Marwari Marriage Ceremony
Marriage in Rajasthan is just as elaborate as any big affair. Traditions and customs form an important part of all Marwari weddings. The most important factor is that match is fixed and marriages are held only within the community.
The engagement ceremony or the "Sagai" takes place at the house of the groom. This is strictly all male affair. On this day, the bride's brother puts "tilak" on the groom's forehead. A sword, clothes, sweets etc. are given to the groom. "Ganapati Sthapna" and "Grih Shanti" is the second-most important ceremony performed a few days prior to the wedding. An idol of Lord Ganapati is installed and a "havan" is performed. This sthapana is important as all ceremonies commence only after this. A few days prior to the wedding the "Pithi dastoor" ceremony starts. It consists of the application of turmeric and sandalwood paste to the bride and the groom who cannot leave the house once the pithi starts. This ceremony continues until the day of the wedding. "Mehfils" are an integral part of every Rajasthani wedding. 'Ladies' mehfils as well as 'gents' mehfils are organised. The traditional dance-'ghoomar' is performed in the ladies mehfil, while men have their own parties. The "Janeu" (sacred thread ceremony) is performed a day before the wedding. The custom of Palla Dastoor is typical to the Marwaris. On the day of the wedding or a day prior to it, the groom's family brings the Palla Dastoor to the bride's house. It consists of clothes, jewellery and gifts from the groom, which the bride has to wear during the wedding ceremony. A Marwari "barat", consisting entirely of male members, which proceeds to the wedding grounds.
As soon as the "Barat" reaches the bride's house the groom is taken to the ladies section where the bride's mother receives the groom with the traditional "aarti" and he is then taken to the "mandap". The Bride is brought to the mandap by the maternal uncle dressed in traditional marwari costum, which is sent to her by the groom's parents. The "kanyadan " ceremony is then performed wherein the bride is given to the groom for life. "Saat Phreras" are taken round the scared fire while the pundit chants mantras.
Post Marriage Ceremony
The Barat returns with the newly weds, the girl is bid farewell by her family and is accepted into her new family. When the bride enters her new home a small ceremony called Grihapravesh takes place. Puja and other ceremonies also take place on this day.
Bengali Marriage Ceremony
"Adan pradan" symbolises the Bengali system of a wedding alliance. After the bride and groom approve each other, parents, grandparents and elderly uncles or aunts of both families sit together, and fix up a date for engagement after consulting pundits.
Engagement ceremony takes place a day or two before the actual wedding and can be conducted in the presence of a purohit, at the house of either the groom or the bride. The bride is given a sari, a ring and some other ornaments and presents. The -groom is presented with a ring, gold buttons, a watch and other presents. The bride/ groom take blessings of the elders.
In the vridhi ceremony, "puja" is offered to the ancestors. This ceremony is performed in the bride's and groom's houses separately, usually in the morning, by a purohit, a day before marriage. Usually a paternal uncle performs the vridhi.
This ceremony is also held in both the houses on the wedding day. It is performed at the crack of dawn, before sunrise. Eight to ten married women accompany the couple to a nearby pond. There's they invite the Goddess Ganga to the wedding and bring back a pitcher of water from the pond to bathe the bride/groom. Next, the bride/groom is offered some food. The bride and groom have to observe fast the whole day till the marriage ceremony comes to an end.
The Marriage Ceremony
On the day of the marriage the bride/groom are bathed by applying a paste of turmeric, oil and water. During "snan", both the bride and the groom wear new clothes (sent by each other's family which are later handed over to the barber or napit). The bride is wears "Sankha" (Conch shell bangles). Usually, snan takes place in the evening or late afternoon, depending on the time of the lagna or wedding. After snan, the bride/groom gets ready for the marriage ceremony. The bride is traditionally dressed up in banarasi sari with gold ornaments, a red veil, a mukut, which is pinned to the veil and chandan is artistically applied on the face, in a design of the mukut. The groom is also traditionally dressed in dhoti and kurta. dhoti and kurta.
In Bengali marriage ceremony both he mothers of either side do not attend the marriage. When the groom and his party arrive at the bride's house, they are welcomed by blowing conch shells, ringing bells and ululation. Then, the mistress of the house takes the "baran dala" and touches the plate to the groom's forehead, the ground, and up to the groom again. After repeating this procedure three times, the groom is offered sweets and sharbet. Water is poured on the doorstep as the groom steps into the house. Rituals like "shubho drishti" (this is the time when the bride and the groom see each other) and mala badal (exchange of garlands) take place. Saat paak is a ritual where the bride, usually sits on a low wooden stool called pidi is lifted by her brothers and is taken round the groom in seven complete circles this signifys that they are united. The bride's paternal or maternal uncle gives her away in "Sampradhan". This is followed by "saptapadi", agni sakhi and other rituals. Even while the ceremonies going on, dinner can be served.
Post Marriage Ceremony
After the marriage ceremony is over, the newly weds are brought inside the house, where women round them and several games are played. The next morning, while sitting on the nuptial bed, the groom applies sindoor on the bride's forehead, with a darpan. Then they proceed to the mandap for bashi biye ceremony. Within the mandap, in the presence of the purohit, the Sun God is worshipped and some games are played. Then the bride is given "Bidaai". The groom's mother and sister-in-law welcome the bride. She is given gifts and presents. Till the bou bhat ceremony is over, the bride does not eat any food in her in-laws' house. Her meals usually come from a neighbour's house. In the "bou bhat" ceremony, in the morning after the wedding ceremony, the bride is served food on a new plate. After reception the following evening, the newly wed couple's room, is tastefully decorated with flowers. The bride wears a new sari and the groom wears a dhoti and kurta. The flowers and clothes for this ceremony come from the bride's house with the sweets. After the phool sajja, the wedding ceremonies come to an end.
Gujarati Marriage Ceremony
Pre Wedding Ceremony
The first ceremony performed is called Mandap Mahurat which is performed by the Pandit a few days before the wedding at the house of the bride and the groom. The next ceremony is the Griha Shanti. The puja for Griha Shanti is conducted by an acharya with the family members and relatives of the bride as well as the groom. The purpose of the puja is to bring peace among the stars so that the couple can live a happy married life. The actual wedding day begins with what is known as the Pokavu, the arrival of the groom. The mother-in-law at the entrance to the wedding hall greets him. A small ceremony is performed and then she tries to pinch the groom's nose. This playfully reminds the groom that he has come to their door to ask for their daughter by rubbing his nose on the door.
In a Gujarati marriage ceremony the bride and groom exchange garlands twice. This is known as "Jaimala". The first time the groom is placed higher than the bride. The second time again at the Mandap but on equal ground. During the "Madhuparka", the groom's feet are washed and he is fed honey and milk. During this time, the bride's sisters try and steal the groom's shoes, adding mischief and humour to the ceremony. At the end of the day the groom retrieves his shoes by offering his sister in-laws money. The bride is then carried to the Mandap by her maternal uncle in a ceremony that is known as "Kanya Agamana". At this point, the "Antarpat", or the curtain separating the bride and groom, is lowered and the couple again exchange garlands. It is now time for the bride to be given away in a ritual known as "Kanya Daan" or "Hasta Milap". In Gujarati Marriage Ceremony phera's are not taken seven tmes but it is taken four times. This ritual is called "Mangalpheras", when the couple circles the holy fire four times which symbolizes "Dharma", "Artha", "Kama" and "Moksha". The "Sapta Padi" is performed with a variation in which the groom helps the bride touch seven betel nuts with her right toe, while they recite the seven vows. After the ceremony is over the couple take blessings of the elders.
Post Wedding Ceremony
After the departure of the bride and groom amidst tears of joy and grief, which is known as the "Vidai", the couple returns to the groom's house where they play a game called "Aeki- Beki". This game is played by placing a ring and several coins in a tray filled with water, which is coloured, by "sindoor" and milk. It is said that the person who finds the ring four out of seven times, will rule the household.
Kashmiri marriage ceremony
Kashmiri Pundits are tradition preservers and cling on to their legacy with determination.
The first important ritual is the matching of horoscope of the boy and the girl. Importance is also given to the status, fame and moral character of the family and their close relatives. This is followed by "Kasamdary", which is a formal commitment on the part of both the girl's and boy's families to the marriage.
The date of the engagement is fixed by the family purohits, according to the Kashmiri calendar. On this day the maid servant of the boy's family goes to the bride's house with gifts and presents for the bride and also has to feed cream and dry fruits to her with a silver spoon. On the same day either the sister-in-law or the brother--in-law of the girl, along with one or two children, visit the boy's house with presents for him. Both families hold a music session in the evening, wherein Kashmiri marriage and folk songs are sung.
The girl's "Devgon" (Havan) ceremony starts with "kanishran" (Bath). In this ritual, a veil held by young girls is placed over the bride's head and a mixture of water, rice, milk and curd is showered along with flowers by the relatives present with a rendering of mantras by the purohit. Fully dressed in traditional clothes and headgear, she is draped in the famous Kashmiri shawl. The shawl is draped over the bride's head and is appropriately pinned below her chin. The boy also starts with a bath and comes fully decked for the ceremony.
The actual marriage is fixed either during the day or at night. All invitees first assemble at the groom's residence. The groom normally wears the pheran and his waistband. Other embellishments include a sword, which is adjusted in his waistband, and embroidered slip-on shoes on his feet. The eldest paternal uncle ties the turban. A plate of rice containing some money is touched to the left shoulder of the groom while the turban is being tied. The groom rides a horse in the marriage procession to the bride's house. They are greeted and welcomed with the blowing of "shankhs". The bride's maternal uncle has to carry her out to the place where the groom is made to stand. The marriage ceremony start with slokas read by the pundit. The bride and the groom are told about their duties towards one another. The couple has to cross their arms one over the other and hold hands covered with cloth This ritual is called "Aathwas". Kashmiri folklore holds that the first one who manages to pull out the other's engagement ring plays a dominating role in the married life of the couple. A golden thread (Mananmal) is tied to their foreheads. Stepping on seven one rupee silver coins placed in a circle makes the first round around the sacred fire. The next six rounds are done to the chanting of mantras. The bride and the groom finally feed each other some food. They are considered man and wife now. Then comes the "Bidaai" a time when the bride leaves her parent's house to take on her responsibilities to her husband and in-laws.
Post Marriage Ceremony
The same evening of her wedding the bride accompanied by her husband and two children has to go to her father's house for dinner. This ceremony is called "satraat". As a part of the "satraat" ceremony, the couple is presented new clothes by the bride's parents, which they have to wear before returning home. "Phirlath" is a tradition where the couple is invited again for lunch or dinner by the girl's parents. "Roth Khabar" - Roth is a one-meter long and half-meter wide cake decorated with nuts and sent to the groom's family on a Tuesday or Saturday following the wedding.
Punjabi marriage ceremony
Punjabi Wedding Ceremony is basically a very simple and lively function and is celebrated with lots of zest and fan fare. The wedding ceremony consists of many rituals, which have a distinct significance and charm.
Pre Wedding Ceremony
ceremony is performed on a mutually convenient date backed by 'shubh muhurat'. This is a simple function, which is attended by family members and close friends. There is normally an exchange of gifts and cash. After this roka ceremony, the girl and the boy are considered engaged to each other and are also allowed to court. The wedding date is fixed after roka.
The ceremony usually takes at the groom's house or it may be at a banquet hall, hotel or club, if the number of guests is large. During the ceremony, the pandit performs "havan". The girl's father applies the "tikka" (made of kesar, rice grains and flower petals) on the boy's forehead who takes the blessing from the girl's family members. Each of the relatives and friends present from the girl's side then offers mithai to the boy and gives cash.
On this occasion, the boy's parents and relatives visit the girl's house. The boy's sister or sister in law meets the girl first and traditionally presents her a red "chunni" or a red sari. After dressing the girl in clothes brought by the boy's family, they then lead her to the venue of the ceremony where her future mother gives her gifts and adorns her with jewellery. The boy and the girl exchange rings and the girl is then given gifts, in cash and kind, by all those present from the boy's side.
On of the attractive and interesting part of the marriage ceremony is "sangeet". After sagan on every night till the wedding day, the relatives and friends get together for singing sessions both at the boy's as well as the girl's house. One day is fixed for special sangeet session which is attended and celebrated by both the sides together.
Mehendi is applied on the bride's hands and feet either by a family member or by a professional but the important factor is that the Mehendi is sent by the boy's side as part of the kwar dhoti, sent by the boy's family on the wedding day.
This is done in two parts. Ceremonies are performed separately at the bride's house as well as the groom's house.
Ceremonies at the girl's house
The "chuda" ceremony begins with a "havan" or "puja" performed by the pandit. The oldest mama and mami (or those performing this ceremony) keep a fast till chuda. The chuda, i.e., the set of cream and red ivory bangles, is not shown to the girl just before the ceremony. After the puja everybody present is supposed to touch the chuda, in a manner of offering their good wishes to the girl. The chuda preceded by a mauli which is tied by the pandit on the girl's wrist. Four lamps are lit and the bride-to-be is made to sit in front of them. Oil is constantly added to the diyas so that the glow will be reflected on her face and she will look more beautiful on the wedding eve. A paste of turmeric powder and mustard oil is applied to her body and then the bride is given a bath with holy water. The bride then wears her bridal attire, which is as per tradition given by the maternal uncle.
Ceremonies at the Boy's house
The bridegroom is applied a paste of turmeric and mustard oil and is bathed by water brought by his sister in law from the temple. His maternal uncle presents his attire. Thus maternal uncles play an important role in Punjabi marriages. After he has bathed and changed into his new clothes, puja is performed. The boy's father or an elderly relative is given the honour of tying the "sehra" on his head. A pink colour turban is first touched by all the relatives present before it is tied on the boy's head. The groom then leaves for the venue.
As the time of the mahurat approaches, the boy is led to the "vedi" where the pundit performs puja for the boy. The first few mantras are recited by the boy only. This is the time for the mischievous pranksters from the girl's side to make a grab for the boy's shoes, which they later exchange for money. Thereafter the girl is led to the "vedi". Then the ritual of "kanya daan" takes place where the girl's father puts a ring on the boy's finger before placing his daughter's hand in his. Thereafter the couple take the seven phera's round the holy fire.
Post Wedding Ceremony
As per tradition on her first day in her new home, the bride is made to cook something, preferably a sweet dish like halwa or kheer. The parents and relatives of the groom give gifts and presents to the bride. The first day after the wedding is also an occasion when the newly weds visit the girl's parents. Both the girl and the boy are given gifts of clothes and jewellery by the girl's parents and relatives.
Sindhi marriage ceremon
"Kuchcha Shagun" is solemnised by the parents of the bride and bridegroom where the couple get to see each other and rings are exchanged. Thus after this ceremony the couple is engaged. The parents of the bridegroom give gifts and presents in the form of clothes, money and jewellery to the bride and vice versa. Mehendi ceremony, which is performed 3-4 days earlier to the marriage, is celebrated amidst songs and fan fare. An interesting ritual is "Sath" where the bride & the groom a day before the wedding have to break the cover of a small earthen pot in one shot with the shoes they have been wearing since morning. The same shoes then has to be worn on the wedding day.
The marriage begins with the "thread ceremony" of the bridegroom if he has not done it before. The bride and groom are seated next to each other and then the bride's mother washes the feet of the couple placed in a plate while the pundit chants mantras. The couple then takes the phera's round the holy fire. Here there is an option of phera's. the couple can take either three, four or seven phera's. The marriage comes to an end after parents and elders bless the couple.
Post Marriage Ceremony
After the marriage, the bride opens the lock of the groom's house, establishing her entry in to the new house. She sprinkles milk all over the house and puts salt in the hands of her in-laws who return it to her in the belief and hope that she will mingle freely with her new family. The bride is then lavished with gifts, cash, clothes and gold.
Muslim Marriage Ceremon
Muslim marriage according to Muslim laws is a contract. The celebration of a Muslim marriage is called "Nikah''. Its validity depends upon the consent of both parties, called "Ijab" and "Qabul". The declaration and acceptance should be in the presence of two male witnesses and a "mehr" is usually decided, which should not be less than 10 dirhams. The Muslim law appoints no specific religious ceremony, nor is any religious rites necessary for the contraction of a valid marriage. The religious ceremony is left entirely to the discretion of the Qazi or the person who performs the wedding. Some only recite the "Fatihah" and the "Durud". The usual practice is for the groom to recite the lines after the Qazi ending with "Qabul, Qabul, Qabul".
The most common order of performing the service is that the Qazi, the bridegroom and the bride's attorney, with the witnesses assemble in some convenient place. Arrangements are made as to the amount of dower or mehr. The bridegroom then repeats various lines after the Qazi ending with "qabul, qabul, qabul".
After the "nikaah" the groom is taken to the "zenana" (ladies' section). At the threshold, he gives money and gifts to the sister of the bride. The groom receives the blessings of the elder women and offers them his salaam or salutations. Dinner is served separately to the ladies and the gentlemen. For the first time, after dinner both the couple are seated together and a "dupatta" is used to cover their heads while the "maulvi" makes them recite prayers.
The groom stays overnight in a separate room at the girl's house with a younger brother. In the morning, the boy's family comes to accompany the bridal couple to their home. During the "rukhsat", the father of the bride gives her hand to her husband and asks him to protect her forever.
Christian Marriage Ceremony
The fanfare of the Christian marriage begins with the engagement party. Engagement parties usually given by the bride's family often precede the Christian marriages. The "bridal shower", an informal party is organized by the bride's family or friends and consists of only women. Similarly, the groom enjoys the bachelor party or the stage party, which is hosted by him, the ushers or a friend. It takes place just before the wedding.
The Marriage Ceremony
Tradition demands that the bridegroom reach the church first and await his bride there. The best man - usually from the bridegroom's party - greets the bride with a kiss and her wedding bouquet. The procession to the church is usually in one of these ways:
1. The Priest may greet the couple at the door of the church, bless them, and lead them in; or
2. The bride may proceed up to her waiting bridegroom at the altar on her father's arm; or
3. The bride may walk in alone to her bridegroom at the altar, preceded by first the pageboys and flower maids, the bridesmaid - best man pairs, and followed by a single bridesmaid carrying her veil.
The bridal couple kneels before the altar. While the basic celebration of the mass is as usual, there is usually a mention by the priest about the couple who intend to marry and that both of them should treat each other with love and respect. The nuptial section of the mass is well known. In the presence of two witnesses from either side, the groom and the bride declare their intention to take each other as man and wife with the famous lines "I, Y, take you, X, to be my lawfully wedded wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health till death do us part," with bride repeating the phrases. The best man usually carries both the rings, which are handed over to the priest who then asks the couple to put them on each other's fourth finger of the left hand. This done, he blesses the couple and declares them as man and wife. And then we have the traditional wedding kiss.
Post Marriage ceremony
After the marriage ceremony the bridal couple proceed either home or to a studio for a photographic session, or straight to the reception to celebrate their wedding.
Sikh Wedding Ceremony
A Sikh wedding is described as "Anand Karaj" - a ceremony of bliss, which is basically similar to the Hindu marriage ceremony but differs only in the use of religious text, which is from "Granth Sahib".
For "shagun" (engagement) the bride's family goes to the groom's house with all kinds of sweet, fruits and other gifts of clothes and jewelry. The girl's father (in his absence the brother or any other elderly male member of the family) gives the groom-to-be a gold ring, a "kara" (bangle) with a minimum of eleven gold mohra (sovereigns). These are later strung in to a black thread and put around the girl's neck after the wedding.
After the "shagun", the groom's family (usually close female relatives) comes to the girl's house with the wedding "chunni" (veil) and is given gifts, gold ring and other jewellery. The boy's mother puts a bit of mehendi (henna) on the girl's palms to declare her engaged.
Mehendi and sangeet
The mehendi ceremony is celebrated with lots of fun and frolic. All the girls of the family and the bride's friends apply mehendi on the girls palm and feet and there is dancing and singing. Every one invited is given bundi ladoos as a take-away gift.
Battana and Nahai Dhoi
This is a ritual, which is observed by almost all the community, which is the ritual of applying paste of turmeric, sandal, cream and rosewater by both the bride as well as the groom. The bride/groom is scrubbed clean under the shade of a "bagh" ( phulkari cloth fully embroidered on the hand made cotton fabric, dyed at home). After the bath the bride is covered with the same "bagh" and lifted up by the maternal uncle and made to wear the "chura" (bangles of red and white) and the "kaliras", (the tinsel wedding ornaments) which are tied to bangles by sisters and friends of the bride.
The Wedding Attire
The bride usually dresses in a heavily embroidered "salwaar-kameez" or "lehenga-chunni". The groom also gets dressed in a brocade "achakan" (long coat) and "churidar pyjamas" and usually wears a pink turban. The male members of the family also wear pink turbans, in the presence of their relatives. Now the groom is ready to go to the marriage venue. The "barat" arrives at the bride's house in a procession with music, singing, dancing, and sometimes firing gunshots in the air as well and the male members of the bride's family receive them.
The Wedding Ceremony
A Sikh wedding always takes place before noon. "Raagis" sing hymns prescribed for morning worship and the "Diwar". When the morning hymns are over, the couple is made to sit in front of the "Granth Sahib". A priest first tells them the meaning of marriage and the duties and responsibilities involved in it. He reads the hymns of the marriage from the "Granth", which are sung along. A slight variation from the Hindu marriage ceremony is that in Sikh ceremony only four pheras are taken by the groom and the bride round the "Granth Sahib". At the end of the fourth round, people shower flowers on them and they are declared husband and wife. Then everybody present garlands and blesses them.
Post Wedding Ceremony
The bride leaves for her new home after the marriage. She throws wheat grains over her shoulders signifying that she is paying off her debt of food to the parental home. This ritual is called "doli". The doli is received by the groom's mother. A vessel containing wheat grains is placed on the door. Then the bride kicks the vessel full of wheat grain and enters the house denoting that now her food is in the new home and that her entry brings prosperity and abundance. She then steps into the house and is welcomed by the relatives, friends, and neighbors. Each one feeds her ladoos and gives her Mukh Dekhai (money to behold her). It is usual for the groom and his mother to gift her some jewellery as the Mukh Dekhai. The day after the wedding, the couple goes to the bride's parental home and is given presents and a welcome feast.
Buddhist Marriage Ceremony
A Buddhist marriage is very traditional, simple and does not include lot of complicated rituals.
Once the horoscope of the boy and the girl match, the family of the groom consult the lama for an auspicious day for proposing the marriage. After consulting the lama (priest), the groom's family chooses an auspicious day to visit the bride's house to ask her parents for their daughter's hand in marriage. "Chessian" is the betrothal ceremony. The maternal uncle of the parent of the bride sit on a raised platform and the lama, or the priest, recites a prayer and distributes a religious drink, "madyan", among those present. The date of marriage is fixed in consultation with the astrologer.
The marriage ceremony is a very private affair and only very close family friends are invited. A Buddhist lama (priest) presides over the wedding. The wedding ceremony is conducted at the bride's home. The lama leads the couple through the religious rites that include the groom's family offering the mother of the bride the price of milk. After the religious rites the couple is declared as man and wife.Then depending on the horoscope, the bride accompanies her husband to her new house either on the same day, or the next day.
Post Marriage Ceremony
At her husband's house she is received by her mother-in-law. A feast is then arranged.