Datar is a sub caste of Sansi Sikh, who exists in and around of Punjab. For them, Wedding is not just a ceremony, they consider it as a celebration. There are numerous colorful and fun filled ceremonies followed before and after wedding, they represent Vedic tradition with mix of Hindu rituals and Sufism.
Rituals before wedding:
The first ceremony conducted before marriage is “Kachchi Mishri” during which a coconut and mishri is given to the bride and groom, to symbolize that they are the one, going to merge as a family. This happens as soon as the bride and groom approve the marriage proposal. Following that, there will be a formal engagement where bride and groom exchanges rings, after this event both families exchange their gifts.
Before four or five days of the wedding day, they conduct an exciting ceremony called “Mehendi”. On this day, bride’s hands and legs are decorated with beautiful motifs. These motifs are usually traditional mango and flowers along with starting letter of groom’s name. Most exciting feature of this event is, groom needs to find out the letter which is hidden along with the beautiful motifs. Next ceremony is “Santh”, during which seven ladies apply oil to girl’s hair and then she is supposed to break an earthen pot cover in one go, if she does, it is seen as good.
Next interesting event which takes place before marriage is “Sangeet”. This is a get together party organized by bride’s family for her friends and relatives; you can find girls enjoying their day by singing, dancing and playing, followed by delicious dinner. After this “Saagri” ritual is organized, where groom’s married elder sisters and cousins visit bride’s home, shower flowers and decorate her with jewelry made of flowers. Next ritual is “Ghari Puja”, which happens at bride and groom place. During this event, priest is offered with wheat which was grind by women and conduct prayers. There is an important ceremony called “Thread” which happens just few days before the wedding day. On this day bride and groom are applied with turmeric and oil, which signifies that they are not supposed to move out of their home until wedding.
Rituals on the wedding day:
On the day of wedding, there is a custom called “Swagatam”. Where in, the groom is welcomed to the bride’s home by her cousins, sisters and friends, at the doorway the groom keeps his right foot over bride’s foot. Then, the couple are made to sit facing each other with a screen that separates the couple . After this, the bride’s brother washes couples feet with milk in a thali made of bronze, this ritual is called “Paon Dhulai”. Followed by “Jaimala” ceremony, during which bride and groom exchange their garlands.
Next important ritual is Hathialo, the priest ties groom’s shawl to the bride’s sari and also ties their hands with a red cloth, after which the couple pray to almighty for their happy marriage life. The actual marriage ceremonies start after this, bride and groom are made to sit before the agni (the sacred fire), priest chant mantras and the couple take rounds around the agni. During “Kanya Daan” ceremony, parents of bride sit together and pass the responsibility of bride to the groom. After that, bride walks away from her parent’s home and makes her new way to groom’s home, this ceremony is called Vidai.
Rituals after wedding:
Groom’s sisters wash bride’s foot with milk and spray it all over the house. Then the bride gives handful of salt to groom and then he also gives it back, this is followed for three consecutive times. During this event, salt should not spill anywhere. The purpose of this ritual is that as the salt mixes with everything, she should mingle with all members of her new family. This Datar ceremony is considered as the end of marriage rituals.