Sikh weddings, like any other Indian wedding, are an extremely joyous and pompous occasion. In fact, these Sikh weddings are considered to be the most lavish weddings in India. Besides the bride, groom and their families and friends, there are certain other participants in these Sikh weddings, without whom Anand Karaj ceremony would not be possible. These important participants include the following:
Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji
The presence of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji at every Sikh wedding ceremony is a must. Without his blessings no weddings can be considered to have been solemnized. It is for this reason that most of the Sikh weddings are held in a Gurudwara in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib Ji. In fact, it is only after the couple takes four rounds around Guru Granth Sahib Ji, one for each stanza of Lavan, is the Anand Karaj considered to be completed. This ceremony basically reconfirms the fact the Guru Granth Sahib Ji is at the centre of the lives of the marrying couple and also represents the presence of the Sangat at the marriage ceremony.
A very important participant in the Anand Karaj ceremony is the Granthi. Be it the pre wedding ceremony of milni or during the actual wedding ceremony, it is the responsibility of the Granthi to read out the Ardaas and the Lavan, commemorating the wedding ceremony. Ardaas is the prayer which is recited by the Granthi in front of Guru Granth Sahib Ji requesting him to bless the marrying couple and help them in leading their married life with love and happiness. The Lavan are the promises which the husband is supposed to make to his wife, confirming that he would take care of her and efficiently discharge all his responsibilities towards her. There are four Lavans, which the Granthi recites, and with each Lavan, the couple takes a round around Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Reciting of these Lavans and the four rounds are the most important part of the Anand Karaj ceremony.
The Ragis are yet other extremely important participants in a Sikh wedding. Ragis are the musicians present during the Anand Karaj ceremony. These musicians sit on a low stage and sing various hymns seeking divine blessings for the successful union of the marrying couple. The hymns sung by these Ragis are intended not just for the sole purpose of seeking the blessings of the Lord, but they are also intended to remind the couple that their relationship is getting solemnized in the divine presence and shall always be looked after the divine powers, hence they too need to make sure that they always respect and cherish this relationship of theirs. Right from the start of the wedding ceremonies till the very end, these Ragis sing various hymns written especially for every stage and step of the wedding ceremony.
All of the above participants in a Sikh wedding come together to make sure that the wedding ceremony gets carried out in the most traditional and religious manner.