5 customs in a traditional Sikh Punjabi wedding you might see at Lizard On The Wall

Law Xiao Xuan

June 19, 2017

20170620 jewellery set

Traditional Sikh Punjabi weddings are big, glamorous affairs, and who doesn’t love a good celebration? If you’re going for the filming of Lizard On The Wall, here are some rituals and customs you might see on set.

1. Chooda

20170620 chooda

The chooda is a set of 21 bangles traditionally gifted to the bride by her maternal uncle. Close relatives touch the chooda as a mark of their blessings before it is presented to the bride.

The bangles are typically red and ivory – red is seen to strengthen the bonds between the couple, and to signify good luck and fertility.

Notice the gold umbrella-shaped ornaments dangling from the chooda? These are kalire, signifying happiness and eternal love for the couple.

It is believed that if any part of the kalire (the traditional ones encrusted with betel nuts, dried fruits and coconut, at least) falls onto the head of an unmarried girl in the family as the bride shakes them, she will be the next one to get married.

2. Mehndi

mehndi

Most Singaporeans would be no stranger to this beautiful traditional art, which entails using henna, a plant-based dye to paint intricate designs onto the body.

In preparation for the wedding day, the bride, along with female members of the family, has her hands and feet decorated with henna in various designs. This is a light-hearted celebratory affair often accompanied by singing and dancing. The initials of the groom can even be playfully hidden within the details of the design for him to search for later on!

3. Milni

20170620 milni tray

Before the wedding takes place, the groom and his entourage, or the baarat, arrive in a flourish of festivities for the milni ceremony.

During milni, which means “meeting”, male relatives from both families formally greet each other and exchange gifts, often placed on a tray like the one seen above.

Traditionally, flower garlands are gifted from the bride’s family to the baarat (though beaded garlands like the ones pictured below may be used too). Sweets and other gifts may be given as well.

20170620 beaded garlands

4. Chunni

20170620 chunni

The chunni scarf has several roles to play in a Sikh Punjabi wedding.

During the pre-wedding chunni ceremony, the groom’s mother places the chunni scarf over the bride’s head, symbolising her acceptance of the family’s new daughter-in-law.

At the wedding, the bride’s father runs the scarf over the bride’s shoulder and over to the groom’s hands. Known as palley ki rasam, this ceremony signifies the union of the couple as one.

After sagaan, where the couple is adorned with garlands and presented with gifts by family and friends, the bride’s father takes the chunni scarf from the bride, folds it, and hands it to the groom in a symbolic gesture of placing his daughter in the groom’s care. 

5. Parshad

20170620 parshad

Parshad is a sacred sweet pudding that is given out after religious services and ceremonies at a Sikh gurdwara. It is also offered to guests at a Sikh Punjabi wedding once the religious ceremonies have been concluded.

When you are offered parshad, you should accept it sitting down with cupped hands raised high as a sign of humility and respect. The parshadshould then transferred to the palm of one hand and eaten with the other hand. 

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Have fun spotting these rituals and customs when you come for the filming of Lizard On The Wall!

Haven’t registered for the filming or purchased your O.P.E.N. Pass yet? No worries, you can do so here: https://www.sifa.sg/theopen/programme/shows/lizard-on-the-wall/

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  • 2017