The White Punjabi Bride
My Big Fat Punjabi Sikh Wedding Story: Parneet & Harvinder
Updated: Jan 8, 2021
In this series I will share with you stories of other's, who like myself, have married into the Punjabi Culture and celebrated their own Big Fat Punjabi-Sikh Wedding. Though firstly there is some confusion around the difference between a Sikh and Punjabi Wedding merely because many weddings happen to predominately be Punjabi-Sikh Weddings.
Therefore to clarify, Punjab is a state of India in which many different faiths exist not only that of Sikhism. Which means not every Punjabi Wedding will necessarily be of the Sikh Faith, celebrating the same wedding traditions. Sikhism is a religion that originated in the state of Punjab. So whilst majority of Punjabi's are Sikh's, not every Punjabi will be. Hence why many weddings will be Punjabi-Sikh Weddings given they both are of the Sikh Faith and were born a Punjabi. Though even a Punjabi-Sikh Wedding can be referred to as either just a Sikh Wedding or Punjabi Wedding.
Even so, the rituals and traditions of a Punjabi-Sikh Wedding can vary greatly between regions and family. Therefore even the most common traditions can differ in how they are celebrated and is usually a personal preference as to which traditions are participated in. Though for the most part many are quite similar.
My Big Fat Punjabi-Sikh Wedding Story
Parneet & Harvinder
Hi my name is Parneet, I converted to Sikhism many years ago and have since been known as Parneet. However I am French by birth and have been living and breathing the Indian Culture for more than 15 years. I met my husband seven years ago when I moved from Paris, France to Brussels, Belgium.
We both were bhangra performers for the same performance company and for more than a year we were just friends. I decided to one day help him look for a partner in life so we started to spend a lot more time together talking about what he was after in a partner. Eventually we were talking at least 5 times a day and 3-4 hours on the phone. Then one morning after many months, I received a message saying; "I love you my friend".
I began to think all day about the meaning behind his message and then I realised that I didn't want to be without him and needed to see him everyday. I never answered his message clearly though a few days later it was his birthday. I decided to surprise him with a big box of his favourite sweet, Jalebi, and that later became our first date.
We lived together for 4 years before we married and built our own French-Indian world. It's been a total of 7 years now that we have been together and are constantly working on our relationship.
What Traditional Pre-Wedding Ceremonies Did You Celebrate?
We married in 2018, three days before our marriage we celebrated our Maiyan Ceremony which is also referred to as Vatna or Haldi Ceremony. We held one Maiyan in the morning and one at sunset. Unfortunately my family didn't make it to India for our wedding celebrations because my parent's never travel and are afraid to do so.
Though one of my husband's Aunty's took on a maternal role which made it so emotional for me. More guests arrived the next day when the ladies sangeet celebrations commenced, which was the second night before our marriage. We then finished with a small Jaago celebration dancing and singing around the village the night before.
Describe Your Wedding Day
Our wedding day was very simple, after we wed during Anand Karaj, we just had a small gathering at home with close friends & family. All the village attended our Anand Karaj, it was so emotional. I am a simple woman and don't like heavily decorated and embellished clothing or jewels.
Therefore I opted for a simple silk Punjabi Suit that is worn for any occasion, paired with a turban. I have been wearing turban's since I converted to Sikhism ten years ago. We didn't incorporate any western traditions as we already celebrated a western wedding in Belgium a year ago.
Any Advice For Those In An Interracial Relationship Who Are Planning Their Own Big Fat Punjabi-Sikh Wedding?
If you are going to marry in India just know that it can be challenging, particularly for those who aren't familiar at all with the Indian Culture. However you can prepare yourself by researching on YouTube and watching videos of Punjabi Wedding's; ask your partner to explain the customs involved; connect with other Indian women in your community.
Although you may not understand the customs and traditions involved try to participate as much as you can even though it can be challenging. As these traditions hold a deep meaning to your in laws and by participating it will capture the heart of your future family.
Albeit there are an array of different faiths, a blessing holds one single meaning across each faith. So try not to focus too much on why they do a particular ritual, instead focus on how much it means to your in laws and see their looks of appreciation in their eyes.
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*Images are courtesy of Parneet and are original copyrighted content and cannot be used without the express written consent of Parneet