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Sikh marriage – a union of two souls
Sikhs believe that marriage is a holy union of two loving souls, where physically they are two bodies but in fact, are united as one. Anand Karaj means "Blissful Union" or "Joyful Union". It was introduced by Sikh Gurus and got official recognition in 1909. The Sikh marriage is represented as an equal partnership. We can see that most of Sikh marriages are arranged. Usually, parents look for a suitable match for their girl or boy. Parents introduce them and if they don’t like each other the search goes on, but the choice is always left to the boy or girl. However, it isn’t necessary and Sikhism doesn’t tell that the marriage has to be arranged. Sikhs can find their partner on their own.
Sikhs prefer to marry Sikhs and according to the centrally approved Sikh Code (Sikh Reht Maryada) it is impossible to marry persons not professing the Sikh faith. It happens because religion and spirituality are the main parts of their life. Child marriage isn’t usual and normal for Sikhs and is strictly forbidden. All superstitions about good or bad days for marriage are also forbidden.
The Sikh marriage is monogamous. They believe that marriage is a way to attain spiritual and worldly joy. Nevertheless, Sikhs can get divorced under the civil law but not in church. An engagement ceremony called the kurmai might take place before the wedding ceremony but it isn’t necessary. Most weddings take place in the morning. It starts with a meeting of the two sides called Milni at which holy hymns called shabads are sung. The ceremony usually takes place in Gurdwara Sahib or at the bride's home. A priest or any Amritdhari Sikh can perform the ceremony and it is usually a wise and respected man. He tells the couple about the significance of marriage and explains their mutual duties as husband and wife. The Anand marriage is a sacrament and no document is necessary.
The main ceremony is quite simple. The bridegroom wears a sash over his shoulder. The end of this is in the hands of the bride. Laava (Marriage Hymn) from Guru Granth Sahib Ji are read and sung while the couple slowly encircles Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The officiating person reads the four lavan from Guru Granth Sahib. The verses of Lavan tells about four stages of love and married life. The ceremony is concluded with the singing of the six stanzas of the Anand Sahib followed by Ardas and Vak. The Anand Karaj ends with the serving of Karah Parshad (Sweet Pudding) to the congregation. The ceremony takes about an hour.
Sikhs believe that marriage is a holy union of two loving souls, where physically they are two bodies but in fact, are united as one. Anand Karaj means "Blissful Union" or "Joyful Union". It was introduced by Sikh Gurus and got official recognition in 1909. The Sikh marriage is represented as an equal partnership. We can see that most of Sikh marriages are arranged.