Wedding horse greets drivers

MOTORISTS in Ipswich had their Monday morning brightened up by an unusual sight.A white horse decked in red and gold stood at the corner of Valley Road and The Avenue as part of a Sikh wedding ceremony.

MOTORISTS in Ipswich had their morning brightened up by an unusual sight when Sikh wedding celebrations took place in the town.

A large white horse decked in sparkling red and gold caused traffic to slow down and motorists to stare as it stood at the corner of Valley Road and The Avenue yesterday morning.

The horse was part of a traditional Sikh wedding ritual and caused quite a stir in the early morning drizzle.

The wedding of Jugpreet Singh, of Valley Road, and Khuramjot Kaur, of Peterborough, was due to take place in Peterborough later in the day but before guests boarded coaches to take them up the A14 there was an array of colourful dancing and singing in the street.

The groom and a friend sat astride the white horse with £20 notes fastened to their decorative outfits. Both wore intricate head-dresses with long tassles covering their faces.

The male wedding guests stood round in a circle while individuals took turns to enter it, waving money, as the women looked on.

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Kimat Singh, his brother said: “The horse is supposed to depict the tradition that the man gets on a horse to ride to the lady's location but we had the horse here as I think it might have taken a while to get to Peterborough!”

The singing and dancing attracted many neighbours who came to view the celebrations.

Around 150 guests left Valley Road in two coaches and a stretch limousine and were due to stop for a wedding breakfast in Cambridgeshire before travelling to the ceremony in Peterborough in the afternoon.

Sikh marriage is known as Anand Karaj which literally translate as “blissful union.”

Sikh marriages are usually arranged with families acting as little more than introduction services - the ultimate choice is always left to the girl and boy. In some cases the boy and girl choose each other first and then seek their parents consent and blessing.

In the east, Sikh marriages are typically a three-day affair which begins with the Braat (grooms family and friends) setting off for the girls house in the evening.

They are received, entertained and hosted by the girls family and spend the night at her house.

The following day the ceremony takes place at the local Gurdwara or at the girl's home.

Following the religious ceremony festivities, song and dance continue the remainder of the day with the groom and his family departing with the bride the following day.

In the west because of the constraints in time and difficulty in co-ordinating so many people, wedding are usually a one or two day affair.

Either the wedding occurs in the morning followed by a dinner and dance banquet in a hall or hotel at night, or the religious ceremony and banquet take place on consecutive days. In rarer cases only the religious ceremony takes place without any banquet.

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