Indian Wedding Traditions

Indian Wedding Traditions

Traditions of the Indian wedding are distinguished by a clear traditionality – this means that they have been preserved almost the same as they were thousands of years ago. I emphasize at once that the important thing is that the Indian Union differs from all the others. In other countries, traditionally a guy chooses a young woman, and often the opposite picture. According to the traditions of the Indian wedding, marriage entirely depends on the decision of the father and the mother of the groom. Indian Wedding Traditions


They select a proper wife for their own offspring and agree with her parents about the future conjugal union. Little depends on the girl: after all, the father and mother will be able to order her elementary to marry even the almost unknown guy, and she must obey. That is why the Indian matrimonial system is called “marriage by advance agreement
After a preliminary agreement between the parents, two meetings of the young are organized, called “ashir-wad” – “blessing”, first in the house of the bride, and then at the groom’s house. Young at the same time receive gifts from parents and relatives, and also give each other.

On the wedding day, the bride and groom are not allowed to eat anything until the wedding ceremony begins. In the groom’s house, girls from among relatives perform wedding dances and songs. Then a small but important ritual called “gaye kholud” is performed – a rite of praise for the yellow color that Indians associate with the color of the sun and serves as a symbol of fidelity. The ceremony “gaye kholud” is very similar to the holiday of paints “holi”, with the only difference that the paint here is one – yellow. First, all present paint their foreheads, and then sprinkle each other with yellow powder. In many respects because of this variety of colors Indian wedding photography is distinguished by such brightness and originality

After “gaye kholud”, the bridegroom’s father in a solemn voice lists the names of the deceased relatives of this family, as if inviting them to witness and informing the spirits of their ancestors that their descendant is getting married. Then all participants of the ceremony are sent to the bride’s house, where the ceremony “gaye kholud” is repeated.
Actually, the wedding is played, according to the tradition of the Indian wedding, in the evening – and necessarily in the house of the bride, where the groom arrives at the hour of the hour, accompanied by relatives and friends. By this time, a small temple is already ready, specially built to perform the rite. It is covered with a tent, decorated in corners with four palm trees and decorated with a lot of fragrant flowers, mostly yellow. The groom stands on a flat stone and waits for several people to take out a bride in a wooden palanquin – in a rich, usually bright red sari, with many ornaments. Seven times the porters circumnavigate the groom, and then, stopping, ask the young to look into each other’s eyes. This view is called “shubho drishti” – the very first glance


The whole wedding procession then moves to the place where the priest, having said a prayer and having heard the oath of the young, will connect the newlyweds’ hands with a garland of flowers. The bridegroom at this moment will put a red paint on the forehead and parting his bride: now they are already husband and wife. Then everyone goes to celebrate in a room called “bozargan”, where a whole performance with dances and songs is arranged. The fun lasts all night, and in the morning the guests leave the house of the young wife, taking her to the husband’s house, where young people are also waiting for gifts and blessings. On this day, no ceremony takes place: everyone is resting. And only the next day in the husband’s house, the wife’s relatives receive gifts, arrange for them lunch and entertainment.

In principle, all Indian weddings in wealthy families are very expensive. They cost from five thousand to twenty thousand rupees, depending on the financial situation of the parents. But in the state of Punjab, a wedding is a particularly expensive undertaking: first, a large dowry is supposed to be for the bride, and secondly, the parents of the young try to outdo each other and flaunt their generosity and wealth.

Usually between engagement, during which the bridegroom puts the bride on the finger of the wedding ring, and the wedding takes place one or two very busy months. These days the bride’s parents collect a dowry for their daughter: many saris for all occasions, other clothes, ornaments, kitchen utensils … Two days before the wedding, the bride does not go anywhere. Her house is decorated with foil, garlands of flowers and colored lights.
Finally comes the day of the Indian wedding, which is traditionally collected up to 700-800 guests. The parents of the bride must provide them with food and shelter. The bride is dressed in a bright red sari, she has on her hands bright red bracelets, meaning that the girl is getting married. She will wear these bracelets, at least a month after the wedding.
In the evening, the bride is taken to an open area in front of the house, where she patiently waits for the arrival of the groom. Punjabi girls are considered very modest and shy. This is emphasized by the fact that the bride’s face is half covered by the sari. At last the groom arrives on horseback – his clothes are embroidered with gold embroidery, he is girded with a fire sash, a bright turban on his head.

Finally, solemn preparations begin. Four days before the wedding, all the relatives of the bride come together. In the courtyard of her house a special canopy is erected – a pandal decorated with flowers, garlands of coconuts and bananas, colored lights.

In the center of the pandal, a large bowl is placed, to the brim filled with rice, on top of which lies the flower of a coconut palm, – all this symbolizes happiness. Around the bowl lights are lit. However, the ceremony of Indian wedding begins not in the pandal, but in the temple, there is only a bride on it, the queue has not reached the bridegroom yet. At half past seven in the morning, a girl dressed in a wedding sari is led to the temple. There the bride throws four coconuts on the floor, gives alms to the poor, and then returns home.

The bridegroom is met only by the father and uncle of the bride. No woman from the house should fall into the path of her future husband. At the very gates of the groom meets the younger brother of the bride, washes his feet and kisses him. This means that the future brother-in-law and brother-in-law are related.

The groom is held in a pandal and planted near a bowl of rice. A bride appears, accompanied by her mother, relatives and friends. The groom stands up, to the sounds of the wedding melody, the bride slowly puts on his neck a flower garland and receives from her future husband the same. Then the young exchanged rings, and the groom gives the bride a gold chain, which she will henceforth wear until the end of her days.

Women in the south do not paint the parting and do not put a sign on the forehead of marriage. For them, such a sign is a gold chain. Remove it is a bad omen.

In the evening, the young are taken to a room reserved for them, where they are handed a glass of milk to the husband and leave one, and the young wife is taken to the guests. The festive dinner begins. After which all guests from the groom go home, and the bride returns to her husband’s room. The next morning he takes her on a honeymoon.

And now about the cheapest in the world Indian wedding, which costs 1 rupee and 25 paisas (about 16 cents). In the north of the country lives a Nandhari tribe. The wedding here is celebrated exceptionally simply, even ascetic. Dowry, gifts, any wealth demonstration, bragging of security is strictly prohibited. Single weddings at nandhary does not happen. Several times a year, collective celebrations are held, in which 30-50 pairs of newlyweds take part

Often this happens near small villages, and in order to accommodate all the numerous relatives and visitors, the residents are building a whole town of tents and huts. The wedding ritual begins early in the morning under the open sky. The bride and groom are dressed in white from head to toe. Girls of jewelry are allowed to put on a neck only a garland of white flowers. First, the grooms go out. They solemnly sit on mats of rice straw. Then come the bride, of course, each to his narrowed. However, it also happens that the girl does not remember or is not sure whether she is the chosen one, and then the miracle of technology comes to the rescue – photography. (Poor girls who married before the invention of the photo!) The brides wear white garlands on the suitors and sit down to their left from their future husbands. It is impossible to determine the degree of bride’s provision – all are equal.

The priest alternately approaches the pairs and pours “holy” water into a handful of each bride and each groom. Young should immediately drink it. Then the priest kindles the fire and makes prayers, from time to time pouring oil – he makes it a special spoon, made in the form of a small shuttle.

Then all the pairs rise, and the grooms tie the ends of their sashes to the ends of the scarves of the brides. At this site the groom is obliged to enclose a payment for the wedding – so to say, the wedding fee. By tradition, it is equal to 1 rupee 25 paisas. It is permitted, however, to increase it to 13 rupees, but not more pai, otherwise it will be regarded as a reprehensible dishonesty. Once connected, the pairs form a circle and begin to move slowly around the fire. They must complete five full circles, after which the priest will bless the young. He calls on the god to send mercy to the newlyweds and wishes them a long and happy married life.

Further, all the pairs diverge in their places, sit down in the same order as at the beginning of the ceremony, and the priest bypasses them, untying the ends of the scarves and taking out the hidden money. All collected money is transferred to the main managers, they are bought food for the participants of the ceremony and guests. Usually a dinner is arranged extremely modest, consisting of sweets and fruits.

At the end of the wedding, the bride goes to her husband’s house, not carrying a dowry, or gifts. In this house she must live at least a week, and only then she will be allowed to pay a visit to her parents.

In India, there is a beautiful legend about the husband and wife, who were an ideal couple in all respects:

Neither he nor she ever looked at anyone else in life. The couple lived happily together and died one day. On the same evening, near the North Star, a new Anadurat star appeared – in honor of a happy married couple. This is the star and shows on the wedding day the groom to his bride, as if urging her to follow the example of those happy lovers

Here is a short sketch of several wedding rituals in their traditional form. Of course, in fact, there are a lot of them, different rituals can be found within the same state, and within the city, and even the community, but it is important to note the general that is inherent in absolutely all Indian weddings. First of all, it is a fire that represents the presence of God himself: all the oaths of piety are given with him. Another feature is the multiplicity. For any wedding, no matter how poor it may be, invite a huge number of people.

And a few words about decorations. Jewelry is not so much signs of luxury as an important tribute to symbolism. For such a solemn event as a wedding, a certain number of special products are usually prepared, which are handed to both the bride and the groom. For example, for a bride make a marriage necklace – “tali”, or “mangel-sutra”, which during the wedding ceremony the bridegroom puts on a neckline. From now on, a woman will wear “tali” all her life (unless she is widowed). Handing a bracelet in many parts of the country is associated with entering into kinship, brotherly and sisterly relationships.

The Indian family is plentiful. It often consists of parents, their married sons with wives and children, unmarried sons and unmarried daughters – sometimes up to sixty people live in the house. Tradition gives the daughter-in full power to her mother-in-law, and if the girl marries the younger in the family, then the power of the senior daughter-in-law spreads to her. Restraint, brought up from childhood, helps mother-in-law to suppress a jealous dislike for the son’s wife and not to offend her very much.

Men give their parents all their earnings, and the landlady determines what and how to spend money. If the mother-in-law does not spoil the daughter-in-law with gifts, the latter must do with the things that she brought from her home or received as a gift for the wedding. If the mother-in-law does not consider it necessary to involve the daughter-in to discuss the family budget, to raise and educate children and to solve other problems, the daughter-in-law will live as a free servant, spending her days at the hearth, baby bed, washing, washing dishes completely deprived of the right to vote. Find the relatives of her husband to send the children to some relatives, they will be sent. They will find it necessary to take a second wife for the husband – they will take it.

Fortunately, a difficult relationship in an Indian family is more like an exception to the rule. Meek, hard-working, patient daughters-in-law, especially those who “managed” to give birth to a son, quite quickly fit into the family circle. Step below are those who give birth to girls. But since it is customary in India to have many children, boys, girls, and mothers in the family take over the years.

Children in families grow up in an atmosphere of goodwill. The first words they hear call for kindness towards all living things. “Do not crush an ant, do not hit a dog, a goat, a calf, do not step on a lizard, do not throw stones at birds, do not ruin nests, do not do any harm to anyone” – these rules eventually take a new form: “Do not offend the younger and the weak, Do not take an immodest look at a girl, do not insult an unclean woman, be faithful to a family, be kind to children. “

Indians are characterized by naturalness – here you will not see in the family circle defiant behavior, coquetry. A woman so firmly closes the ring of her inner world around her husband, his life, his interests, that all other men simply cease to exist for her.

Foreigners who know little of India and its people are often surprised by the “non-contactness” of local women who seem to be completely unaware of the presence of unknown men. They like to dress beautifully – for the husband. They take care of their skin, remove hair, antimony eyelids, paint part in hair with red paint, put on jewelry – for the husband. Learn to sing and dance – for the husband. And if the husband is alive and well, if he is devoted to the family – and this rule, exceptions from which are very rare, – a woman is happy, she does not want anything more.

With all the difference of wedding ceremonies in different states and corners of the country there is also a common one. The words of the solemn oath, pronounced by a young man and a girl, are very similar everywhere, marrying:

“We swear to be together in sorrow and in happiness – until the day when death will separate us …” Indian Wedding Traditions

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