Vedi), under which Hindu marriages are performed, vulgar dance by dancing girls, merry-making in a drunken state are all age-old wedding rituals. It is against the spirit of the Sikh faith to follow any
7. The bridegroom’s marriage party should consist of only a small number of close relatives and friends and should be in keeping with the wishes of the bride’s family. On arrival at the bride’s place, Shabad Kirtan should be sung and members of both parties should greet each other with a joyous exchange of the slogan – Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh.
8. For the wedding ceremony, friends and relatives should gather in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib. Hymns
should be sung by the priest or any holy man or members of the congregation. The bride and the groom are seated in the front facing Guru Granth Sahib – the bride on the left and the groom on the right. After this, Ardas is performed by standing before Guru Granth Sahib with folded hands for the initiation of the marriage ceremony (Anand Karaj). Ideally, the marriage rites should be commenced soon after the conclusion of the morning prayers and the recitation of the divine Hymns – Asa di Var.
9. The priest or any pious person then apprises the couple of their duties as a householder. Pointing to the composition of the Hymns for marriage namely Laavan (in Raag Suhi in Guru Granth Sahib), he urges the couple to imbue their relationship as husband and wife with full love and devotion with the perception that the same Divine Lord pervades in their bodies. Thus after marriage the house-holder’s duties should be performed according to the Divine Law keeping in view the presence of the Divine within and everywhere.
10. The priest exhorts the couple to experience the light of the Almighty Lord in each other and through love attain a state of ‘two beings unified by a common spirit’. In this way, the couple, while leading the life of householder may strive to attain union with the Timeless Being – their Common Spouse. Both of them must live in accordance with the principles of the divine Law (Gurmat) and this union must serve as a means of attaining the true purpose of life, i.e., realising the Divine within.
The bride and the groom are then separately apprised of their respective marital responsibilities. The groom is told to remain true and faithful to his wife to the very end and hold her parents and relatives in the same high regard as his own parents and relatives. The bride is told that she is being commended forever to the care and protection of her husband in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib and the congregation (Sangat). Henceforth, her husband alone must be the object of her love and devotion. Through good or bad times, wherever she is, she must remain faithful to him. She must show the same regard to her husband’s parents and relatives as she would do to her own kith and kin. The bride and the groom then touch their foreheads to the ground before Guru Granth Sahib in token of having accepted the above instructions.
The bride’s father now places one end of the Palla (a length of cloth) in the groom’s hands, passes it over his shoulder and places the other end in the brides’s hands. The Granthi sitting in attendance of Guru Granth Sahib, then recites the four stanzas of the composition Laavan in the Raag Suhi. After the recitation of each stanza, the groom followed by the bride holding the Palla make a circumambulation of Guru Granth Sahib, while the Hymn singers (Raagis) sing the recited Laav Hymns. After each circumambulation, the couple should bow before Guru Granth Sahib and then stand up to listen to the next Laav, being recited and after bowing before Guru Granth Sahib they once again circumambulate the same. As such after the fourth circumambulation, the groom and the bride should touch their foreheads to the ground before Guru Granth Sahib and then sit down. The Hymns – Anand Sahib – is sung (the
first five and the last stanzas) and the ceremony is brought to a close with Ardas and serving the Karah Prashad to the congregation.
To perceive the fullest blessings of the Divine (Waheguru), the Anand Karaj ceremony should be performed soon after Asa di Vaar (the morning prayer). In fact, this is the divine rule according to the Sikh faith for getting the blessings of the Divine.
12. Marriages should not be based on the exchange of money.
13. When the parents of the bride visit her new home, they should not be averse to eating any food or drink offered to them.
14. Upon the death of the spouse, the survivor can remarry.
15. The ceremony of remarriage is the same as the ceremony of Anand Karaj described above.
16. The Sikh faith forbids bigamy.
17. If the bride and/or the groom have not undergone the initiatory rites of Amrit they should partake the same immediately.
~ Source: Sikh Faith Book, written by Baba Iqbal Singh Ji