Punjabi’s, or Sikhs by nature, are considered to be full of lots of energy and like to enjoy every moment of life to the fullest. It is for this reason that Sikh weddings have generally extremely high energy levels with every person present at the wedding ceremony participates fully in every aspect of the wedding. Music and dance are supposed to be the sole of these Sikh weddings, with even the bride and the groom performing at their own wedding, along with other family members.
Some of the most common dances that one would see at these weddings are discussed below:
Bhangra is the most popular dance form of Punjab and one would see people performing this dance form in not just Sikh weddings but in other Hindu weddings as well. The music and nature of this dance form are such that irrespective of the occasion, as soon as anyone hears the dhols playing, they immediately get up and start doing the bhangra. Traditionally, this folk dance was performed by only men, but today everyone, men, women, children are performing it. Many couples opt to together perform this dance form at their pre wedding ceremonies.
Another extremely popular choice of dance form, at any Indian wedding is Bollywood dancing. Popular songs from Bollywood are selected, which in most cases are related to the wedding ceremony, and friends and relatives of the bride and groom perform on them. Bollywood has a song for every occasion of the marriage ceremony, including Mehndi, Sangeet, Haldi, engagement, Vidaai, reception, etc. Depending on the nature of the pre or post wedding ceremony at which the dance will be performed, the song selection can be made.
The above two dance forms are more about fun and frolic, but in keeping with the true traditional values of a Sikh wedding, the bride and groom generally opt to perform the Gatka dance as husband and wife at their wedding. Gatka dance is basically a form of martial arts and uses swords, sticks and daggers for the performance. Sikh Guru Hargobind Sahib was the one who started this dance form and was meant to teach the Sikh men and women the art of combat. Even today, many Sikh men and women learn this dance as a means of self defense. However, this dance form can be performed both as a sport and as a ritual. When performed as a sport, the contact made between the performers is real and shields need to be used in order to avoid injuries. However, when it is performed as a ritual, especially at weddings by the bride and the groom, it is more about role play and theatricals. When performed during a wedding ceremony, the groom generally demonstrates repetitive swinging and twirling movements of the sword. He may use one or two swords for his performance. The performance of this dance form during festivals or at weddings is known as rasmi which means ritual or official.
Not every Sikh couple opts for performing Gatka at their wedding as it is a highly specialized dance form and requires special training. However, Bhangra and Bollywood dancing can be seen at every Indian wedding.