Lets accept it; Sikh weddings are grand and whether you are in Punjab or outside, celebrations never stops. And the basis for that celebration is the hearty and elaborate rituals that Sikh wedding have. The rituals are so big so that we had to write a separate article just for the Maiya function.
Maiya starts two days before the wedding, this ceremony is done at both the bride and groom’s houses. Traditionally it’s the cleansing and purification ceremony where Oil and Turmeric powder are applied on the brides and grooms body. It’s a symbolic act of cleansing and purification of the body before the marriage.
It’s done again on the day before the marriage and also on the night before the marriage, a total of three times. Second and third time the bride and grooms can apply it on themself. After the third time, they are not allowed to change their clothes and step out of the house.
This seems logical as the dress would already have been stained with the color of the turmeric and also the cleansing activity of the paste that’s applied will continue throughout the night into the next morning until they take bath.
As part of the ritual, the person should sit on a stool (peeri) and they should be east facing during the ceremony.
The important items needed for Maiya are:
1. A thaal (tray), which has vatna (mixture of turmeric powder, flour and mustard oil that is kneaded into a moist dough-like consistency).
2. A fatti (traditionally a rectangular piece of wood) for support and keeping their legs on.
3. Gaaney (auspicious red thread) and
4. A dupatta or chunni (Asian scarf).
All guests participating in the Maiya ceremony are gifted with the Gaaney and people usually become creative with the design of this thread. The chunni is held over the head of the bride and groom while the mixture (vatna) is applied.
Once all the guests have applied the mixture then the mother of the bride or groom tries to feed the boy and girl with some rice and the relatives playfully try to stop her.
This is the fun part of the ceremony as you can say.
Once everything is complete then the bride or groom is supposed to feed the remaining rice to a single guy/girl to wish them luck in getting married soon.
After completion of the ceremony, the mother of the to-be couple cleans the rangoli and makes it into a lump and throws it over the rooftop for the birds to feed. This is an important ritual and after doing this they place their handprints on the house entrance. It denotes that there is a marriage happening in this household.
Here is quick checklist of things that are needed for the Maiya ceremony.
- Rangoli – the quantity and range of colours depends on your design choice
- Flour (just a handful)
- Rice (just a handful)
- Peeri (stool) – available to rent from Epic Events
- Fatti (rectangular piece of wood) – available to rent from Epic Events
- Vatna – made of turmeric powder, mustard oil and flour kneaded to a moist dough
- Gaaney (auspicious red thread) – the number depends on how many guests you’re expecting
- Thaal (tray) – available to rent from Epic Events
- Boiled rice and sugar mix
- Dupatta (scarf) – Punjabi’s tend to go for a traditional fulkari design
- Few strands of grass
- Mustard oil
The initial phase of the Maiya ceremony is very interesting and intimately close event for the family. There is both scientific and spiritual meaning to this celebration.
We hope you have great fun and this celebration brings you close as a family and builds a great foundation for the marriage that’s just coming up!