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How to perform the Anand Karaj... !


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How to Perform the Anand Karaj

1. Set up the Gurudwara as usual, making sure there is

enough room for the couple getting married to walk

around the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. A full-volume,

Gurmukhi Bir of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib is used.

2. Guruprashad is present before the Laava(n) starts.

3. Begin the wedding with Kirtan, which can be of any

length depending upon the desires of the parties

involved and the time available. The couple(s) getting

married sit as a part of the Sadh Sangat.

4. The Mininster addresses the sangat and directs the

couple to come and sit in front of the Siri Guru

Granth Sahib, with the bride on the left side of the


5. The Minister explains the Sikh concept of marriage

emphasizing what the couple is about to commit. This

is the approriate time to describe the meaning of the

four rounds. (The Minister is discouraged from

interrupting the Laava(n) once it has begun.) The

Minister may ask the couple to affirm that they

understand and are ready to proceed.

6. The Wedding Ceremony now begins by the ragis

reciting Keetaa loree-ai kam. This Shabad states that

a Sikh will always begin a venture of any kind with

Ardas. It should not be too long, rather sung as part

of the ceremony, not as a prolonged Shabad.

7. Ardas is recited in order for the family to seek

the blessings for the couple. For this Ardas, only the

one reciting the Ardas, the couple and the parents or

acting guardians stand. This is a special time for the

family, giving their children unto the Guru, and close

friends, other family members and the Sangat should

respect this. This Ardas should distinctly ask for the

blessings of this couple and not include many other

requests. Agia bhai akal ki is not recited after this

Ardas. Bole So Nihal, Sat Siri Akal is done.

8. Hukam. The Granthi takes a Hukam from the Siri Guru

Granth Sahib, which should be recorded for the

information of the couple, then turns to page 773

where the Laava(n) begins.

9. Palaa. The Palaa is the shawl folded lengthwise

which links the couple throughout the marriage

ceremony. The ragis sing the Shabad Palai tendai lagee

as the palaa is being placed over the shoulder of the

groom. The right end is placed in his hands and the

left end is given to the bride to hold, by her father

or the one acting in that capacity.

10. The Granthi reads the First Round in Gurmukhi. At

this time the English translation may be recited. The

ragis now sing the First Laava(n) as the couple rises

and slowly, meditatively walks clockwise around the

Siri Guru Granth. The man leads the woman, both

holding on to their ends of the palaa. After the round

is completed, simultaneously with the ending of the

first Laava(n), the couple bows and sits, waiting for

the second round. A common practice is for close

family members and friends to stand behind the Guru as

a show of support and love for the couple. This must

be done with consciousness. There should not be so

many people that the ragis or the Minister or the Guru

are blocked from the sight of the sadh sangat. A

gentle touch on the back or smile can be shown, but it

is inappropriate for them to talk to the couple,

whisper in their ears, joke with them, pull them, hug

them, at this time. The couple is participating in one

of the most sacred ceremonies of their life and this

should be respected.

11. Second round is done the same as the first.

12. Third round is done the same as the first.

13. Fourth round is done the same as the first. As the

couple finishes circling the Siri Guru Granth Sahib

for the fourth and last time, the Sadh Sangat may

shower the couple with flower petals in joyous

exaltation and congratulations while the ragis sing

Viaa hoa mere baabolaa. The flower petals have been

distributed to individuals during the third round,

with an explanation to the guests when to throw the

petals. According to Sikh Codes of Conduct the couple

has been officially married by the Guru at this point.

14. The Minister may close with a few words and make a

legal pronouncement of marriage.

15. The couple may simultaneously feed each other

fruit at this time as the first act of marriage. If

they have rings, they may exchange them at this time.

(This is not part of the Sikh traditions, but is not

contra-indicated either.)

16. If the wedding takes place during a regular

Gurdwara, the couple returns to their place with the

Sadh Sangat and Gurdwara resumes.

17. If this is a wedding only, the couple returns to

their place with the Sadh Sangat while an Ardas is

read for the entire sangat and another Hukam taken for

the entire sangat and Guruprashad distributed. In Sikh

Dharma of the Western Hemisphere protocol, the Song of

the Khalsa is sung before the Ardas.

Remember that . . .

A wedding ceremony is open to all, and no one may be

excluded. A simple Lungar can be served for all and,

if desired, a more formal reception may be held

elsewhere, with limited invitations according to one’s

budget and personal choice.

Photographers should be instructed to be as conscious

as possible, with awareness of the sacredness of the

Court of the Guru.

A Sikh Minister should conform to the laws of the

country and be sure the couple has obtained the

required license prior to the wedding ceremony.

The Minister can let the couple know that s/he is

available to them for questions, counselling or

support during their marriage.

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