Do Sikhs have arranged marriages?

Thank you to Raman Singh for the answer.

Many Sikhs do have arranged marriages but this is largely a cultural issue, rather than a religious one. The majority of Sikhs trace their origin to India, specifically to the state of Punjab in India. Historically, up until the last couple of generations, many, if not most, Indian marriages would be arranged to some degree. It might be as formal as the families meeting and arranging the marriage and exchanging gifts between the families. In some parts of India there are significant financial transactions associated with the wedding – dowry and vari (dowry from the bridegroom).

The “arrangement “might be as informal as the families introducing the couple to each other.  Many Sikh and Indian marriages in the West are a result of this kind of arrangement, family and/or friends introducing the couple to each other.  In smaller towns and villages a more formal arranged marriage would be likely.

An arranged or semi-arranged marriage is most likely when the Sikh person involved is actively interested in marrying another Sikh, particularly in the West, or anywhere outside India. Because the Sikh population is so small in Western countries, it is somewhat unlikely that a Sikh would meet a potential Sikh marriage partner in their everyday school, college or work life.

There has been a tradition of “matrimonial ads” in Indian newspapers for decades.  Many, many couples end up meeting through these ads.  Often, parents correspond with each other through these ads.

There are now Indian and Sikh matrimonial websites, where people, or their parents post pictures, and matrimonial ads.  Again, a significant number of people are finding their marriage partner- literally – online.

I believe Indians and Sikhs are open to the idea of matrimonial ads in newspapers and online because of the history in India of arranged marriages.  It does not seem strange to many Sikhs to start a conversation with a stranger about marrying them.

Sikhs growing up in Western countries like the US, England and Canada generally are more interested in marrying someone from the same country than finding a Sikh in India.  Even those who feel strongly about marrying someone within their faith often feel that the cultural differences between themselves and someone from India would be too big to bridge in a marriage.  At the same time, people growing up in India are increasingly westernized. The current generation of Indian and American Sikhs grew up with the Internet, smartphones and social media.  So, Sikhs in India are often open to marrying someone from the west.   While the fascination with all things American has diminished somewhat with the rise of the Indian economy, many young Indians are still open to moving the US.