Song and Dance In Northern Indian Weddings

For Indians, it is hard to imagine any wedding without the traditional gaana bajaana, or song and dance. Wherever there is information about Indian matrimony, there are endless elaborate descriptions about the customs and traditions of song and dance celebrated with such happy abandon in a traditional Indian marriage.

If you delve deeper into the customs and traditions mentioned on any matrimonial match-making sites that prevail in India, or simply talk to an Indian family preparing for the wedding of their son or daughter, you will quickly realize exactly how important the ganna bajaana is.

Wedding songs have been an inseparable part of Indian weddings since the tradition of marriage began to be celebrated and there are a plethora of songs for different wedding ceremonies. Indian weddings are known to have many sub-rituals and ceremonies that include different songs and dances such as sagai (engagement), sangeet (singing ceremony involving females), and mehndi (henna on the hands).


Punjabis are known for their loud and proud nature, and this reflects in their matrimonial traditions as well. A Punjabi wedding begins and ends with loud, rhytimic songs and the dances that go along with them.

A jago ceremony, for instance, happens the night before the wedding. A pot decorated with earthen lamps, diyas or candles is carried on the head by the sisters-in-law of the groom while singing joyful songs. This is a modern tradition adapted from ancient times when the only wedding invitations were given by word of mouth. The would walk throughout the village, pronouncing a wedding would happen soon because they didn’t have fancy invitation cards to send out.


Similarly, Kashmiris have a ceremony called wanwun in which song and dance sessions happen at the bride and groom’s house. In this tradition, girls sing and dance simultaneously without the assistance of any musical instruments. During wanwun, the young women stand in a row, taking one step forward and back while singing and swaying to the song.

Himachal Pradesh

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