Punjabis are people who belong to the state of Punjab in India. They trace their lineage to the Indo-Aryan group from South Asian region. The Punjabi people have their distinctive linguistic and cultural identity. Most of the Punjabi community members reside in the states of Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. The community members are also settled in other parts of India and in countries like United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia. Punjabi Matrimony has traditions and customs, which are reflection of the strong heritage of the community evolved over the years.
There are three major religions in the state of Punjab-Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism. Punjabi Matrimonial celebrations differ in rituals among the various religions. A priest conducts the actual wedding ceremonies for the Hindu community in Punjab while for the Sikh Punjab Matrimony a Granthi conducts the rituals. For the Muslims in Punjab, the Qazi conducts the weddings in presence of witnesses and guests. Though the rituals are varied, some common factors unite the various Punjabi religious groups. Common among them are songs and dance at the weddings in Punjab. The dances at Punjab Matrimony are high-energy types and generally Bhangra and Gidha. The Bhangra are performed by the men and while the Gidha is generally done by women. Some popular wedding songs in Punjabi are Mangane di geet, Ghoriyaan, Churra charan vele da geet, Mahinya and Pani Vaarna. In addition, the dress and the food of the people of Punjab are similar even if they are from different religious background.
The rituals at the Punjab Matrimony have many pre-wedding rituals. Some of the rituals are similar for Hindu and Sikh Punjabi wedding. In the Sikh Punjab matrimony, some important rituals before the actual wedding are Takha, Mangni, Rokka and Sangeet. The Mangni or Shagun is usually the ritual before the engagement ceremony. The bride’s parents and relatives visit the groom’s house with gifts, sweets and jewelry and confirm the alliance. The Rokka is the engagement ceremony where the groom and the bride exchange rings. Relatives and family shower blessings and gifts on the couple. Sangeet is a happy and fun-filled ceremony where the women of the family sing and dance to traditional Punjabi songs. The sound of the ‘dhol’ or Indian drum goes well with the traditional wedding songs.
The mehendi ceremony is a common pre-wedding ritual between the Hindu as well as the Sikh Punjabi matrimony. This is another fun wedding ritual where only the female members of the house attend the ceremony. Professional henna artist draws beautiful patterns on bride’s hands and feet. The name of the groom is hidden in the designs. The groom’s mother sends the mehendi for the bride’s hand and feet.
The Punjab Matrimony for the Hindus has the Pheras, which is a significant ritual. The bride and the groom encircle the holy fire seven times. For the Sikhs, the couple circles around the holy book Guru Granth Sahib four times. Some more important rituals for the Hindus and Sikhs matrimony are Jaimala, Kanyadaan and Juta chuppai.
No Punjab Matrimony is complete without a grand feast of local delicacies. Punjabi cuisine offers a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Punjabi food use liberal amounts of ghee, butter and cream in the dishes. Dishes from Paneer, Indian cottage cheese is very popular among Hindu Vegetarian matrimonial feast. Some more popular vegetarian Punjabi food is the Rajma, Saron Da Saag, Dal makhani, Dal Amritsari, Choley with Naan and Maa Di Dal. Specialty for the non-vegetarian food is the Butter Chicken, Tandoori chicken and Chicken Tikka.