The big fat Punjabi weddings are usually full of fun and frolic. As a wedding photographer, you are expected to shoot all the important rituals of a marriage function along with light candid backstage moments, which the busy couple may miss. Think about that voluptuous aunt dancing on ‘Baby doll’ or the secret eye-contact between future couples – you must not miss any of these gems.
While your eye for candid photography will always hunt for casual moments, you need to be equally sharp in capturing the details of important rituals. Hence, it will be wise to note down the ceremonies beforehand so that you don’t miss anything. Here is a list of those all important ceremonies which your Chandigarh client would insist you to shoot:
Roka: This is the unofficial engagement ceremony in Punjabi weddings which happen at the bride’s place. ‘Roka’ literally means to stop and signifies that the search of a prospective groom for this girl is over. During Roka, a group of relatives, including the elderly of the family, come to the bride’s house to bless her along with a variety of goodies like clothing, jewelry, sweets, and cash. This ceremony, however, doesn’t require the groom to be present.
Sagai: Sagai is the official engagement which usually happens a week before the wedding. In a traditional arranged marriage setup, this is the first instance when the couple meets each other. The groom-to-be is greeted by the bride’s father who applies a ‘tilak’ on his forehead. The groom also gets cash and other valuables from his would-be father-in-law. On the other hand, the bride experiences ‘chunni’ ceremony where her future mother-in-law drapes her with a red/pink decorative veil. Often, she is given precious jewelry as a token of blessings along with. These rituals are followed by the formal exchange of rings. However, in some cases, a ring ceremony never happens at all.
Chura: Chura is the traditional red and cream bangles worn by newly married women in most of the north Indian states. In Punjab, the set of chura is given to the bride by her maternal uncle after the same are touched by the well-wishers present. The bride is not allowed to even see her chura until her wedding day and can wear them once she is fully ready to embark on a new beginning. Once she is adorned with the churas, a traditional ornament called kalira is tied to one of her bangles in each hand by her near ones.
Jago: Apart from sangeet, ‘Jago’ is another occasion which gives the relatives of the couple plenty of chances to sing, dance and make merry. This happens on the night before the wedding day. Copper and brass pitchers are beautifully decorated with earthen lamps and carried over the head by the couple’s maternal aunt. The couple’s folks, along with the vessel, go to their neighbors’ houses and invite them to the festivities.
Pani bharna: While all the previous rituals are solemnized before the wedding, this last one happens once the newlyweds return to the groom’s house. This is essentially a welcome ritual for the bride in her new house. The groom’s mother puts mustard oil on both sides of the entrance before the newlyweds arrive. Once the bride comes out of the vehicle, her mother-in-law does seven cycles of aarti with a pitcher full of water and pretends to drink from the same after each round. The new bride stops her every time and only allows her to drink after the completion of the seventh round. After this, the bride enters the house by overturning a rice filled pitcher with her right toe and leaves her footmarks behind as she walks with her lac-dyed feet – a precious moment a candid wedding photographer in Chandigarh must capture.
So, if you are going to shoot a wedding in Chandigarh, do not miss any of these above rituals. While these may not be as important as the main wedding, they surely add to the emotional quotient of the entire do.