Who can stand with the bride during the laavan?

My question is regarding the Anand Karaj. While Lavan take place bride’s brothers stand around Guru Granth Sahib Ji to walk beside the bride. My question is:  Are also friends allowed to do this? I think there are about 4 people standing there. Father, brother, cousins, but can’t friends also stand there or does this have to be done by relatives?

Thanks in advance.

Meeti

 

Meetiji,

You are correct that during the laavan, the bride’s brother and cousins stand around the Guru Granth Sahib and walk her around the altar. There is no limit as to how many people can stand there. Your Auntyji has witnessed wedding with no one around to assist the bride, to 2 brothers only, to so many that each person walked with the bride for only one step.

Having brothers walk the bride around the altar is a symbolic gesture. It connotes that the brothers will always be there to protect their sister. As it is a symbolic gesture, anyone who signify a brotherly relationship to the bride can stand as her brother as well – friend or relative.

It is customary to decide ahead of time who one would like standing for the bride and let them know so everyone is prepared when the time comes. These boys and/or men are sometimes given ramals (head coverings) of a special colour that signify they are part of the ‘wedding party’. Some brides who do not have brothers or few male cousins can even have an uncle stand for them. Any male whose relationship with the bride is viewed as a brother/sister relationship or who can be seen as a protector of the bride can stand to assist during the laavan.

Also, don’t forget that usually a bhabi or sister sits beside the bride to help her get up and a down between each farra as well as walking her to the first brother who awaits her.

Aapke,

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