Why Does The Society Have To Tell Us How Punjabi Brides Should Be?

Dear society, Punjabi brides don't have to listen to you.

Jul 16, 2021 13:33 IST
Just like any other Indian bride, there is a lot Punjabi brides go through before, during and after their wedding. It is no secret that just as much fun Indian weddings look, they are the hub of sexist and regressive rituals.

Women are asked to look at (and treat) their husbands as "gods" and treat them as superiors. These ceremonies perpetuate the stereotypes that oppress women. Now that we are talking about equality between sexes, shouldn't we try to get rid of these rituals?

What will it take for society to have inclusive customs that give equal rights to both the bride and the groom? It is because of the so called traditions that women have to hold themselves back from exploring life after marriage. They should not have to give up their individuality and independence on getting married.

Why the Chooda ceremony for Punjabi brides?


As a pre wedding ritual, a Punjabi bride's maternal uncle gifts her a set of bangles which she is made to wear as the symbol of a "newly married" bride. She can remove it after 40-45 days. Earlier, brides were supposed to wear the bangles till their first anniversary or till they got pregnant. Why is it always the bride who has to bear the onus of "appearing to be married"?

Moreover, ceremonies like these "classify" Punjabi brides as mere wives and mothers. It is almost seen as her "duty" to bear children after marriage. What if she does not want children? We have normalised having children after marriage to such an extent that we find it convenient to disregard women's consent and choice in the matter. Women who choose to remain childless are judged and deemed as "faulty".

Is the Kalide ritual necessary?


This is followed by Kalide ceremony where the brides' sisters tie red coloured umbrella shaped figures called kalide to their bangles. These signify fertility and a happy conjugal life. The coconut-shape signifies prosperity at the home of the newly wed couple. The ceremony does not end here. The bride shakes kalide encrusted with dried betel nuts, fruits or coconut over the head of an unmarried girl. It is believed that if a part of the kalide, nut or leaf falls on her head, she would get married next.

We are once again reminded how important "fertility" is for women. Moreover, the responsibility to keep the family happy and prosperous is always bestowed on the bride. Why can't it be divided equally? It must also be seen that Indians think of marriage as an 'achievement' in a woman's life. So they look for all possible ways and means to just get them married off whether they like it or not.

I don't remember hearing about any ritual in a community that predicts the marriage of a man. Perhaps this is because it is not seen as a necessity in his life. They can choose to remain unmarried and the society will remain aloof. But survival isn't easy for an unmarried woman. No one is going to spare her from disrespectful taunts if she decides to remain single.


Kudos to the Punjabi brides breaking stereotypes

In 2017, a Punjabi bride chose to wear shorts instead of a heavy lehenga signifying freedom. Her picture walking hand in hand with her husband took the internet by storm back then.

bride wearing shorts


In another instance, a Punjabi bride ditched the laal dulhan ka joda and went for a blue coloured attire, again smashing the age-old custom of compulsorily wearing red on the day of wedding. We are eagerly waiting to see more and more new age brides break stereotypes and embrace marriage as an event that brings happiness and not a form of slavery.

Views expressed are author's own


##weddings #Punjabi brides