As Edmonton Wedding Photographers, we often get to photograph Punjabi or Sikh Weddings. Each culture in India has its customs and traditions that are entirely different. One of the cultures that we came across is Sikh. Some people also call them Punjabis. One of the most important events in any Sikh wedding is the Jago or Jaggo ceremony. Nandini being an Indian, always helped us navigate the Indian Wedding traditions a bit easier. Being multilingual also definitely helps here. Not many people know of these traditions, so we created this blog post. If you are planning a wedding, you must read about creating a Punjabi/ Sikh Indian wedding timeline here.
Who are Sikhs or Punjabi?
Firstly, let’s talk about Sikhs. Sikhs are people who follow Sikhism (religion). Sikhism teaches that God is neither born nor dead. Sikh communities foster love, equality and acceptance of all. Hence serving the world is a natural expression of Sikh prayer and worship.
Punjabi is a regional identity. It refers to anyone born or has ancestors in Punjab ( a state in India and Pakistan). A Punjabi can be a Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Christian etc. The Sikh religion has limited itself to the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. Hence Sikhs are confused with Punjabis. Both Sikh and Punjabi people use the Punjabi Language. Not every Sikh is a Punjabi. Similarly, not every Punjabi is a Sikh.
What happens at Maiyan Ceremony?
Sometimes people combine Maiyan and Jago on the same night. Initially, the relatives from the bride’s or groom’s maternal family will create a rangoli design at the entrance of the home, or at the wedding venue. The design is made with coloured powder and rice flour. This design can be complex or adventurous.
The rangoli design will be washed off in preparation for the Jago ceremony. Sometimes it is not possible to wash it off at the venue. An alternative is to bring a big white chat paper and do the rangoli design on it. It is an alternative to having the design on the floor.
The relatives bring the bride/groom by holding a wooden block and a red scarf. The bride/groom then sit on a stool facing east under the scarf, in front of the rangoli design. The mother or any other elder in the family will begin the ritual by applying mustard oil on the bride/groom’s forehead with a few grass strands.
Family and friends then follow rubbing mustard oil, Tumeric and flour mix on the bride/groom’s face, arms, hands and feet. The Maiyan ceremony is a playful and cheeky affair when relatives will often mischievously apply the mixture on every available body part! Traditionally, ladies sing jovial folk songs to enhance the celebratory atmosphere.
Let’s talk about Jaggo or Jago Ceremony
What does the Jago or Jaggo ceremony mean? It means “wake up”. It is a celebration by the maternal families of both the Bride and the Groom. The families arrive at the wedding venue with much fanfare. They also sing and dance. The female relatives take turns carrying a gagger (a decorated earthen pot lit with candles) while singing and dancing. Along with the earthen pot, people dance with a decorated stick with Bells attached. Jago is held a day or two before the wedding.
What happens during the Jago ceremony?
- The relatives recite Boliyan (Couplets). Sometimes this becomes like a competition between the relatives of the bride & groom competing against each other with recitals.
- They also perform Gidda (the traditional folk dance of Punjab) and Bhangra. It also becomes a competition between the Nankai ( maternal) and Daadkai (paternal family). Each side tries to outdo the other.
The Jago or Jaago ceremony is not just part of the Sikh tradition in India but also part of the Wedding tradition in Pakistan. The ceremony is loud and filled with joy, dancing, fireworks and food.
The idea is to celebrate the wedding of two people and make merry by dancing and partying.
Here are a few articles that will help you with the planning.
Check our Jaskaran’s Sikh wedding here
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments