Weddings in India
Marriage is the most important event in an individual’s life. It brings together two individuals, two souls, and two families. In India, the importance of a wedding is paramount. In Indian weddings, many rituals are performed to accomplish it. Marriage in India is performed with the utmost care and dedication.
A wedding is the most anticipated event in everyone’s life as they are eagerly waiting to meet their soul mate. Everyone wants to make his or her special day, the most memorable day of life. The wedding dress, jewelry, makeup, decoration, everything should be just perfect.
Wedding in India varies from region and religion. Indian weddings include extensive decorations, colors, music, dance, costume, and rituals that are dependent on the religion of bride and groom. India is the country, where near about 10 million weddings take place every year. In India, a wedding is celebrated just like a festival.
According to the Hindu belief, marriages are made in heaven and once you get married, the relationship or bond is supposed to last for seven lifetimes. Marriage is associated with a lot of importance in Hinduism and marriage is considered the most important duty of every man’s life.
A Hindu wedding is performed according to ancient rituals and practices. In Indian society, a wedding is not only the coming together of two persons but also the two families, which thereafter share the bond of respect and affection. There are numerous customs and traditions associated with the Indian Hindu wedding. The Hindu wedding ceremony is a long process with various rituals that may take days to be accomplished. Every ritual and practice has a great spiritual significance.
Hindu wedding rituals are so unique in the world. Hindu wedding traditions are very complex. Every community has its own basic wedding ritual based upon its regional and cultural influences. In North India, a wedding is known as the term vivah sanskar whereas, in most of south India, it is referred to with the term kalyanam.
The rituals are carried out along with Sanskrit mantras. There are countless variations across the country if it comes to wedding rituals. There are certain pre-wedding, wedding day, and post-wedding rituals that are generally performed by all Hindus.
The pre-wedding rituals begin by finding the perfect match by the families of bride and groom. If the star of the bride and groom are in perfect harmony then the marriage process goes further. A day is fixed to announce the wedding date, which is called engagement. Engagement is known by many names across India, sagai in Haryana, Roka in Punjab, sakhar puda in Maharashtra, tilak among Marwaris, and ghor dana in Gujaratis. In the engagement ritual, generally, rings are exchanged between the would-be bride and groom. The date of the wedding is announced on the engagement day.
As the wedding approaches, there are some rituals performed with great passion and dedication, i.e. Ganesh puja, mehndi, sangeet, and haldi.
Traditionally the bride’s parents host the wedding arrangement and the groom’s family comes from the outside to the Mandap. The couple commits to each other in front of the sacred fire. The elders of both families bless the couple for their newly wedded life. The bride’s father gives her away to the groom, known as Kanyadan. On the wedding day, the bride is Laxmi and the groom is Vishnu.
The post-wedding ritual is known as Vidaayi, welcoming the bride to the groom’s house and Reception.
Islam is the most prominent religion of India. Wedding is an integral part of Islamic culture and all the rituals are performed to direct towards the holy Quran. Muslim wedding rituals are based upon the countries and regions, but the Nikah ceremony remains the same.
The pre-wedding rituals begin by finding the perfect match by the families of bride and groom. It further proceeds to mangni, Manjha (haldi), Mehandi, sanchaq, in which the groom’s family visits the bride’s place with gifts and sweets. With the gifts and the sweets, the bride’s outfit to be worn at the time of Nikah is also sent. With outfit, matching jewelry and accessories are also sent.
Wedding rituals Baraat, the groom sets out from his home with great pomp with his close friends and relatives. As the groom arrives at the wedding venue, he meets with the bride’s family at the entrance. He is grandly welcomed and is offered the drink of sherbet by his brother-in-law. The wedding or Nikah ceremony is further preceded by a Maulvi. The men and women sit in separate groups for the wedding ceremony. The groom’s family presents the Mehr to the bride, which is the pre-decided amount of cash to seek her consent to marry the groom. The maulvi precedes the ceremony with the prayer from Quran.
Then the maulvi asks the bride for her consent to marry the groom by accepting the Mehr with the phrase “qubool hain?” three times. After the consent of the bride, the maulvi moves to the groom to ask for his consent for the marriage. This ritual is known as Ijab-e-qubool. This ceremony is followed by reading the Nikahnama or a marriage contract. Two witnesses from both sides are required. This is followed by reading Khutba, a religious ritual. And the elders give blessings to the newly wedded couple. During the Arsi Mushraf ritual, the couple gets the chance to look at each other for the first time.
Soon after the wedding ceremony is completed, the bride bids a tearful goodbye to her family, which is called Rukhsat. When she arrives at the groom’s house, she is welcomed by the groom’s family. The ceremony of Walimah is the public declaration of marriage. It is generally hosted by the groom’s family.
Sikh wedding generally takes one week to be accomplished. Sikh marriage is not so showy and pompous as any Hindu marriage. It is very simple and follows religious practices. Sikh marriage is accomplished in Gurudwara in front of Guru Granth sahib. Many rituals are done in one week advance.
The first pre-wedding ritual is engagement or roka. The preacher of Gurudwara recites the religious discourse. The date of the wedding is decided and applies tilak on the forehead of the bride and groom. The next ritual is the Chura ceremony, held at the bride’s place. The maternal uncle of the bride gives red and white bangles (Chura) to wear. Silver and gold ornaments are attached to the chura, called kalirein. The next ritual is gana. A red thread is tied on the wrist of the groom and the bride to protect them from evil powers. Few days before marriage, vatna ceremony is performed. It is a usual haldi. On the evening of the wedding, the Mehendi ceremony is performed. Mehendi is applied to the hands and feet of the bride. Ghadoli is the other pre-wedding ritual. In this ritual, the water from Gurudwara is fetched for the bathing of the groom.
The wedding ceremony is so small in Sikhs. This is followed by the Milni ceremony; both the families meet at the bride’s place. Shabads and ardaas are recited. The bride and groom circle around the Guru Granth Sahib and seek blessings from the elders.
After the wedding ceremony at Gurudwara, the bride bids goodbye to her family. This is called the Vidayi ceremony. This is followed by the reception party. This is generally hosted by the groom’s family. This is to celebrate the entry of a new member of the family.
Thus, we see the importance of wedding in every religion is same but the rituals are different. In India, the outfit of the bride and groom has a special space in the whole preparation. Indian outfits are famous across the world for their rich fabric, bright colors, and heavy embellishment. We cannot deny the fact that marriage is the most beautiful bond between two souls and families.
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