Indian Wedding Cultures and Traditions
Celebrating the union of love; simple and intimate or big, fat and grand, but for one we know, Indians are known for their love for elaborate weddings. A country with diverse cultures calls for diverse wedding customs and traditions. Each culture is unique in its own way, and so are the wedding rituals and beliefs that come along with it. Are you interested in finding out about the diversity of Indian weddings? You have landed on just the right place, scroll down to find out about the variety India has to offer!
Punjabi Culture – The Punjabi’s believe in showing their emotions with gusto, and hence are responsible for coining the term ‘The big fat Indian wedding’. The celebrations begin with the bride’s parents offering gifts and sweets to the groom’s family in return for the offerings from the groom’s family. This is then followed by Shagun, when a bunch of ladies arrive at the bride’s place with her engagement outfit showering their blessings on her. Sagai is when the bride and groom exchange rings after which they have the Mehendi and Sangeet ceremony – full of dance, drama and music. The bride and everyone attending the wedding apply beautiful designs of henna on their hands at the Mehendi ceremony. On the day of the wedding, the bride is adorned with chooda, a set of red and ivory bangles that are purified in a liquid mixture containing milk and rose petals. The bride then goes through Haldi which is a paste of sandalwood, turmeric, rosewater and mustard oil that is said to give the bride a glow. Once the Haldi ceremony is done, the bride starts getting ready for the wedding.
Rajasthani Culture – Rajasthan is a popular destination for weddings for its vibrancy and the royal architecture. Well, not only is the architecture mesmerizing, Rajasthani weddings are known for their lavishness and opulence.
The celebrations begin with engagement where the bride and the groom exchange rings to mark their first step into married life. After the engagement, the bride and the groom along with their families go to get blessings from Lord Ganesha for their wedding and marriage, this ceremony is known as the Ganpati Sthapana. The worshiping of Ganesha is followed by Pithi Dastoor also known as Haldi ceremony in other parts of the country. One day before the wedding, the Rajasthani’s indulge in dance and music, this ceremony is called Mehfil. On the morning of the wedding, the groom performs what is called Havan, a process of wearing a pious thread that symbolizes his renunciation from the worldly affairs, and stepping into his new married life. The Rajasthanis then perform Granthi Bandhan, otherwise known as Kanyadan wherein the father of the bride gives her hand to the groom as a sign of passing on her responsibility over to him.
Maharashtrian Culture – The Marathi’s love to have their weddings short and sweet. Saakhar Puda also known as Sagaai or engagement in the Maharashtrian culture is a ceremony where the bride and the groom exchange rings, and the families exchange gifts and sweets. The day prior to the wedding, there is a Halad ceremony also known as Haldi where the families of the bride and groom apply the paste of sandalwood and turmeric to the brides and grooms. Later in the day, the bride is adorned with chuda, a set of green and golden bangles. On the day of the wedding, at the mandap, the bride and the groom have a silk barrier called the antarpat between them during which Managalshtak is recited. After the recitation, the antarpat is removed and the bride and the groom see each other for the first time and are ready to put garlands on each other. The bride’s father then passes on the bride’s responsibility to the groom which is known as Kanyadan. The bride and the groom then finish the further wedding rituals after which they take pheras. The couple then goes onto their first meal together. Grihapravesh takes place when the couple head to their new home. The feet of the bride and the groom are washed in milk, before entering the house, which officially marks their new journey of life.
Green and gold chuda
Bengali Culture – Bengali weddings are detailed and can stretch over a span of 2-3 days. The Bengalis perform meaningful wedding rituals unique in their own way. It begins with Jol Sowa, where a few married ladies of the family go to the nearest waterbody on the morning of the wedding to fill a brass pitcher. This water is used by the bride and the groom, after the Gaye Holud ceremony also known as the Haldi ceremony. One day before the wedding, the bride and the groom are fed with a variety of traditional Bengali dishes as they would have to fast until their wedding rituals are complete. This practice is known as the Dodhi Mangal.
Birddhi Puja is another ritual, which performed by the father or any other male relative of the bride and the groom in their respective homes, which is remembering the past seven generations of ancestors and seeking their blessings. On the morning of the wedding, the bride and the groom go through Gaye Holud. This ceremony is first performed at the groom’s place, and the remaining paste is then sent to the bride’s house, after which they have a bath with the water which was collected while performing Jol Sowa. Once the Gaye Holud ceremony is done, the bride and the groom set foot to get ready for the wedding.
Tamil Culture – Tamilians are known for their particularity in traditions and customs. Their wedding rituals in specific are elaborate and treated with utmost importance. Nakshatra Porutham – matching of horoscopes is the most important step in the weddings.
After the marriage is fixed, the bride and the groom’s families visit a temple and perform a special puja seeking blessings from the Almighty to let the wedding take place without any obstacles. In the early hours of the day before the wedding, the groom performs Vrutham, which signifies the transition of the groom from bachelorhood to Brahmacharya by seeking permission from his guru usually his father and tying a sacred thread dipped in turmeric around the wrist which is known to keep evil energy away from the couple-to-be.
On the day of the wedding, the groom is treated with a sandalwood and turmeric paste at his residence, the process, which is known as Mangalsnanam, after which the groom proceeds to get ready for the wedding. The bride after getting ready performs a Gauri Puja to seek blessings for a happy married life.
The two then arrive at the wedding venue and perform further wedding rituals, amongst which the most significant one is when the couple sits on a swing called Oonjal. The elders of the families feed milk and banana to the couple. The women of the families carry colored rice balls around them anticlockwise and clockwise to ward off evil energy, afterwhich the couple proceeds for Kanyadanam.
We hope you got a gist of the various wedding cultures of India, and their uniqueness! Do drop in comments and suggestions if any.