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Why Does A Sikh Groom Arrive At His Wedding On A Horse?
Sikhing Answers - XX




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Why does a Sikh groom arrive at his own wedding on a horse?

What is the meaning and purpose behind this tradition and custom?

What are its origins? 

Posted on April 17, 2012

Closing Date: April 24, 2012


Conversation about this article

1: Tanveer (United Kingdom), April 17, 2012, 11:54 AM.

I don't really know any answers or done much research. But going back over a 100 years, they had no classy means of transport. For someone to own a horse, these days still gives them high social status, and I would assume it was the same back then as well.

2: Gurpreet Singh (Jammu, J ammu & Kashmir), April 17, 2012, 12:05 PM.

Because the horse is the embodiment of freedom and highest expression of manliness, to not being a slave to anything! When you ride a horse, it shows you are a free man and thus you are at the pinnacle of manhood!

3: Upender Singh (India), April 17, 2012, 1:19 PM.

I don't know much about this issue, but I do know that it has nothing to do with religion or our Gurus. It is cultural.

4: Jasmine Kaur (Mombasa, Kenya), April 17, 2012, 2:11 PM.

A Sikh groom arrives on a horse for a number of reasons. It started when the road network was not good and when a wedding party (baraat) would set out to leave for the bride's town/ village, miles away. The groom was seated on a horse to prevent him from getting fatigued, also because it was his special day; he should have a relaxed time. The most important reason was to identify the groom, since lack of photographs and fancy clothes did not make him stand out. I think it's not just tradition. It makes sense because it lets all know who the groom is, from a mile away.

5: Amardeep (India), April 17, 2012, 2:55 PM.

The cost of petrol as well as pollution is rising by leaps and bounds, so its economical and eco-friendly. Other reason could be that gals always dream of a fairy tale life where they expect the groom to come on a white horse as a prince and take her away. Thus it gives the guy his first taste of expectations to be fulfilled later in the relationship ...

6: Sandeep Singh Brar (Canada), April 17, 2012, 4:29 PM.

The importance of horses among the Sikhs goes back to the time of the Gurus and the Khalsa Army. Part of the process in having a largely peasant and agrarian society ready to mobilize for warfare at a minute's notice was to ensure that as many Sikhs as possible owned a horse. This custom of horse ownership continued into the early parts of the 20th century. My 92-year old grandmother tells me that when she was married, her father gave a horse as a gift to my grandfather as a wedding gift (even though my grandfather was no longer a farmer). My grandmother also tells me that her father served in the cavalry in France in WWI. A good example of the familiarity with riding horses that Sikhs maintained. Looking at old paintings you always see Guru Gobind Singh depicted on a horse, rather than an elephant like the Maharajas. Maharaja Ranjit Singh also had a tremendous love of horses and right up to his death regularly spent a few hours riding every day. How important is a horse? Funny story from a few years ago when a new Akal Takht Jathedar who was a scholar was appointed. I remember the criticism that was leveled against him: "How can he be a Jathedar, he does not even know how to ride a horse." Although for many of us today that close affiliation with horses may be a distant cultural memory, it's still nice to see that special relationship revived when possible, such as at a Sikh wedding where the groom arrives on a horse.

7: Ranbir Singh Sandhu (U.S.A.), April 17, 2012, 8:12 PM.

As an avid horse rider myself, being a horseman was a big part of being a Sikh. When the term "saint-soldier" is used for a Sikh, the soldier part consists of being that warrior who was in horseback. Not only was horse riding a necessity to being a good soldier but it is a majestic symbol of the Sikhs and the Khalsa Panth. Being a horseman is a part of showing that one is ready to fulfill his or her duty in the most royal and majestic way possible. I look forward to riding my horse on my wedding day and putting my bride on the horse with me.

8: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), April 17, 2012, 10:58 PM.

It is cultural. In pre-Industrial Revolution times, horses were like the cars of today! The custom harks back to those days.

9: Parminder Kaur (Pune, India), April 19, 2012, 3:04 AM.

Firstly, it s a ghorrhi (mare). Arriving for his wedding it means ready to take responsibility of the woman to whom he is going to get married. It also denotes that he is capable of provide security and protection to his bride and family to be.

10: Artika Bakshi (Sri Lanka), April 19, 2012, 5:39 AM.

I too feel it is cultural and had been prevalant in Punjab before the birth of Sikhism. It does signify stature and authority! But he must also get down for the ceremony!

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