Groom at Sikh wedding participates in ceremonial parade outside the held at Rutland temple with the horse being led by its owner Lisa Broughton. Image Credit: Barry Gerding/Black Press

Sikh wedding tradition celebrated

Symbolic horse ride carried out at Kelowna temple

The groom riding a dashing white charger showcased the traditional Sikh wedding festivities that played out Friday morning in the Rutland temple parking lot.

The horse, a PRE Andalusian mare from Godiva Horse Rentals, was prepped for her wedding duties by owner Lisa Broughton, of Kelowna, and her assistant Georgia Sweet, 14.

Broughton said her horse, named Philia, a Greek name for a Spanish equine, underwent several hours of primping and pampering on Thursday in preparation for the event, from sanding and polishing her hoofs to a body wash and mane and tail hair trim.

For the ceremony, Philia was also decked out in a Baraat (wedding party) ceremonial Sikh costume for horses.

Broughton led the horse in a short stroll with the groom in the saddle as the wedding guests cheered and danced to music.

Parni Gupta, a guest for the wedding from Detroit, said the week-long Sikh marriage festivities in North America remain faithful to her native homeland, with some western culture additions such as the wedding parties for the bride and groom, and the flower girl.

In their native homeland, Sikh marriages are typically a three-day affair which begins begins with the Braat (groom’s family and friends) setting off for the bride’s house in the evening.

They are received, entertained and hosted by the girl’s family and spend the night at her house.

The following day, the ceremony takes place at the local Gurdwaras or at the girl’s home.

Following the religious ceremony, song and dance festivities continue the rest of the day with the groom and his family departing with the bride the following day.

In the west, because of time constraints the weddings are usually a one or two day affair, as either the wedding occurs in the morning followed by a dinner and dance banquet in a hall or hotel at night, or the religious ceremony takes place on consecutive nights.

Riding the horse is a Sikh marriage ceremony tradition meant to be the embodiment of freedom and the pinnacle of manhood for the groom.