The Phera and Lavaan Rituals combined in a Multicultural Hindu and Sikh Wedding Ceremony.
I am often asked if a couple can have a Multicultural Wedding Ceremony when they are both from the Asian culture but their families follow different religions. The answer to this is YES you can.
The couple approached me through their wedding planner. They were a young couple who did not want a full on Hindu or Sikh ceremony but would like to create a ceremony that represented them both as individuals as well giving respect to their roots. They would be travelling from the USA to have their wedding celebrations in the UK.
From our first zoom call they knew I could make this work and the booking was agreed. So how did I make this work?
Through the answers to the questionnaire I sent them to complete, I was able to see straightaway the rituals that they wanted to include and when I saw that they wanted to include the Phera and the Laavan ritual, I had to get my thinking cap on and see what I could do that the couple would love and the parents would be ok with. The bride was Sikh and the Lavaan was important to her and the family, to be included in the ceremony and the bridegroom was Hindu, and the Phera was important to him and his family to include.
The Hindu and Sikh Wedding Ceremony
We had the traditional western concept of the bridegroom waiting at the front for his bride to enter. We had a simple Hindu Ganesh Puja, where the couple lit a diwo (candle), lit some agarbatti (incense stick), placed a garland on the Ganesh and did a chandlo (tilak), on his forehead. Then followed the Milni (the meeting of the elders), where they each placed a garland on each other and then the couple placed a garland on each other. The couple included family members asking them to do readings that they chose themselves
So when combining rituals, it is important that they still remain respectful and that the couple, their families and guests understand what is happening.
Here we were combining 2 very key parts from a Hindu and Sikh Wedding Ceremony. The two rituals combined together represented the unity and love of the bride and bridegroom.
The laavan has the four hymns of the Anand Karaj (the Sikh wedding ceremony) which form the main part of the Sikh ceremony where the couple walk around the holy book in a clockwise direction but do not sit down. The bride’s cousins are present and involved in this part of the ceremony.
The Phera has four circles usually around the havan kund (a copper container) which has wood or coal inside that is burnt to create the fire. The couple walk around the fire in a clockwise direction and sit down after each circle. They usually have bridesmaids, groomsmen or family present to shower them with petals.
The Combined Ritual
In the middle, there was a clear bowl with water and petals. The petals represented earth. There was air and space around us, and the floating candles represented the fire. This is The Pancha Bhutas also known as the 5 physical elements of life. The couple walked around the bowl in a clockwise direction, sitting after each circle.
The bridegroom led the four circles, holding the bride’s hand and the 4 cousins took a round each and followed them round the circle.. This was symbolic of how the bride will always be protected by the bridegroom and her cousins. After each round, the bridegroom and bride placed a floating candle in the water and the cousins remained for all 4 rounds.
The couple, their family and guests all enjoyed watching the combined ritual and my explanations.
I have another wedding coming up soon where they are thinking that the 4 cousins may stand at each pillar so they are part of each round.
It is your wedding ceremony and with a Celebrant, like me, you choose what you want to include and I create the ceremony for you, making sure that you are happy along the journey.