Eleven Sikhism Matrimonial Dos and Don'ts

Guide to Dos and Don’ts of Sikh Matrimony at a Glance

Sikh father gives daughter in marriage on her wedding day.
Sikh Father Gives Daughter in Marriage. Photo © [Nirmal Jot Singh]

This handy guide of eleven Sikhism matrimonial dos and don’ts provides a basic overview of Sikh wedding customs at a glance. Of course marriage in Sikhism is much more than the sum of its dos and don’ts, however understanding the process is important to attaining and maintaining Sikh standards of conduct as outlined in the Sikh Reht Maryada (SRM) document. The Sikhism code of conduct applies from the beginning until the end of life as a means of overcoming ego and this is especially true in marriage.

In Sikhism, intimacies outside of marriage are not condoned, all other are to be considered only as brother or sister, mother or father, son or daughter. Husband and wife are united completely and maintain intimate relations with each other only. The holy scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, likens the state of matrimony as two beings sharing one light.

Eleven Sikhism Matrimonial Dos

These eleven Sikhism matrimonial dos for successful marriage and matchmaking include prospective spouses, engagement and wedding ceremonies, and apply to bride, groom, parents and families seeking to arrange marriage as well officiating parties.

Do:

  1. Choose another Sikh as a marriage partner.
  2. Choose a Sikh marriage partner without regard to caste or lineage.
  3. Choose a Sikh marriage partner of marriageable age who is both emotionally and physically mature and ready for the responsibilities of matrimony.
  4. Gather in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib to offer Ardas (prayer of petition) and exchange a kirpan (ceremonial iron short sword), kara (ceremonial iron bangle), along with customary confections when an engagement ceremony is desired.
  1. Greet future in-laws and members of bride and groom's wedding parties with the salutation,"Waheguru ji ka Khalsa Waheguru ji ki Fateh."
  2. Congregate for the wedding ceremony without restriction to size of wedding parties, whether small or great numbers of guests on either side attend, and sing hymns together selected from Guru Granth Sahib.
  1. Unite Sikh bride and groom in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib according to the Anand Karaj wedding ceremonial rites in the gurdwara, or Sikh wedding hall, on a date agreeable to both.
  2. Maintain close family relationships with both bride and groom, including parents partaking of meals in the homes of both their married sons and daughters.
  3. Encourage both husband and wife to be initiated as Khalsa to strengthen the unity of their marriage.
  4. Search for a suitable Sikh match for a widowed Sikh man or women who desires to remarry.
  5. Solemnize a subsequent remarriage according to Anand Karaj Sikh wedding rites.

Eleven Sikhism Matrimonial Don'ts

The Sikhism code of conduct forbids rituals and rites based on superstitious customs and practices as sacrilegious. Certain restrictions are observed regarding religious protocol and practicalities including marriageable age.

Don't:

  1. Wed an under age minor child, or bride, or groom of any age, who is not both emotionally and physically mature, and ready for the responsibilities of marriage.
  2. Determine the date of a wedding based on astrology or horoscopes.
  3. Accept, ask, or pay a bride price, dowry, or other monetary consideration, when arranging a match for either bride or groom.
  1. Agree to Anand Karaj wedding rites for bride or groom professing a faith other than Sikhism.
  2. Agree to Anand Karaj wedding rites anywhere other than a gurdwara or Sikh wedding hall, such as any location which allows consumption of tobacco, alcoholic beverages, drugs, service of foods not suitable for langar, and dancing, or other behaviors disrespectful to the holy scripture, Guru Granth Sahib.
  3. Adorn the head or face of the bride or groom in decorative paper, tinsel, or actual flowers, or gilded ornaments, or piercings, or tie the wrists with red bands.
  4. Engage in matrimonial related ancestor worship.
  5. Take part in rituals such as bathing the feet with milk, or filling and breaking pitchers, cutting berry or Jandi bushes.
  6. Participate in Vedic ceremonial rituals, chanting, and sacred fires, or erect a wooden pavilion or canopy, common to Hindu weddings.
  1. Engage devadasis (Hindu temple prostitutes), or others, to perform dances at the wedding, or reception.
  2. Engage in pre-marital or extra-marital affairs, plural marriage, divorce or remarry, or otherwise take second spouse, while the first is living (as a general rule).