Who Is the Barat in the Groom's Wedding Party?

Meeting the Bride's Family

A Sikh wedding ceremony.

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Barat (bharat) is a Punjabi word with a meaning that refers to the people in a Sikh bride groom's wedding party. The barat is part of the customs and traditions involved when the groom is formally meeting the bride's family just prior to the wedding ceremony.

Barati is a related term meaning wedding guest.

In Sikhism, the barat wedding party is usually made up of the groom's relatives. The barat may be just a few representatives of the groom's family, or a very large number, depending on circumstances such as the size of the wedding, or location of the groom's relatives in regards to where the wedding takes place. For ​instance, if the bridegroom is wed in a country other than that of his origin, it's possible that his entire family may not be able to be present. 

Traditionally, the barat wedding party would be composed of the groom's family who traveled to the home of the bride for the wedding. After the wedding, the bride generally returned home with the groom who lived with his parent's brothers and other paternal relatives, such as uncles who were brother's of the groom's father and their father, etc.

In modern times, prior to the wedding, the barat may either travel to the bride's home or simply convene outside of the gurdwara wedding hall, where bride and groom's families greet each other before the Anand Karaj wedding ceremony begins. Factors might include travel distance involved, and whether the wedding ceremony is simple, elaborate, or lavish.

Pronunciation and Spelling

Barat is pronounced so that it sounds like braat. Syllables are broken into two parts: ba-raat. The first a is a short vowel pronounced as in the word "bad". The second a is a long vowel shown as an aa sound, like the word "date." If mispronounced, the word has an entirely different meaning that has to do with connubial relations. Emphasis must be placed on the second syllable in order to be understood correctly and avoid embarrassment.

Barat may also be spelled as baraat or braat. Bharat is a common misspelling for barat.

Examples From Scripture

Tan rainee man pun rap kar ho paacho tat baraatee ||
I make my body the dyer's vat and within it, I dye my soul, the five elements are my wedding guests.
Raam raae sio bhavar lai nou aatam teh rang raatee ||
I take my wedding vows with my sovereign Lord, and my soul is imbued with His love.

Source

"Sri Guru Granth Sahib." SriGranth.org.