Anand Karaj is the name given to the Sikh wedding ceremony, literally translated as “Blissful Event”.
Sikhs regard marriage as a sacred bond of mutual dependence between a man and a woman; a true partnership of equals in marriage is made between those who are united in spirit as well as in mind and body.
Marriage is regarded as a strong lifetime bond between the bride and groom and and a union between both the families of the bride and groom.
The man usually walks in front of woman however Guru Granth Sahib Ji is in the center and if the couple was to walk side by side than one would be further apart than the other. Whereas, when one person walks in front of the other both are walking around in an equal distance. This is equality in distance. If woman is in front of the man, it wouldn’t matter but it’s just how the society works. For example, if someone attacks you in your home, the Singh who’s armed battle the attackers. Sikhism is a warrior race with a warrior culture where both man and woman are armed. In the line of battle, the Singh goes first but the Kaur is also armed and goes into battle next.
According to Gurbani, we (man and woman) are the bride and wahe guru is the husband and so this way if we are the woman, Guru Sahib is reflecting that the couple are getting married to wahe guru and referred to as husband.
In this particular picture, the woman is being shown walking in front of the man which has raised controversy.
This event leads to a “joining” of the two families into one creating an enlarged extended family structure where each member has a useful part to play in the new family structure; each member of this extended family has to play a part in ensuring that the new couple are given every assistance in this new relationship and their start on this honourable path of Grist marg, “path of the householder”.
Gristi jiwan (living as a householder) is given a very respected position in Guru Nanak’s society as it is regarded as the essential basic atomic unit of a healthy community; a couple leading a happy, strong and fulfilling relationship will provide a base for a strong, united and coherent community.
Bhai Jagraj Singh in this video explains why man walks in front of woman: