Anand Karaj | The Sikh Marriage Ceremony

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🙏 Sikh Gurdwara of Tampa Bay (Tampa Gurdwara, USREF) follows the Sikh Rehat Maryada (Sikh Code of Conduct) while officiating the Anand Karaj, Sikh Wedding Ceremony.

✅ While recognizing the importance of upholding the sanctity of the institution and keeping in the view of the respect of Guru Saheb, it is recommended that Anand Karaj ceremony may be performed only in the Gurdwara Saheb.

✅ Seva Service Charges: This nominal charge covers the bheta for the participating Granthis & Sevadaars, Gurdwara maintenance & deep cleaning after the event etc. To inquire about the cost structure, please click here to contact gurdwara sevadaars.

✅  Property Damage: Any damage to the Gurdwara saheb property during the event would be charged after the assessment of the damages by the management.

✅  Food Menu & Catering: Please click here to contact gurdwara sevadaars for related information.

❌ Tampa Gurdwara, as a matter of practice, does not permit taking the savaari of Maharaaj outside the Gurdwara Divaan Hall for conducting Anand Karaj.

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Anand Karaj Ceremony Explaied

The Anand Karaj, like all Sikh traditions, is always performed in the presence of the Eternal Guru of the Sikhs as enshrined in the Holy Scripture called the Guru Granth Sahib and witnessed by a community of relatives and friends, called Sangat.

This mystical union of the Guru, the Eternal Teacher, and the congregation (Sangat) incorporates the presence of Guru in our consciousness (“vich sangat har prabh vasai jio”). The Bride and bridegroom are thus mystically seated in the lap of Waheguru, the source of all love and affection and the blessing of the congregation is with them.

🙏 The ceremony follows the pattern below:

  1. As the congregation assembles, hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib are sung. Traditionally, the ceremony begins by the singing of “Keeta lorriye kum tah(n) har peh aaikhieye” – ‘At the commencement of any activity, seek the blessings of Waheguru who will aid in the successful completion of the task at hand by being an active witness.’
  2. The bride and bridegroom sit facing the Guru Granth Sahib. The bride’s father places an end each of a sash in the hands of the bride and groom – signifying the tying of the knot – joining together of two individuals. A specific hymn: “Pale Tende Lagi” or I have hitched myself to you is sung.
  3. Ardaas (prayer) and a reading (Hukamnama) from the Guru Granth. Note that in this instance this is a familial and not congregational prayer, where only the parents and the bride and bridegroom are expected to stand, while the sangat remains seated as witness.
  4. The reading is followed by singing of the four prescribed stanzas composed by the fourth Master, Guru Ram Das – collectively called the Laavaan. This is the core of the marriage ceremony.
  5. The Lavan involves four circumambulations of the Guru Granth Sahib. Accompanying each of them, one of the four prescribed hymns is, in turn, first read and then sung. At the conclusion of each reading of the hymn, the bride and groom bow to the Guru Granth, get up and walk around the Scripture in a clockwise direction. As they circumambulate, the hymn is this time sung by the raagis (minstrels). After completing each as they circle the Guru Granth, the couple should do so with a feeling of faith that they are commencing on the course of a joint life to make themselves inseparably one, to make their united life a union – physical, intellectual and spiritual.
  6. The singing of the celebratory “Viaah hoyah mera babula” followed by Anand Sahib or the Hymn of Bliss, which is sung after the Laavaan, signifying attainment or fulfillment.
  7. Ardaas (this time, congregational, to bless the new couple) and reading from the Guru Granth.
  8. Serving of karrah parshad, a sacrament consisting of a sweet pudding, signifying that the grace of Waheguru is sweet indeed.

🙏 Gurdwara Sahib Maryada Rules as applicable to Anand Karaj:

  1. Dancing and beating Dhol is not allowed within the Gurdwara premises.
  2. The room can be provided for Bride and Groom to get ready before Anand Karaj.
  3. Sehra and Kalgi should be removed from the Groom before entering the Diwan hall.
  4. The Bride and Groom are expected to sit on the carpet of the Diwan Hall as everyone else and the use of a cushioned mat or a Gaddi is restricted.
  5. During the Lawan ceremony, there should be no one accompanying the Bride and Groom.
  6. Flowers should not be showered on the Bride and Groom but can be offered to Guru Sahib.
  7. No one is allowed to sit higher than Guru Sahib in the Diwan Hall. Therefore people with a physical handicap can take advantage of the seating offered in the back rooms of the Diwan Hall.
  8. No one is allowed to come into the Gurdwara premises intoxicated or while under the influence of any substance.
  9. Vegetarian food can be catered in the Langar hall.
  10. Reciting of any poetry like singing Sehra or other similar songs is prohibited in the Diwan Hall.
  11. Anand Karaj, Lawan, Kirtan, and Ardas will be conducted by the Ragi Jatha of the Gurdwara Sahib.

🙏 Basic Guidelines for non‐Sikhs when visiting Gurdwara:

  1. Please dress in modest and appropriate attire that covers the legs as guests will be sitting on a carpeted floor. If you are not sure whether the clothing is suitable, try sitting on a carpeted floor at home for a short period.
  2. Before entering the Main Prayer Hall (Darbar Sahib), guests will have to remove their shoes, place them in the provided shoe area, and cover their heads.
  3. There is a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY for any substances, including tobacco products, alcohol, and other drugs, in the vicinity of the Gurdwara. Visitors cannot enter the Gurdwara while in possession of or under the influence of said intoxicants.
  4. All visitors MUST cover their heads while in the main Gurdwara areas, such as the Darbar Sahib and Langar Hall.
  5. Head coverings for male and female attendees are available in the Gurdwara; however, a large knotted handkerchief or head scarves are also acceptable. Hats and caps, such as baseball‐style caps and hoodies, are not appropriate.
  6. All members of the congregation will be sitting on the carpeted floor both in the Main Prayer Hall (Darbar Sahib); however, chairs are provided for those who are unable to sit on the ground.
  7. Upon entering the large prayer room called the Darbar Sahib, guests will walk toward the Guru Granth Sahib and bow with the head touching the floor to show respect to the Guru Granth Sahib.
  8. This is not required if you feel uncomfortable due to other religious beliefs or the like. When sitting on the floor, please be respectful of others as this is a place of worship.
  9. Visitors will be offered Karrha Parshad in the worship hall, which is received with both cupped hands. This is made out of sugar, flour, and butter—three ingredients that were available to all, regardless of caste in India. If you do not want a large portion, ask for a “very small portion” to the Sewadar (volunteer) serving the Karrha Parshad. You may decline the offering, if desired. However, please do not throw it away if you do not like it.
  10. Please give it back to the Sewadar. You may be offered Langar, vegetarian food from the community kitchen. However, you are not required to partake in Langar.
  11. When in the Langar Hall, it is better to ask for less rather than wasting the food. Say “very little” to the Sewadar (volunteer) serving the Langar. If you want more, rejoin the Langar line.
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