Top 10 Punjabi Wedding Rituals

Top 10 Punjabi Wedding Rituals by Apoorv Kalra
Even among Indian weddings, the Punjabi wedding is considered to be the most ostentatious and larger than life. While the celebrations can start as much as a week in advance, the main ceremonies and Punjabi wedding rituals commence a couple of days before the wedding day.

The 10 most important Punjabi wedding rituals have been detailed and described below. These have been mentioned in the order of their occurrence in a Punjabi wedding.

1.Chuda – This ceremony takes place in the morning of the wedding day. The ritual involves a havan or puja that is conducted by a pundit or priest. The oldest maternal uncle of the bride has an important role to play and he is one of the main participants of the havan. A set of red and cream ivory bangles, touched and blessed by all those who are present is put on the bride by the eldest maternal uncle. Flowers are sprinkled on the bride and sweets are distributed to commemorate the beginning of all the rituals to follow. Once the chuda has been worn, all relatives, friends and cousins tie kaliras on the kada or bangle on the bride’s wrists. These are essentially gold and silver plated traditional ornaments that hang from the wrist during the wedding. This is also the time when the maternal uncle presents the wedding lehnga to his niece.

2.Vatna – The Vatna generally follows the chuda ceremony. The wedding bride is made to sit facing four lamps or diyas. It is considered to be auspicious for all four lamps to remain burning brightly so that the glow on the bride’s face remains forever. Female cousins and friends apply vatna (a paste made of turmeric and mustard oil) on the body of the bride. The turmeric acts like a scrub making the bride’s body beautiful. This ceremony is also performed at the bridegroom’s house.

3.Ghara ghardoli – Once the vatna ceremony is complete and the bride has removed the paste from her body, the hindu bride accompanies her siblings and their spouses to a nearby temple where the bride is bathed in a pitcher full of holy water. This ritual is also carried out at the bridegroom’s house where the sister in law fills the pitcher of water and pours it over the bridegroom. Post this ceremony, the bride and bridegroom go off to get ready for the main hindu wedding rituals for the night.

4.Sehrabandi – A ritual that has significance for the bridegroom, the sehrabandi involves a puja during which the father of the groom and some elderly relatives tie the sehra. The sehra includes a pink colored turban along with headgear that has strings that fall and cover his face.

5.Ghodi chadna – Another ceremony that has relevance for the bridegroom, the ghodi chadna is accompanied by the sisters feeding the mare on which the bridegroom reaches the brides house or wedding venue. The sister in law puts surma in the eyes to ward off all evil from coming near the charming bridegroom.

Punjabi Wedding - Ghodi Chadna. Punjabi Groom arriving at his Punjabi wedding on his Ghodi (horse) and with a Sehra on his face
Ghodi Chadna

6.Milni – The baraat or the wedding procession is welcomed by the bride’s parents and relatives. Rose water is sprinkled on the procession and the milni begins. This is ceremony in which the relative of the bride is introduced to the corresponding relative of the groom. So the maternal uncle of the bride hugs and meets the maternal uncle of the groom and so on.

7.Varmala – When the groom enters the wedding venue, he is taken to an elevated stage where he sits and awaits the bride’s arrival. As soon as the bride arrives, they exchange garlands. This is a ceremony that involves a lot of teasing and fun where the groom is egged on by his friends and cousins not to bow his head as the shorter wife garlands him.

Punjabi Wedding - Jai Mala, Ver Mala Ceremony where Punjabi bride and groom put a garland around their spouse's neck
Jai Mala, Var Mala

8.Phere – The part of the hindu wedding that seals the marriage, the phera involve taking four rounds around the sacred fire. Post the phera’s the bridegroom puts sindoor in the parting of the bride’s hair and also puts the mangalsutra around her neck; two signs of a married Indian woman.

Punjabi Wedding - Phere and Sindhoor added to the Punjabi bride's mang (hair partition)
Sindhoor and Phere

9.Kanyadaan – This ritual signifies the giving away of the daughter by the bride’s father and mother to the bridegroom. In one step, the bride symbolically gives back all that she has taken from her father’s house till date so that she can be free to fulfill her duties towards her husband and his family without any biases or inclination towards her parents.

Punjabi Wedding - Father and mother of the bride performing Kanyadan - handing over of their daughter to her husband

10.Pani vaarna – A ceremony that is performed when the married couple reaches the groom’s house. The mother of the groom performs an aarti of the couple with a pitcher of water. With every aarti, she attempts to drink the water from the pitcher and the bridegroom is expected to stop her each time, allowing her to drink from it only the seventh time. The bride must push over a pot of rice with her right foot before she enters her new house.

My name is Neha Gupta and I like to write articles on wedding related matters such as catering, decoration, wedding planners, wedding decorations and fashion, love, respect and happiness in a relationship. You can find many of these articles at
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Image by Deepak Sharma. Image used under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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