Importance of Chooda & Kalire in Punjabi weddings

Punjabi wedding rituals chooda and kalire
Punjabi wedding rituals chooda and kalire

Wedding is one of the best moments in your life. A wedding has its many traditions and customs and in Punjabi’s one such tradition is the chooda and kalire function on the day of the wedding. The chooda is an auspicious event and held especially for the bride-to-be.

Both these ceremonies are held in the morning of the wedding day at the bride’s place. Here’s what the chooda and kalire functions are:

What is a Chooda?

Chooda means a set if bangles, for a new bride chooda implies being newly married. A  chooda traditionally means a set of 21 bangles in red and white. Earlier chooda was made with haathi daant (elephant tusks) but now they are made from plastic.

  • Chooda is said to bring good luck for the newlyweds. Also, red is a very important colour for a married woman in India as it strengthens the bond between a couple. Fertility and prosperity are also associated with the chooda, and it is worn for a minimum period of 40 days and maximum for 1.5 years after the wedding.
  • Now days brides can select colours like pink, maroon, orange, white to match their chooda to their bridal outfit.
  • The number of bangles has now been replaced by sets, so you can opt for a single, double or triple set. The designs traditionally had red dots on the white bangles but now flashy rhinestones and swaroski are also used. Also glass shaped chooda is availavle which tapoers on the wrist and becomes lose as it goes up.
  • The chooda ceremony: The chooda is brought by the girl’s maternal family or her mama (maternal uncle).
  • In the ceremony a priest recites holy chants and washes or purifies the chooda with a mixture of milk and water.
  • The chooda is put on a bride’s wrist by the mama. A bride is not allowed to see her chooda and sits with her eyes clothes. They say if you see your chooda before the wedding it is inauspicious. So after the chooda is put, it is covered with a cloth.
  • After the chooda a holy thread called the gana is tied by the family members. This helps ward off evil spirits and is opened by the husband after the wedding ceremonies are over.

The beautiful Kalire

Kalire are umbrella shaped hangings which were earlier made of silver or dry coconut and makhana that are encrusted with dried beetle nuts and dry fruits. But now the modern kaliras are made of metal and studded with rhinestones.

  • The kalire are tied to the brides bangles by her friends and family. The Kalire ceremony takes place right after the chooda and signifies happiness for the newlyweds. Kalira is a way to provide good wishes to the bride and remind her of her loved ones she will leave behind after her wedding.
  • Also, the coconut kalire signify that she never runs out of food in the new home, and the metal ones symbolise wealth and prosperity.
  • After the kalire are tied, a bride makes all her unmarried friends and she shakes her hands on their heads. It is believed that if any part or the kalire fall on the head of any girl she will get married soon.
  • After the wedding the bride can keep her kalire as a memory and memento of the wedding day. PS, I hung mine on curtain rods.

Chooda and Kalire ceremony is followed in most of northern India. Are you getting married soon or have you married recently? Share a picture of your chooda or kalira with us here.