True Meaning of the Chunni Ceremony?

What is the true meaning of the chunni ceremony? – Kiran


Before I answer your question about the true meaning of the chunni ceremony, I believe it is important to understand the history of the engagement ceremonies within the context of Sikh wedding requirements. Once we understand this context, we can see where the Punjabi culture has influenced the wedding processes and has moved us from this initial place.

According to the Sikh Rahit Maryada (the Sikh Code of Conduct and Conventions) Article XVIII:

  •  marriage may not be preceded by engagement ceremony. But if an engagement  ceremony is sought to he held, a congregational gathering should be held and, after offering the Ardas before the Guru Granth Sahib, a kirpan, a steel bangle and some sweets may be tendered to the boy.

As evidenced by the above passage, the only engagement ceremony mentioned in the Sikh Code of Conduct is the engagement ceremony dedicated to the groom – the kurmai. An engagement ceremony in which the bride is the focus is not mentioned.

The chunni ceremony is one of the more recent additions to the Punjabi Sikh wedding repertoire. Although the chunni ceremony has a number of components to it, the most important part of the ceremony is when the prospective mother-in-law (or her representative) places the chunni on the head of her future daughter-in-law. This is called chunni charauna.

The significance of this is to demonstrate to the family and friends that have gathered for the event that the boy’s family has accepted their future daughter-in-law as one of their own. The chunni ceremony is a beautiful statement of acceptance and inclusion. In your Auntyji’s views it is quite a powerful statement made to the bride-to-be and her family and it is a welcome addition to the Punjabi Wedding ceremonies.


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