Chair for Sikh wedding couple causes stir

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The Anand Karaj at Halton, Oakville, caught attention due to the presence of the chair for the couple
By Asia Samachar Team | CANADA |

Wedding planners and a gurdwara committee caught napping may have led to a Sikh wedding in Oakville, Canada, that has caused a stir within the wider Sikh community.

In a video clip that went viral, a couple could be seen doing the Anand Karaj lavan, the circumambulation around the Guru Granth Sahib in a Sikh wedding, and then sitting on a chair. Usually, the couple sits on the floor, along with the rest of the congregation.

In a statement, Halton Sikh Cultural Association (HSCA) said its management deeply regretted the ‘untraditional’ marriage ceremony and was investigating the matter.

“Unfortunately, it seems the wedding planners have acted on their own without any permission from the management,” according to the letter signed by HSCA president Balbir Singh Chohan and general secretary Amrik Singh Deol.

HSCA manages the gurdwara where incident took place on 4 July 2019.

When contacted by Asia Samachar yesterday, a Halton gurdwara staff confirmed that the association had issued the letter.

“We are really sorry for the incident. Our officials are at this moment in a meeting with the Ontario Sikh council on the same subject,” he said.

However, Asia Samachar could not confirm if the either or both of the couple had any medical issues prior to the wedding ceremony that may have warranted the wedding planners to request for the low chair.

If they do not have valid medical condition, then they should have observed the usual practice as prescribed in the Sikh Reht Maryada (SRM), or the Sikh code of conduct. That was the general response from many readers when Asia Samachar shared the video clip on Friday (5 July).

Chairs and raised platforms are now becoming more common in gurdwaras to accommodate the elderly and those with medical issues. They are usually placed at the corners of the prayer hall called darbar sahib.

However, very few Sikhs would have seen chairs decked out for a wedding couple for the lavan ceremomy.

In an interesting reader interaction at the Asia Samachar Facebook page, a reader asked how would the Anand Karaj be handled if one of the couple was wheelchair-bound?

In response, another reader shared what she observed from a wedding video some years ago. They skipped the circumambulation. Both couple sat through the reading and the singing of the lavan shabads.

 

THE LETTER FROM THE HALTON GURDWARA

Halton Sikh Cultural Association, 2403 Khalsa Gate, Oakville, Ontario, Canada, L6M 4J2

5 July 2019 |Press Release

Guru Piaree Sadh Sangat Ji.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

The management of Halton Sikh Cultural Association deeply regrets the untraditional marriage ceremony of yesterday at Halton Sikh Cultural Association (Gurudwara Sahib Ji), which has caused much pains, hurts and sadness among the Sikhs Sadh Sangat. The management will investigate every aspects of the ceremony and inform the Sikh Sadh Sangat what has caused this incident.

Unfortunately, it seems the wedding planners have acted on their own without any permission from the management.

The Halton Sikh Cultural Association (Gurudwara Sahib Ji) have always followed the Guru Rehat Maryada of Shree Akal Takhat Sahib Ji. The management of Halton Sikh Cultural Association sincerely apologize and ask for forgiveness from Shree Guru Nanak Nam Leva Sadh Sangat Ji.

In future, we will certainly use extreme alertness and monitor every activity in order to avoid any such incident.

Yours Sincerely,

(Signed)

Balbir Singh Chohan, President and Amrik Singh Deol, General Secretary

 

RELATED STORY:

Wedding Movie? Or recording a sacred ceremony? (Asia Samachar, 9 July 2019)

 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. @Sukh Kaloe-Grewal

    I don’t know what kind of sikhi camps you attended but you should really ask for your money back. But anyway, If you are old or handicapped than sure it’s understandable that you can’t sit crisscross in the hajuri of guru granth sahib ji. And there are small benches located ALL THE WAY BACK. And it’s not only about guru Ji being at the elevated level it also about every race gender caste etc sitting on the FLOOR to show that we are all equal in gurudwara sahib. Our gurus started this maryada and no one has the authority to change it. You mentioned that the couple could be handicapped. Sure ok, but there are other ways to handle that too that doesn’t disrespect the guru. My cousin was handicapped he had a hip surgery so couldn’t sit he was allowed to stand with his wife instead of sitting down, I’ve also seen people standing behind their handicapped relatives to help them stand and for support during weddings. Our gurus sacrificed all their families and we can’t stand or find a better solution? The guy and the girl are walking without any disability but I’ll still give them benefit of the doubt and say they could have just stood or had people people hold them for support. You mentioned leaving the judgement to god. So by your logic anybody can disrespect our religion our guru but we shouldn’t do anything for gurus honor because don’t worry God will judge you. World doesn’t work that way. You do the crime you do the time. I’m a youth myself, Born and raised in USA. So people who talk about respecting and keeping the honor of our guru extremist? I seriously think you need to think before you say anything. Or you could have a personal problem with sikhism. Btw I’ve seen many young Sikh men and women coming back to sikhi and taking Amrit, who were born and raised in the western world. For example me. You said that you continue to distance yourself from the gurudwara. Go ahead. Listen buddy the guru doesn’t need you, you need the guru. I can guarantee you that guru Ji will survive without you. So don’t worry distance yourself. But there is hope for you because at the end you talked about involving the young generation in gurdwaras. Which I totally agree. Remember no one cares if you distance your self from gurudwara. You me us we are nothing, guru granth sahib ji is everything.

  2. From what I was taught at Gurmat Camp about Sikhi, as long as Guru Granth Sahib Ji is sitting at the most elevated level of the Gurudwara, sitting in a chair is not a problem. Is this not why we allow our elderly and disabled to sit on benches and chairs while they listen to Paath?
    Before you are quick to get angry and judgement, how do you know these two people do not have disabilities which prevent them from sitting on the floor? Even if he has no disability, what is the big deal? It doesn’t follow tradition/customs in the Sikh faith?

    Please don’t make a big issue out of this and stop judging people. Leave the judgement for GOD.

    I say this as the youth, such as myself, continue to distance ourselves from the Gurudwara because of extremists trying to control the narrative of what and how the appropriate way to worship is. Get younger people back into the Gurudwara. Invovle them within the committees. This saddens me because there are far more corrupt things that take place in gurudwaras which our community chooses to stay silent on.

    Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

  3. My thanks for the quick response and apology of the relevant Gurdwara Management Committee in Canada. Trust there will not be any further adverse comments on this subject.
    As regards usage of wheel chair there should not be any objection from anyone if one or even both the persons were using them due to medical/physical reasons. In case both are blind then the couple should even be allowed to have others to accompany them during the lavaan.
    Another problem is the photographers and video makers who walk around without regard to any respect fo Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji or the sanggat ,
    In some cases and the brothers/cousins/ etc who stand around may also be in line with an old custom in the villages in the past when the objective may have been to prevent the last minute running away of the groom who may have been forced by parents to get married.
    Other old customs which need to be dispensed with may the rumalas/siropaos/ghee and blankets on deceased/etc all of which may be waste of funds as it may be better to offer cash to Gurdwara or donate to some needy person as GAREEB DA MUH GURU DI GOLAK.
    Just some views for consideration with no offense to anyone.
    Gur Fateh

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