If you are going to attend an Anand Karaj (blissful union) or a Sikh wedding anytime soon, you must know that the entire attention will be focused on the main ceremony. It is no secret that when it comes to attending a wedding that is from a different culture, understand the traditions and customs that will be followed is paramount. It is not only the job of the guests to do their research. On the contrary, the couple and their families must also make an effort to inform the attendees about certain customs such as acceptable gifts and colors to avoid.
A Sikh wedding ceremony is usually held at a Gurudwara or any other Sikh place of worship. During this time, the couple has to bow in front of the Guru Granth, which is the holy scripture text of Sikhs. Meanwhile, the wedding party members sing hymns in order to seek the blessings of God. This part of the wedding is considered to be pretty sacred as the marriage official also reads the marital obligations to the couple as the bride and the groom walk four times around the holy scripture. Once the circle ends, the couple bow, indicating their agreement and acceptance of the obligations. The reception part of the wedding is typically held in the evening with buffet-style food, dancing and lots of people. So, you might want to wear comfortable shoes for this portion of the wedding!
So, let us dive right in and check out some essential tips to help you make the right choices and avoid a disaster when attending a Sikh wedding!
1. Dress Modestly
It is important to dress modestly for the wedding. This means that plunging necklines, bare shoulders, and short skirts are a big no-no as the actual wedding ceremony takes place in the holy place of Gurdwara. You can opt for such dresses during the wedding reception. Still, women usually go for traditional ethnic clothing for the actual ceremony and a shawl that they can throw around their shoulders. Men usually wear suits that work in the ceremonies that follow too.
2. Know Your Colors
When attending a Sikh ceremony, it is essential to know your colors. The Sikh culture in itself is very joyous and vibrant. Hence, they encourage vibrant colors when it comes to clothes too. You will see a lot of radiant blues, bright reds and deep greens in the clothes worn by women. Men prefer wearing dark-colored suits too. That said, you must avoid white and black, or you will end up feeling a little out of place on the day.
3. Cover The Head And Remove Your Shoes In The Gurdwara
A Gurdwara is a holy place of worship of the Sikh. Hence, when inside the Gurdwara, you must cover your head and remove your shoes. You can use a pashmina stole or a long scarf that also covers your bare arms and shoulders, if necessary. Men usually use a colored handkerchief to cover their heads. Remember that it is important to be barefoot when entering the Gurdwara, although wearing stockings or socks are acceptable.
If you are not a super close relative of the family, you can opt-out of bringing a gift for the couple. Sagan is a ceremony in Sikh weddings where, once the religious ceremony ends, most guests gift the wedded couple some money. The amount is typically around $10 each to the bride and the groom, although it differs from region to region. This ceremony is highly valued as it is considered gifting the newly wedding couple with a lot of good wishes and luck for their new life.
These are the four most important things to keep in mind when attending a Sikh wedding. All in all, you can expect a joyous atmosphere and provided that you are properly prepared for the big day, you can end up having a lot of fun. You can expect to be a part of a large chaotic, boisterous, and big event with lots of music and better food. So, we advise you to do your homework and when at the venue, go with the flow. In any case, as an esteemed guest, you can expect to be honored and cared for by the family.