Institutionalized Reciprocity and Exchange on Punjabi Weddings
Marriage ceremonies in Punjab involve rich and elaborate ritual performance. This requires social participation and support. Reciprocity on rituals is widely pervasive, guided by unwritten often unsaid yet known and deeply internalized codes. These rules act as social facts in Durkhemian sense. Based on qualitative research and extracting data primarily from participant observation and indepth interviews, this paper highlights extensive and embedded systems of reciprocity and exchange typical of Punjabi weddings. Laag Vehar, a compound term, encompasses roles, expectations and appropriate reciprocal behavior on different occasions. Obligatory gifts and services are key features of laag vehar. Generalized, balanced and premium reciprocity are the major forms of reciprocity observed on weddings. They provide insight to the social system, solidarity networks, socio-economic bonds and relations and reflect on social status as well as social hierarchy.