Three main functions occur after the wedding. The first is the bride leaving her home, the second the bride being welcomed into her in-laws home and the third is bride returning to her parent’s home for the first time as a married woman.
Doli – Bride Leaving Home
Doli is a very emotional part of Sikh weddings and refers to the ceremony in which the bride leaves her parents home after her wedding. The bride is usually accompanied by a younger brother or cousin. A doli is a cot suspended by four corners from a bamboo pole. It is usually carried by four male relatives of the bride. Traditionally, a doli was used to carry all women and was decorated and covered by lavish cloth to hide the women inside from view of outsiders. Today, doli refers to the actual ceremony of a bride departing the home of her parents and a decorated car is usually provided for this purpose.
Preparing for Doli
- Money for bride’s sisters (from groom)
- Money to give sagan to couple
- Rice for bride to throw
- Ring for bride’s sister
- Kalichrian – Silver rings for female cousins as a gift from groom
- Oil in a small bowl (can be mustard oil or baby oil)
Time of Day:
The doli ceremony takes place after the wedding, between 2-4pm
How It’s Done:
- After the Anand Karaj or wedding ceremony, the bride and groom have langar at the Gurdwara, then have pictures taken with the photographer and finally go to the home of the bride’s parents.
- The bride goes inside immediately, while the groom participates in a series of fun rituals in order to be allowed entry into the home. The sisters and female cousins of the bride will only allow entry if the groom pays them a negotiated monetary sum. There is lots of bartering and joking involved and after a few minutes, the groom will pay the girls a negotiated amount and be allowed to enter the home. The girls may choose to put a ribbon at the door for the groom to cut after he is allowed entry.
- The guests are served chai and sweets.
- The bride and groom are seated together, surrounded by their family and friends.
- The bride’s parents give money as sagan to the bride and groom.
- Other guests who wish to bestow money upon the couple will do so at this time.
- As the women are singing Vidaai songs, the bride is ushered to the front door by her parents and family.
- Before stepping outside of the house she throws three, five or seven handfuls of rice (depending on the family’s preference) behind her. This symbolizes repaying her parents for all they have done for her.
- The family walks her to the waiting car and she will depart for her in-laws home, accompanied by her younger brother or male relative.
- As the car leaves, the brothers and male cousins give the car a push to help their sister start her new life.
- The father of the groom throws coins as the couple departs showing his happiness at the conclusion of this ceremony. Traditionally, this was done as a way to give money to the poor children in the village.
Welcoming the Bride at the Groom’s Home
How It’s Done:
- Upon arrival at the groom’s home, his mother pours oil on both sides of the door before allowing the couple to enter. The pouring of oil is an act of welcoming in Punjabi culture.
- The groom’s mother then begins the Pani Bharna in which she attempts to drink water from a steel jug and her son prevents her from doing so. After the third, fifth or seventh attempt he allows her to drink it.
- The couple enters the home and the bride is seated among the female relatives of the groom’s side.
- The women give sagan to the bride to welcome her into her new family.
The Bride Going Back to Her Parents House After the Wedding
The day after the wedding the newly wed couple visit the bride’s parent’s house.
Traditionally, the bride’s brother brings the couple over.
Bachai lok, your Auntiji recommends that at the doli, the sister’s and cousins of the bride are prepared to negotiate with the groom. His brothers and cousins will attempt to pay you as little as possible, but the girls need to remember to stand their ground! Also, remember that this a very emotional day for the bride and her family, so after several minutes of joking and laughing between the two sides, it is a good idea to let the groom in so they may proceed with the doli ceremony.
Traditionally, the prank played on the groom was to hide his shoes after he took them off to enter the gurdwara or his in-laws’ home. The sisters would demand money in order for him to get his shoes back. Sisters can also tamper with their new brother-in-law’s food and drinks, for example, putting salt in his soft drink or sprinkling salt or small amounts of cayenne pepper on his sweets. But please, take care not to overdo the food and beverage tampering as you do not want to cause him any undue physical hardship.
Now, there is one thing your Auntiji has yet to discuss and that is dowry. Giving your daughter a dowry has been a long standing tradition in India and abroad. This is a very personal decision that needs to be made by the bride’s family and I firmly believe that others should not influence, nor make requests as to what is provided in the dowry. Most parents provide their daughter new suits and sari’s, as well as provide them with some household items that they may need for their new home. In the end, it does not matter what you provide for your daughter in her dowry or if you provide one at all, what matters is that she will live a happy married life!