Punjabi Engagement Ceremony

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Punjabi Engagement Ceremony Traditions

Punjabi Engagement Ceremony

In addition to being engagement ceremonies, the kurmai and chunni are both considered sagan ceremonies, which means they bestow good luck and blessings on the bride and groom. The kurmai is a ceremony for the groom done by the bride`s family and the chunni is a ceremony for the bride done by the groom`s family.


The kurmai can precede the Anand Karaj (marriage ceremony) by any length of time – literally years to one week before. As a key component of the Punjabi engagement ceremony, the kurmai ceremony is traditionally held at the groom’s home or at a gurdwara. The groom is presented with gifts brought by the bride’s family. The gifts often include a gold kara (Sikh bracelet) or a wrist watch.

Preparing for Kurmai

Materials Required:

Dried dates
Gold kara or wrist watch
Indian sweets
Edible gift baskets (fruit, chocolate or other themes)

Time of Day:

Anytime that suits the families involved

How it’s Done:

  1. The bride`s family enters with baskets and gifts in hand
  2. The baskets are given to the groom`s family
  3. The groom is seated in a chair that can be viewed by all invited guests.
  4. A long scarf or cloth is placed open in his lap to receive gifts of money
  5. The bride’s mother and father present the groom with the gift and put it on his wrist.
  6. The bride’s father feeds the groom a dried date and the bride’s mother and father give him money and feed him traditional Indian sweets
  7. All other relatives who wish to do so can also give him money

Chunni Ceremony

The chunni ceremony is one of the newest customs among Punjabi engagement ceremony traditions. It is a ceremony that can be done anytime between the takha and the wedding, even up to one week prior to the Anand Karaj.

The chunni ceremony, held at the bride’s home, is conducted by the groom’s family. The bride is donned with gifts brought by the groom’s family. The gifts often include a salvar kameez or sari, make-up, nail polish, jewellery, bangles, bindis, hair clip or ribbon and sindoor (red powdered that placed at the tip of a woman’s hair part symbolizing she is married). The most important gift is the chunni (a long scarf). It is always in a shade of the traditional wedding colour, red, and is presented to the bride-to-be. The significance of the chunni ceremony is to begin the process of welcoming the bride in to the family.

Preparing for Chunni Ceremony

Materials Required:

  • Dried dates
  • Chunni
  • Jewelery (often a gold set)
  • Bangles
  • Bindi
  • Hair clip/ribbon
  • Sindoor
  • Salvar kameez or sari

Time of day:

Anytime that suits the families involved

How it’s Done:

  1. Bride is either already wearing the sari or salvar kameez that was gifted by her in-laws-to-be or she must change into it at this time
  2. She is seated in a chair that can be viewed by all invited guests
  3. The groom’s mother, sisters and sister-in-laws begin to adorn the bride with jewellery, bangles, a bindi, hair clip or ribbon and sindoor and chunni
  4. The make-up does not need to be applied and is to be given as a gift , although a very small amount of nail polish may be applied to one or two nails
  5. The chunni is the last item to adorn the bride. It is placed on her head by the groom’s mother.
  6. The groom’s mother and father give the bride money and feed her a dried date and traditional Indian sweets
  7. Other family members may then approach the bride and give their blessings

Auntyji’s Approach

Bachai lok your Auntyji suggests combining these ceremonies into a larger engagement party. This can be hosted at a banquet hall. Both families should invite whom ever they wish and both should contribute to the costs.

Combining the sagan ceremonies allows both the bride and groom to be present and involved. Also, as an added bit of fun, the groom can get down on one knee in front of all family and friends and present a ring to the bride.

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One Response to Punjabi Engagement Ceremony

  1. jyan says:

    Aunty ji

    this site helped me the most. It tells me what to include in the rituals

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