Sikh Weddings should be simple , not indulged in brahmanwad Practises like the maiyaa'n ceremony, throwing rice over the head, the red cloth held over the bride/groom, even things like tika ceremony, mother placing her flour print hands on the wall, mama carrying the bride/groom after mayaa, the sehra worn and sometimes ure forced to remove not only the sehra but other markings on the turban be...fore the wedding, what is punjabi culture, hindu influence, sikh requirement, is cultural practises acceptable at a sikh wedding? Then the extravagance sangeet, hotel, booze, dinner, suits, gold,,,, etc... irreversible acceptable cultural requirement? where is the line drawn between culture and religion and if such a line can or should be drawn? Gurmukho,This was a comment on one of the facebook pages that made me think and ask, what really is a SIKH wedding.As I do not see SIKH weddings anymore.... Getting on with the subject, I have now realised it is rather a deeper issue than when I first thought abt it this morning.It would require more space than here to expose the deliberate non sikh practices during marriages.However, I will make a start that will show how despite our Sikh identity we remain often confused between Punjabi culture and Sikh [religious] culture. May I point out that perhaps there appears a confusion in the title-TRADITION OR RITUAL.MOST of the practices we are talking about in Sikh weddings are traditional rituals!A tradition justified based upon Sikh Code is totally another subject.It cannot be a ritual.A ritual does not have to be traditional.It could have started dekho dekhi..and yesterday! A Sr Jespal Singh ji from California, interjected with a two identity theory, which I find rather baffling.If we follow his line of thought someone may say we have a dozen identities - if we consider our social, educational, financial,professional, academic etc identities.However, I shall refrain from going any further into these multi identity theories; as they are not relevant to the issue at discussion- which is anand KARAJ wedding- free from ritual etc.and is solely a Sikh practice. To understand the back ground of the rituals, we need to understand the history/demographics of the Punjab and inter communal links within the Punjabi religion based communities. Punjab is the only country that has one language and yet divided on the issue of language and its alpahabet three ways.Likewise it is divided on it's culture.It has A Punjabi culture, but this is then divided into Muslim Punjabi culture, Hindu Punjabi and Sikh Punjabi culture.So there are four separate entities of Punjabi culture. The Sikh Punjabi culture is again dividied into that has come from the dominant hindu origins.This is followed by culture that has crept into Sikhism from the muslim dominated regions, esspecially around the NWFP and the Patohaar region and other regions of the muslim dominated western Punjab. The three main practices that have crept into the Sikh Punjabi culture from islamic region of Punjab are the Veil[ghundd]that women take , some even to this day.The second is the wearing of the salwaar kameez that can be seen among the Patohaari and other western Punjabi male Sikhs esspecially those from Dera Ismail Khan and the western Punjab regions.Lastly, but certainly not the least is the artitecture of the Sikh Gurduaras- heavily influenced from the islamic artitecture-the gobinds are not Sikh in origin.Apart from these three aspects very little else otherwise was taken or accepted into Sikhism. The Hindu Punjabi culture on the other hand has made big inroads and also fermented and flourished strongly from within the Sikhs themselves , because the greater majority of converts to Sikh religion came from hindu backgrounds;where often one or two members of the family had converted to Sikhism, and continued to remain in touch and interact with their relatives who remained hindus,thus creating an environment that continued to excercise what was mostly their past practices.According to historical records 75% of the Sikhs came from hindu background and 25% from Muslim background.To this must be added the large number of hindu females married into Sikh households, but whose relatives continued to be hindus.Interactions between the newly converted Sikhs [in many instances no formal initiation into Sikh faith ever took place at all] and Hindus continued closely socially,spiritually and culturally often influenced by the fear of the invaders religion islam; and thus developed among the minority Sikhs,practices which had no legal basis from Sikh viewpoint, nor were challenged by Sikhs who knew they were wrong. Added to this one must understand, Sikhs were not in control of their Gurduaras from about 1715 to about 1920s.The Gurduaras were run by Nirmalla sadhs , who leaned towards idol worship and hinduism.Even many Sikh scholars were the product of vedic centres like Haridwar and Kaashi and returned to Guru Ki Kashi at Talwandi Sabo to "teach" about Sikhism which was mainly confined to reciting and understanding Guru Granth sahib and little attention was paid to the creeping hindu "boa constrictor", which was tightening its hold over Sikhs, esspecially through ritualistic practices. Bhai Kahan Singh was the first Sikh scholar that raised his voice against this encroachment of hinduism.His book HUM HINDU NAHI is a timely reminder to the Sikhs even to this day.But being a mainly peasant community and led by Sikhs who often leaned towards hinduism and sharing many similarities with hindus, did not see the pitfalls of small unsikh practices here and there.In this period movements like Singh sabha, and Gurduara Sudhar Lehar[Gurduara Refomist Movement ] emerged to halt the onslaught of the more fanatical hindu groups like arya samaj. Later on the instigation of Arya Samaj, a Sikh group orientated towards hinduism, called Nirankaris emerged who preached Sikhism from Guru Granth sahib initially,but practiced hindu rituals came about confusing the next generations of Sikhs!Now they have abandonned the Guru Granth sahib and appointed a human guruship! However the practice of rituals at Sikh weddings does not start here but it begins much earlier-Nanak Satguru tina milaya jihan dhurre payaa sanjog,tells us the oldest and one of the closet relationship that develops between a female and male.Begining with the advent of the Sikh faith, new thinking developed among its follows based upon the teachings of Guru Nanak Ji.In a way Guru Nanak Ji revolted against the established practice of the Hindu faith.He rejected the janeuu!It is clear that in retalition the hindu religion never accepted the Sikh faith as an independent religion.It has since awaited every opportunity to derail Sikhi and continues to eradicate through any means possible the identity and autonomy of the sikh religion.This has been seen through politics, socially and it became more aggressive lawfully through the denial of the Sikh identity in the constitution, after the so called independence.These non Sikh ritualistic practices should be seen in this context, a subtle conspiracy to wipe out the Sikh identity and absorp it within the greater Hindu Kaal.This why it is more important for us to understand why such practices should be dropped and why we should clearly not practice such rituals and throw them out and adopt the simpler Anand Karaj ceremony. As said at the begining this article had got longer, thus it will be necessary to write it separately and conclude it properly with the historical back ground.Anyone wishing to swing boomrangs, that is okay as long as they do it academically, with facts rather than waffle with some qoute from here and there for the sake of it or just simply because they have witnessed it.Witnessing anything in Sikhism today is no justicfication that it is certainly condoned in the Gurbani or proper Sikh religion based upon rehatnamas , Gurbani or historical precedents in Sikh practice.