A roka, or rokana, is a formal engagement ceremony. Some couples will have a roka ceremony after the surprise down-on-one-knee proposal, or some people will skip the fun proposal altogether for the more formal roka ceremony. In modern Indian weddings, roka ceremonies are less common than they used to be, but because it is a good opportunity to celebrate the upcoming nuptials many families favor them.
The roka cements the status of the newly engaged couple as such, and it is a joyous occasion! Usually, the roka ceremony involves the family of the bride visiting the family of the groom and having a small puja, or religious ceremony. The groom’s family usually then reciprocates by visiting the bride’s family as well.
Though the roka may just involve immediate family members of the future bride and groom, it can also be a cause for celebration so large that it rivals a sangeet or wedding in its invite list and attendance. The bride’s parents usually bring gifts for the future groom, including cash or gold, and the groom’s parents will reciprocate. It is customary for the groom’s parents to gift the bride a sari and some jewelry. The puja will often involve the groom’s mother giving the bride several fruits, which are said to represent the number of children she will one day have.