Weddings and Religious Occasions

Today Asian weddings are synonymous with glitz, extravagance, and large extended family gatherings. During the early days, very few weddings would have taken place amongst the South Asian community. Those that did take place were modest gatherings with a celebratory drink in the local pub afterwards. This was partly because there were so few women living here and the early migrants did not intend to settle down permanently in the UK. It was only in the late 50s and 60s when families started arriving that things began to change. Wives joined their husband after years of separation and when other members of the extended family settled in Coventry, a sense of community was being established.

The Guru Nanak Prakash Gurdwara on Harnall Lane was the first religious institution to be built by the South Asian community in Coventry. The building work began in 1962 and was complete by 1965. Previously religious functions, such as ritual prayers or weddings would be conducted in makeshift premises. The school, for example, on Red Lane served this purpose [the Muslim Resource Centre is located there now and the school is no longer there], the school hall would be hired for weddings and other religious gatherings. Some people kept the Sikh Holy Scriptures in their houses and these were often used communally and taken to people’s houses in order to perform religious rituals. The following are some of the personal experiences:

Deep Singh came to Coventry in 1958

Yes, I got married in the pub. We went to Southall for my wedding; my in-laws entertained us with coffee in a cafe. There was a pub opposite to the cafe, where the Anand karj (Sikh wedding ceremony) was held. We had our lunch back at the café, and then we left for Coventry. 


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