/Indian Wedding Traditions and Customs: The Essential Guide
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Indian Wedding Traditions and Customs: The Essential Guide

“Wedding”  brings many exciting things with it like beautiful girls, heavy dresses and jewelries, gossiping relatives, funny dance moves, tasty delicious food, sweets and many more. Yes! Indian weddings are exciting, lavishing and full of drama-masti. Weddings are highly traditional and strongly adhere to the ancient customs and tradition.

Moreover wedding is considered an important religious practice in India. It is generally called Vivah Sanskar in North India and Kalyanam in South India. Hindus attach a great deal of importance with marriage and its rituals. So here are some basic rituals which are followed by the Indian Wedding.

1. Tilak Ceremony:

Tilak Ceremony or ‘tikka’ is one of the initial wedding ceremony which signifies wedding has been started. It varies from state to state and also diverse in different caste and creed. Anciently it was done one month before marriage but now in mordern time, it can be flexible also. A small hawan and pooja also takes place where pandit chants the mantra and seeks the blessing of Lord. After this, the brother of bride applies tilak to groom as a symbol of respect and acceptance. He then endows him with gifts such as clothes, sweets, jewellary, token cash , garland etc. All other close male members of  bride’s side also perform the same ritual to state their loving approval of the groom. After this , the family of groom also sends gift to bride.

2.  Engagement Ceremony:

Engagement Ceremony is an important pre-wedding ritual where the would-be-bride and bridegroom-to-be come face to face and formally betrothed to each other by their families. Exchanging of rings is done which also involves the groom’s family giving their words to bride’s family that they will accept their daughter and will be responsible for her future well-being. Engagement ceremony is usually uniform across most of the religions and ethnicity in India. In Muslims it is called “mangani”. In christian wedding consists of solo pre-wedding ritual.

3.  Haldi:

The Haldi is made of turmeric, rose water, and sandalwood powder. It is gooey and cold , strong smelling yet refreshing. Haldi is applied to bride and groom’s body before their wedding. Organic body wash, plus it is an anteseptic too. The paste serves as a cleanser for body and soul and signifies the bride’s preparation and welcoming into adult married life. The haldi in some Indian communities also signifies protection , and couple cannot meet after this ceremony till marriage and can’t go outside the home after this ceremony.

4.  Mehandi :

Mehandi is one of the ancient body art conceived by man. The hindi and arabic word mehandi is derived from ‘mehandika’ which referred to henna plant itself. Mehandi design is made on the hands of bride and groom. Use of mehandi in pre-wedding ritual is not just cosmetic but has underlying scientific reasons behind it. Henna is known for its cooling properties and is supposed to calm the bride’s nerves when applied to her hands and feet.

5.  Sangeet:

Sangeet ceremony includes singing, dance and music. It is the celebration of coming together of two families in union of their children. Subjects of the song range from about daily life of women to teasing the bride about her upcoming wedding and her groom. The bride is referred to as Banna in these songs whereas the groom is known as Banni or Banno. Popular traditional songs include ‘lathe di chadar’ , ‘laung gawacha’ and ‘kala doriyaan’. There would be dancing as well, with the women of the household dancing away along with bride participating with gusto. Previously , it used to last for few days, but now-a-days one day, and sometimes one evening.

6. Varmala :

The Varmala ceremony is also referred as ‘jaimala’ is the commencement of the hindu wedding, serving as the first time the bride and groom meet before starting the wedding ceremony. According to tradition, varmala’s consist of colorful flowers such as roses, marigolds, orchids are used to create the garlands used for the ceremony. The flowers represent excitement, happiness, and beauty- all tied together a string signifying the martial union. The varmala ceremony takes place after the Baraat and also signifies the start of  the wedding rituals.

7.  Mandap:

Mandap Ceremony holds utmost importance on the day of wedding this is because all significant rituals such as phere, manglasutra, sindoor all performed during the mandap ceremony. Mandap is usually made of bamboo and is decorated with red and silver colors. The four pillars of the mandap signify the parents on both sides, which toiled hard to bring their children up.It usually takes place at the house of the bride or otherwise it is held at the wedding venue itself. This is the main wedding ceremony where two souls are brought into union spritually, mentally with the blessings of GOD and all their well wishers.

8. Bidaai :

 Bidaai is the time for the bride to officially leave her place of birth, her home, her loved ones and go to a new home and start a new life. She is given a thali full of rice and some coins as she proceeds outside towards the doorstep, she throws handfuls of rice and  coins over her head with heavy heart. She hugs all her loved ones and bids a final farewell as they cry with mixed emotions of giving her away and at the same time blessing her a happy married life. The father of the bride takes her to the groom. she sits in the car and her brother pushes the car ahead while the family members look ahead till the car is finally out of sight.

9. Reception:

The last and the final party usually held after the completion of marriage ceremony as hospitality for those who have attended the wedding. It is mostly thrown by the groom’s side, and the friend and associates mainly from the groom side attend this ceremony. From the bride side, only the close members are invited. This is a celebration time for both the families as they rejoice over their new accord. Reception parties are laid with sumptuous food to treat the guests a little more. It includes good music and ambiance to add to the zing. Unlike all the ceremonies, the reception don’t include any rituals. It is a matter of individual choice to organize a reception party, as it is not deemed compulsory.

Enjoy the wedding ceremonies this season with lots of  Love and fun.