What is an Indian Ladies’ Sangeet?

March 6, 2013 | CELEBRATIONS | By Heidi Gill

Photo courtesy of Heidi Gill

This post is part of our “Adopt a Culture” series where bloggers tell us about customs they have adopted from a culture other than their own.

Coming from two very different backgrounds and cultures, my husband who is Punjabi (East Indian) and I (Caucasian) instantly had a lot to learn about each other’s culture and family traditions. After fifteen years of insight, we have truly created a strong foundation for our children to learn about both cultures and experience so many neat traditions from both families.

IMG 6609 e1362587861770 What is an Indian Ladies’ Sangeet?

One of mine and my daughter’s favorite traditions in the Sikh culture is called a Sangeet. This photo shows the two of us together with my niece. In the Sikh culture, prior to an upcoming wedding – which can be one day or many days there is a Sangeet function hosted by the bride’s family. A few close members of the groom’s family are also invited. If you are on the guest list for the Sangeet, a card will be inserted in your formal wedding invitation (that is typically hand delivered). This occasion is the Indian version of an American bridal shower, minus the gift registry. Generally monetary gifts are given to the bride. Common gift amounts include $21, $51 or $101. A $1 amount is often added to all round numbers for “good” luck.

Bright colors are commonly worn by all of the ladies in attendance. Some of the outfits may include a Sari, an unstitched cloth that is wrapped around the body and draped over the shoulders. A lehenga with a choli is also worn by many ladies. A lehenga is a form of long skirt which is pleated. It is usually embroidered or has a thick border at the bottom. A choli is a blouse shell garment, which is cut to fit to the body and has short sleeves and a low neck. No matter what outfit is chosen, there is always matching bracelets and a jewelry set (that includes a necklace and earrings) that accompanies it.

Like the majority of Indian functions, you arrive and are instantly greeted by the bride’s immediate family. You drink Indian Tea (chah) and enjoy various fresh and fried appetizers.

The bride’s family begins the Sangeet by singing traditional songs about getting married, while clapping and dancing in a circle. Sometimes one person will sing or there will be many singing at once. The bride’s family will also play the dholki (an Indian drum) and dance to the beat while singing songs that tease the groom’s family. The women will pass around a Jago (a sequenced round holder that usually has lit candles or lights inside). These days people hire professional DJs and have a dance party (after the singing by the ladies) and serve a catered Indian dinner. This event can last several hours!

If you have never been to a Ladies’ Sangeet you are missing out! It is a very entertaining time of good food, singing and dancing.

You can read more about this tradition on Wikipedia.

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2 responses to “What is an Indian Ladies’ Sangeet?”

  1. manish says:

    This is best Ladies song and best nice jewelry dresses.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Hi! Thank you for such a lovely post–very informative and such lovely pictures. I did have a quick question, though. I’ve been invited to my first Ladies’ Sangeet for a friend from high school. I’m a white woman with no ties to the Sikh community aside from her; should I still wear traditional dress? I plan to wear a saree to the actual wedding ceremony and reception, but I don’t really have any guidance as for the sangeet.

    Thanks so much!

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