Has the Anand Karaj Lost its Significance to the Afterparty?

Hey readers…I accidentally deleted the post on Sikh weddings and we are in the process of trying to retrieve it. I may attempt a reconstruction if we cannot, but in the meanwhile – We’d still like to hear your thoughts on the question posed in the title.Anand_Karaj.jpg The question is prompted by this article in the NYTimes about the trent of having ridiculously expensive weddings going on in Afghanistan currently. Reading the article made me think about our own wedding traditions and how much of the Sikh wedding has lost its meaning (particularly the anand karaj itself) and the focus has really shifted to the afterparty and in the case of Sikh weddings in Punjab the “before-during-after party” where many guests bypass the anand karaj altogether and head straight for the wedding palace.Recently the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee even mandated simple Sikh weddings (without extravagant parties that include alcohol) for the Sikhs to whom it was to issue marriage licenses.So, what do you think – has the anand karaj lost its significance to the afterparty?

P.S. some of the comments also were deleted with the post so if you commented, I apologize for losing your thoughts.


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27 Responses to “Has the Anand Karaj Lost its Significance to the Afterparty?”

  1. Anandica says:

    Unfortunately, I think the purpose of the Anand Karaj has lost its importance for our community. I am sure most couples getting married are probably unaware of the significance of the Anand Karaj, or even know what the Laava mean. Couples getting married will sometimes print off a program for their Non-Sikh attendees with the meaning of the Laava so they can follow along, maybe we need to start distributing these programs to the whole Sangat who attend the wedding?

    There are many marriages today that are based on lies and deceit, and these fraudulent individuals will take part in the Anand Karaj with no shame. I feel we need to shift our focus on the issue of marriage in our community, and regain some respect for our principles. I know many people in our generation have thought about "sikh marriage counseling" prior to marriage, like many other religions already do. I think this would be a great idea, and would make sure individuals were aware of what marriage would mean for them as a couple.

    The issue of the "after party" seems to me is more about ego and wanting to out-do one another. I can't remember the last time I went to a wedding that was done creatively… but I've been to many that cost way too much money. (They should have saved the money for a down payment on a house, or better still… taken a trip around the world!)

  2. Anandica says:

    Here is another interesting article in reference to this topic:
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-co

  3. Anandica says:

    Unfortunately, I think the purpose of the Anand Karaj has lost its importance for our community. I am sure most couples getting married are probably unaware of the significance of the Anand Karaj, or even know what the Laava mean. Couples getting married will sometimes print off a program for their Non-Sikh attendees with the meaning of the Laava so they can follow along, maybe we need to start distributing these programs to the whole Sangat who attend the wedding?
    There are many marriages today that are based on lies and deceit, and these fraudulent individuals will take part in the Anand Karaj with no shame. I feel we need to shift our focus on the issue of marriage in our community, and regain some respect for our principles. I know many people in our generation have thought about “sikh marriage counseling” prior to marriage, like many other religions already do. I think this would be a great idea, and would make sure individuals were aware of what marriage would mean for them as a couple.
    The issue of the “after party” seems to me is more about ego and wanting to out-do one another. I can’t remember the last time I went to a wedding that was done creatively… but I’ve been to many that cost way too much money. (They should have saved the money for a down payment on a house, or better still… taken a trip around the world!)

  4. Anandica says:

    Here is another interesting article in reference to this topic:
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-corr_indiajan13,0,6937830.story

  5. Singh says:

    Thanks Anandica for the article. One part in particular struck me as an important corollary to some of the other issues discussed on this blog:

    As the costs of a daughter's marriage grow — the bride's parents traditionally pay for the wedding, as well as some other costs of setting up the new couple — a long tradition of selective-sex abortions in favor of boys is proving tough to dislodge. This is particularly the case in northern India, home of the biggest weddings and also the biggest imbalance in the ratio of the sexes.

    Families that fail to pay enough dowry also can see their daughters held hostage to continuing financial demands by the groom's family. Last year, 120 deaths of young women in New Delhi were judged "dowry deaths," with new brides killed or pushed to commit suicide because their families failed to meet the demands of their new in-laws, according to police statistics.

    In contrast to the article on Afghani weddings (which are paid for by the groom), Sikh weddings are traditionally paid for by the brides parents. The reasoning above was the same reasoning cited by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee President, when he announced the mandate that Sikh weddings in Delhi be reigned in and avoid touching upon the uber-extravagant.

    I also like the idea of having the lavaan translated for the whole sangat…unfortunately there are many who have no idea of what it means to read the lavaan (which are a set of hymns outlining the the attainment of Waheguru). How awesome would it be if part of the ceremony was dedicated to discussing the meaning with the sangat…perhaps during the "sikhia" period (after the anand karaj is completed) when respected figures customarily give advice to the newly-wed couple.

  6. Singh says:

    Thanks Anandica for the article. One part in particular struck me as an important corollary to some of the other issues discussed on this blog:

    As the costs of a daughter’s marriage grow — the bride’s parents traditionally pay for the wedding, as well as some other costs of setting up the new couple — a long tradition of selective-sex abortions in favor of boys is proving tough to dislodge. This is particularly the case in northern India, home of the biggest weddings and also the biggest imbalance in the ratio of the sexes.

    Families that fail to pay enough dowry also can see their daughters held hostage to continuing financial demands by the groom’s family. Last year, 120 deaths of young women in New Delhi were judged “dowry deaths,” with new brides killed or pushed to commit suicide because their families failed to meet the demands of their new in-laws, according to police statistics.

    In contrast to the article on Afghani weddings (which are paid for by the groom), Sikh weddings are traditionally paid for by the brides parents. The reasoning above was the same reasoning cited by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee President, when he announced the mandate that Sikh weddings in Delhi be reigned in and avoid touching upon the uber-extravagant.

    I also like the idea of having the lavaan translated for the whole sangat…unfortunately there are many who have no idea of what it means to read the lavaan (which are a set of hymns outlining the the attainment of Waheguru). How awesome would it be if part of the ceremony was dedicated to discussing the meaning with the sangat…perhaps during the “sikhia” period (after the anand karaj is completed) when respected figures customarily give advice to the newly-wed couple.

  7. Nicole says:

    For me, I don't know if the Anand Karaj has lost its meaning in the United States or if it's that the meaning was never emphasized to begin with in the Sikh immigrant community. I am born and raised in California and can say that I, as well as almost every Sikh I grew up with, were never told the meaning of the words Anand Karaj. I just remember it being the words that were printed on the wedding cards. I think for a lot of people the meaning has not been lost, its always been missing.

    When I was an undergraduate, I went to a wedding where the meaning of each laava was explained to the bride and groom before they got up for that particular laava. This was the first time in my life that I understood what a couple, no longer just an individual, was promising to do before God. It was awesome to see that the gani ji was looking directly at the couple and not dictating but instead talking to the couple about what they are about to step into with marriage. I strongly believe in every wedding it should be required that this explanation is given during the Anand Karaj.

    I also love the idea of "sikh marriage counseling", where the meaning of the laava could be explained ahead of time so the couple understands what constitutes a Sikh marriage. Since most young Sikhs do not understand what Anand Karaj and laava means, understanding this explanation would help them understand their own history.

    We always see the christians take their vows and we know exactly what "vows" mean, they are a promise that a bride makes to a groom and vise versa. But we have been going to Anand Karaj our whole lives and many still have no idea what is going on during the ceremony. I think what’s so romantic about our laava is that you are not promising to each other in front of god, but you are promising to God as a united soul no longer individuals. Correct me if I'm completely wrong because I'm still in the process of learning the entire thing for myself!

  8. Nicole says:

    For me, I don’t know if the Anand Karaj has lost its meaning in the United States or if it’s that the meaning was never emphasized to begin with in the Sikh immigrant community. I am born and raised in California and can say that I, as well as almost every Sikh I grew up with, were never told the meaning of the words Anand Karaj. I just remember it being the words that were printed on the wedding cards. I think for a lot of people the meaning has not been lost, its always been missing.

    When I was an undergraduate, I went to a wedding where the meaning of each laava was explained to the bride and groom before they got up for that particular laava. This was the first time in my life that I understood what a couple, no longer just an individual, was promising to do before God. It was awesome to see that the gani ji was looking directly at the couple and not dictating but instead talking to the couple about what they are about to step into with marriage. I strongly believe in every wedding it should be required that this explanation is given during the Anand Karaj.

    I also love the idea of “sikh marriage counseling”, where the meaning of the laava could be explained ahead of time so the couple understands what constitutes a Sikh marriage. Since most young Sikhs do not understand what Anand Karaj and laava means, understanding this explanation would help them understand their own history.

    We always see the christians take their vows and we know exactly what “vows” mean, they are a promise that a bride makes to a groom and vise versa. But we have been going to Anand Karaj our whole lives and many still have no idea what is going on during the ceremony. I think whats so romantic about our laava is that you are not promising to each other in front of god, but you are promising to God as a united soul no longer individuals. Correct me if I’m completely wrong because I’m still in the process of learning the entire thing for myself!

  9. Singh says:

    NIcole – i completely agree with you to the extent that part of the problem has to do with there being a lack of explanation, but do you think that our parents' generation (for the most part the immigrant generation) suffered from the same lack of knowledge?

    Does the lack of understanding what the lavaan mean, which is a pretty big deal – you are entering a contract you don't even understand essentially – explain our community's emphasis on after parties instead of the actually wedding ceremony? Even in the West where most guest attend the anand karaj, receptions and after parties are where large sums are actually expended..,no?

    In an earlier comments that I accidentally deleted Camille observed that weddings are celebrations (she was not advocating for partying – but I thought the point was a good one) and Prabhjit Singh pointed that there are many weddings that take place without parties and alcohol (which is implied when I use the word "after party"). Indeed, there are many Sikh weddings that follow the Reht Maryada to the "t" (the link takes you to the Reht Maryada's stance on marriage ceremonies) yet still are able to celebrate. But, how can be reconcile or perhaps "balance" our desire to celebrate with the desire to recognize the purpose of the anand karaj? Must we throw largely secular galas? Should we? Would any of us (the unmarried at least) be willing to take a stand against extravagance, despite social stigma?

  10. Singh says:

    NIcole – i completely agree with you to the extent that part of the problem has to do with there being a lack of explanation, but do you think that our parents’ generation (for the most part the immigrant generation) suffered from the same lack of knowledge?

    Does the lack of understanding what the lavaan mean, which is a pretty big deal – you are entering a contract you don’t even understand essentially – explain our community’s emphasis on after parties instead of the actually wedding ceremony? Even in the West where most guest attend the anand karaj, receptions and after parties are where large sums are actually expended..,no?

    In an earlier comments that I accidentally deleted Camille observed that weddings are celebrations (she was not advocating for partying – but I thought the point was a good one) and Prabhjit Singh pointed that there are many weddings that take place without parties and alcohol (which is implied when I use the word “after party”). Indeed, there are many Sikh weddings that follow the Reht Maryada to the “t” (the link takes you to the Reht Maryada’s stance on marriage ceremonies) yet still are able to celebrate. But, how can be reconcile or perhaps “balance” our desire to celebrate with the desire to recognize the purpose of the anand karaj? Must we throw largely secular galas? Should we? Would any of us (the unmarried at least) be willing to take a stand against extravagance, despite social stigma?

  11. ItsMe says:

    I Pose the question are we against the parties all together or is it the sheer amount of hoopla and money we spend on having a party? As far as the anand karaj goes if our parents aren't aware of what the Lavaan mean shouldn't the gurdwara before booking the wedding provide the bride and groom the info on what it means. In all honesty a majority of people treat the Gurdwara like a church wedding without knowing what is really being said. Its not the after party that takes away from Anand Karaj its the fact we as individuals or even a collective haven't emphasized the significance.

  12. ItsMe says:

    I Pose the question are we against the parties all together or is it the sheer amount of hoopla and money we spend on having a party? As far as the anand karaj goes if our parents aren’t aware of what the Lavaan mean shouldn’t the gurdwara before booking the wedding provide the bride and groom the info on what it means. In all honesty a majority of people treat the Gurdwara like a church wedding without knowing what is really being said. Its not the after party that takes away from Anand Karaj its the fact we as individuals or even a collective haven’t emphasized the significance.

  13. Singh says:

    I suppose we are discussing a little bit of both. I really didn't have a direct point in mind when drafting the post, but did want to hear your thoughts on the extravagance of weddings…that is generally what the article was about. It happens that a lot of the expenditures on weddings are often the non-anand karaj parts of the wedding-the partying.

    I think one important preliminary question is what should a Sikh wedding look like?

    That being said – its not entirely true that an anand karaj itself isn't exactly cheap…Gurdwara Sahibs take "reservation fees" and food, even if it is langar, can costs a lot of money (see the langar article by Sundari)

  14. Singh says:

    I suppose we are discussing a little bit of both. I really didn’t have a direct point in mind when drafting the post, but did want to hear your thoughts on the extravagance of weddings…that is generally what the article was about. It happens that a lot of the expenditures on weddings are often the non-anand karaj parts of the wedding-the partying.

    I think one important preliminary question is what should a Sikh wedding look like?

    That being said – its not entirely true that an anand karaj itself isn’t exactly cheap…Gurdwara Sahibs take “reservation fees” and food, even if it is langar, can costs a lot of money (see the langar article by Sundari)

  15. Reema says:

    Singh

    1- Regarding the disconnect w/ the meaning of the anand karaj, i it's related to the disconnect w/ gurbani generally (due to language barriers, inadequate translations, and a move away from religiosity in general).

    2- regarding extravagant weddings/receptions- There's an interesting study that sheds some light on this…

    It looks at why African American and Hispanic communities spend more $$ than whites on 'visible goods.' Bill Cosby had attributed it to some special African American culture of consumption but this study found that these communities spend more on cars/clothes/jewelry because these are attainable signals of wealth.

    Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey for 1986-2002, they find that blacks and Hispanics indeed spend more than whites with comparable incomes on what the authors classify as "visible goods" (clothes, cars, and jewelry). A lot more, in fact—up to an additional 30 percent. The authors provide evidence, however, that this is not because of some inherent weakness on the part of blacks and Hispanics. The disparity, they suggest, is related to the way that all people—black, Hispanic, and white—strive for social status within their respective communities.

    Economists refer to items that we purchase in order to reveal our prosperity to others as wealth signals. But why use sneakers, as opposed to phonics toys, as a wealth signal? First off, for a signal to be effective, it needs to be easily observed by the people we're trying to impress. This includes not just those near and dear to us, but also the person we pass on the street, who sees our sneakers but would have a harder time inferring how much we're spending teaching our kids to read. For a wealth signal to be credible, it also needs to be hard to imitate—if everyone in your community can afford $150 sneakers, those Zoom Lebron IVs would lose their signal value.

    Though we can't wear a wedding or flash it to a passerby on the street, the amount a family spends on the reception is definitely considered a signal of their social standing (guests take note of where it's held, how many people were invited, and other things that signal how much $ was poured into it). Our weddings are the equivalent of a really nice pair of sneakers :).

    Why does everyone spend exorbitant amounts on the reception? Keeping up w/ the Joneses (to whatever extent possible, if you can afford to play the game).

    Bill Cosby condemned African-Americans for spending more on visible goods and less on education and healthcare w/o really understanding why…

    In his controversial speech, Bill Cosby appealed to the African-American community to start investing in their futures. What's troubling about the message of this study is that Cosby and others may not be battling against a black culture of consumption, but a more deeply seated human pursuit of status. In this sense, Cosby's critics may be right—only when black incomes catch up to white incomes will the apparent black-white gap in spending on visible goods disappear.

    Maybe this explanation doesn't justify the exorbitant amounts we spend on our weddings (and maybe we didn't need this study to figure out why we spend so much) The money would probably be better spent on a house/great honeymoon/kids' college savings…

    But if we understand the reasoning in terms of human nature, maybe when it's our turn, we can talk to parents in terms of underlying motivations instead of "Do we really need these silk napkins?!"

  16. Reema says:

    Singh

    1- Regarding the disconnect w/ the meaning of the anand karaj, i it’s related to the disconnect w/ gurbani generally (due to language barriers, inadequate translations, and a move away from religiosity in general).

    2- regarding extravagant weddings/receptions- There’s an interesting study that sheds some light on this…

    It looks at why African American and Hispanic communities spend more $$ than whites on ‘visible goods.’ Bill Cosby had attributed it to some special African American culture of consumption but this study found that these communities spend more on cars/clothes/jewelry because these are attainable signals of wealth.

    Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey for 1986-2002, they find that blacks and Hispanics indeed spend more than whites with comparable incomes on what the authors classify as “visible goods” (clothes, cars, and jewelry). A lot more, in factup to an additional 30 percent. The authors provide evidence, however, that this is not because of some inherent weakness on the part of blacks and Hispanics. The disparity, they suggest, is related to the way that all peopleblack, Hispanic, and whitestrive for social status within their respective communities.

    Economists refer to items that we purchase in order to reveal our prosperity to others as wealth signals. But why use sneakers, as opposed to phonics toys, as a wealth signal? First off, for a signal to be effective, it needs to be easily observed by the people we’re trying to impress. This includes not just those near and dear to us, but also the person we pass on the street, who sees our sneakers but would have a harder time inferring how much we’re spending teaching our kids to read. For a wealth signal to be credible, it also needs to be hard to imitateif everyone in your community can afford $150 sneakers, those Zoom Lebron IVs would lose their signal value.

    Though we can’t wear a wedding or flash it to a passerby on the street, the amount a family spends on the reception is definitely considered a signal of their social standing (guests take note of where it’s held, how many people were invited, and other things that signal how much $ was poured into it). Our weddings are the equivalent of a really nice pair of sneakers :).

    Why does everyone spend exorbitant amounts on the reception? Keeping up w/ the Joneses (to whatever extent possible, if you can afford to play the game).

    Bill Cosby condemned African-Americans for spending more on visible goods and less on education and healthcare w/o really understanding why…

    In his controversial speech, Bill Cosby appealed to the African-American community to start investing in their futures. What’s troubling about the message of this study is that Cosby and others may not be battling against a black culture of consumption, but a more deeply seated human pursuit of status. In this sense, Cosby’s critics may be rightonly when black incomes catch up to white incomes will the apparent black-white gap in spending on visible goods disappear.

    Maybe this explanation doesn’t justify the exorbitant amounts we spend on our weddings (and maybe we didn’t need this study to figure out why we spend so much) The money would probably be better spent on a house/great honeymoon/kids’ college savings…

    But if we understand the reasoning in terms of human nature, maybe when it’s our turn, we can talk to parents in terms of underlying motivations instead of “Do we really need these silk napkins?!”

  17. Camille says:

    How awesome would it be if part of the ceremony was dedicated to discussing the meaning with the sangat…perhaps during the “sikhia” period (after the anand karaj is completed) when respected figures customarily give advice to the newly-wed couple.

    but do you think that our parents’ generation (for the most part the immigrant generation) suffered from the same lack of knowledge?

    I actually am more in-line with Nicole in that I think it's really important for the couple (and ideally the sangat) to be taught the importance of lavaan before undertaking the Anand Karaj. I mean, ideally this is what gurdwara Sunday schools provide in training, but in the absence of that, the idea of "family" or "marriage" counseling (similar to what is provided by other faiths) could be helpful if it was organized by the sangat (i.e., not by granthis).

    Also, with respect to our parents' generation — I think it varies. My parents certainly knew what lavaan meant, as did my grandparents, but my parents' first cousins were not always so in the know. Their knowledge varied by whether or not someone had ever taken time to explain it to them and by their language familiarity (e.g., cousins who had less knowledge of Punjabi often did not have the same understanding as cousins who did). Among my cousins I'm sure none of them know what they're doing when they get married, but then again, most of them are not really practicing Sikhs.

  18. Camille says:

    How awesome would it be if part of the ceremony was dedicated to discussing the meaning with the sangatperhaps during the sikhia period (after the anand karaj is completed) when respected figures customarily give advice to the newly-wed couple.

    but do you think that our parents generation (for the most part the immigrant generation) suffered from the same lack of knowledge?

    I actually am more in-line with Nicole in that I think it’s really important for the couple (and ideally the sangat) to be taught the importance of lavaan before undertaking the Anand Karaj. I mean, ideally this is what gurdwara Sunday schools provide in training, but in the absence of that, the idea of “family” or “marriage” counseling (similar to what is provided by other faiths) could be helpful if it was organized by the sangat (i.e., not by granthis).

    Also, with respect to our parents’ generation — I think it varies. My parents certainly knew what lavaan meant, as did my grandparents, but my parents’ first cousins were not always so in the know. Their knowledge varied by whether or not someone had ever taken time to explain it to them and by their language familiarity (e.g., cousins who had less knowledge of Punjabi often did not have the same understanding as cousins who did). Among my cousins I’m sure none of them know what they’re doing when they get married, but then again, most of them are not really practicing Sikhs.

  19. JeSuisDot says:

    The responsibility of knowing what anand karaj is is that of the couple. If a couple doesn't care about that the ceremony means then they should find one that resonates for them. I understand that with arranged marriages etc this may not be the case and I agree that a definition of the anand karaj should be incorporated into the Sikh Marriage Ceremony. I strongly feel that we cannot expect the people around us to provide definitions of what anand karaj is – we have to go seek it out.

    I agree with reema of weddings becoming status symbols. I have also see the same affect in simple weddings though. People comparing, or trying to outshine their peers with the simplest wedding, the most religious wedding, the wedding with the most sarbloh, the wedding with the best keeraniya, etc etc. These also become status symbols but there isn't necessarily a dollar value associated with them. One may argue that at least they are trying to outdo others with simplicity and are focusing on the gurdwara setting, but for me its less about the action and more about the intent.

    apologies for going off on a tangent.

  20. JeSuisDot says:

    The responsibility of knowing what anand karaj is is that of the couple. If a couple doesn’t care about that the ceremony means then they should find one that resonates for them. I understand that with arranged marriages etc this may not be the case and I agree that a definition of the anand karaj should be incorporated into the Sikh Marriage Ceremony. I strongly feel that we cannot expect the people around us to provide definitions of what anand karaj is – we have to go seek it out.

    I agree with reema of weddings becoming status symbols. I have also see the same affect in simple weddings though. People comparing, or trying to outshine their peers with the simplest wedding, the most religious wedding, the wedding with the most sarbloh, the wedding with the best keeraniya, etc etc. These also become status symbols but there isn’t necessarily a dollar value associated with them. One may argue that at least they are trying to outdo others with simplicity and are focusing on the gurdwara setting, but for me its less about the action and more about the intent.

    apologies for going off on a tangent.

  21. Singh says:

    Counseling vs. Explaining at the Anand Karaj

    I think that Nicole's suggestion of counseling is a good one and didnt mean to discount it. I think in addition to anything that currently takes place we should have an explanation to make the ceremony more meaningful for the whole sangat. I think having counseling before hand is an excellent idea. I have heard of Sikh retreats that focus on marriage – I have no idea what they discuss – but I think that if we as a community can organize retreats, certainly sangats from all around can create some sort of a template for pre-marital counseling outlining marriage from the Sikh perspective.

    Status Symbol

    Reema brings up an interesting study – I had not thought about it like that, but I tend to be convinced that no matter how conservative or liberal a Sikh wedding ends up being, there is a certain pride involved in trying to make it the "nicest" such event – often (but not always) manifested through the amount spent. But is this a bad thing? I mean, weddings are celebrations – it just happens that each individual (usually) only has one in their lifetime…so is there a balance to be reached?

    I ask again – what should a Sikh wedding be? And does it matter what else we do on top of that? Is there a line of demarkation that makes a wedding less Sikh? This last question is part of what prompted my post…

    p.s. JeSuisDot – I dont think you are off topic :)

  22. Singh says:

    Counseling vs. Explaining at the Anand Karaj
    I think that Nicole’s suggestion of counseling is a good one and didnt mean to discount it. I think in addition to anything that currently takes place we should have an explanation to make the ceremony more meaningful for the whole sangat. I think having counseling before hand is an excellent idea. I have heard of Sikh retreats that focus on marriage – I have no idea what they discuss – but I think that if we as a community can organize retreats, certainly sangats from all around can create some sort of a template for pre-marital counseling outlining marriage from the Sikh perspective.

    Status Symbol
    Reema brings up an interesting study – I had not thought about it like that, but I tend to be convinced that no matter how conservative or liberal a Sikh wedding ends up being, there is a certain pride involved in trying to make it the “nicest” such event – often (but not always) manifested through the amount spent. But is this a bad thing? I mean, weddings are celebrations – it just happens that each individual (usually) only has one in their lifetime…so is there a balance to be reached?

    I ask again – what should a Sikh wedding be? And does it matter what else we do on top of that? Is there a line of demarkation that makes a wedding less Sikh? This last question is part of what prompted my post…

    p.s. JeSuisDot – I dont think you are off topic :)

  23. […] The following is an interesting link that appears to be a forum discussion on Anand Karaj. The Langar Hall Blog Archive Has the Anand Karaj Lost its Significance to the Afterparty? __________________ sc KMif vsY inrMkwru….inrMkwru……..inrMkwru […]

  24. Phulkari says:

    Singh,

    I find your question to be at heart of the matter because it’s asking us to look beyond the Anand Karaj as an isolated event "where two souls become one" with the grand center-pieces in the background, but a reflection of what we want our marriages to represent for ourselves and our community:

    But, how can be reconcile or perhaps “balance” our desire to celebrate with the desire to recognize the purpose of the anand karaj?

    To go back to Camille's comment … it should be a celebration. The more extravagant weddings become the more the focus of celebration becomes the material splendor of the marriage rather than the couple and their commitment to each other that was made during the Anand Karaj. Sometimes at very grand "da club" like receptions, I feel like we are celebrating how great the extravagant center pieces are along with smoke and lights on the dance floor, rather than the life-long commitment the couple just made and how they want their guests to share in the celebration. I am assuming the reasoning for the simplicity and spiritual focus of weddings as mentioned in the Rehat Maryada is to bring the focus back to the couple, their commitment to each other and their community, rather than the grand material splendor. And I repeat "know" because consumption has grown beyond measure to extravagant cars, clothing, and jewelry. In the past there was still "daj" (I am not trying to justify its existence, but rather relate it to the issue of consumption size) and other marriage costs, but they were not in the "lakhs" on cars, jewelry, and clothes. For some their pockets have grown and so have their desires (even expectations for those whose pockets have not grown). I had recently read somewhere (sorry I don't have the link) that marriages are more expensive today than they were during our parents’ generation.

    In the current state of the growing costs of marriages influencing dowry deaths and female feticide, we are seeing that money is at the heart of the matter. If we moved away from money being the focus to the couple and their personal commitment to each other and their community, it is possible we would see a decrease in the aforementioned social issues? I think so.

  25. Phulkari says:

    Singh,

    I find your question to be at heart of the matter because its asking us to look beyond the Anand Karaj as an isolated event “where two souls become one” with the grand center-pieces in the background, but a reflection of what we want our marriages to represent for ourselves and our community:

    But, how can be reconcile or perhaps balance our desire to celebrate with the desire to recognize the purpose of the anand karaj?

    To go back to Camille’s comment … it should be a celebration. The more extravagant weddings become the more the focus of celebration becomes the material splendor of the marriage rather than the couple and their commitment to each other that was made during the Anand Karaj. Sometimes at very grand “da club” like receptions, I feel like we are celebrating how great the extravagant center pieces are along with smoke and lights on the dance floor, rather than the life-long commitment the couple just made and how they want their guests to share in the celebration. I am assuming the reasoning for the simplicity and spiritual focus of weddings as mentioned in the Rehat Maryada is to bring the focus back to the couple, their commitment to each other and their community, rather than the grand material splendor. And I repeat “know” because consumption has grown beyond measure to extravagant cars, clothing, and jewelry. In the past there was still “daj” (I am not trying to justify its existence, but rather relate it to the issue of consumption size) and other marriage costs, but they were not in the “lakhs” on cars, jewelry, and clothes. For some their pockets have grown and so have their desires (even expectations for those whose pockets have not grown). I had recently read somewhere (sorry I don’t have the link) that marriages are more expensive today than they were during our parents generation.

    In the current state of the growing costs of marriages influencing dowry deaths and female feticide, we are seeing that money is at the heart of the matter. If we moved away from money being the focus to the couple and their personal commitment to each other and their community, it is possible we would see a decrease in the aforementioned social issues? I think so.

  26. […] discussed before whether and how the Anand Karaj has lost its meaning to the afterparty. In cases where attention is entirely or even mostly on the materialistic aspects of the wedding, […]

  27. […] is salient, and we’ve talked a bit about “>keeping up with the Johals” earlier this year. This is, of course, also fundamentally at odds with most interpretations […]