Brides of India

THARA RAJEEV By THARA RAJEEV, 24th Jun 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Weddings

THE JOURNEY THROUGH DIVERSIFIED INDIAN WEDDING CULTURES.......

Marriage is an idea!A malleable idea!Marriage is what you make of it.......................



Your wedding is one of the most significant and memorable events of your life. It is the beginning of a wonderful journey with the one you love, the uniting of families and the bonding of two souls.

A bride anywhere in the world signals joy. However, in India particularly she is welcomed as Saubhagyavati: "The fortunate one", the harbinger of auspiciousness into the home.

The traditional bride fulfils the promise of her community and is in turn fulfilled by it. While she epitomises the cultural style of her community, the means by which she is decorated depend heavily on the skill of local craft traditions. For once the age old art of adornment walks hand- in-hand with a traditional socio-economic wisdom and the skills of generations of anonymous jewelers, weavers and other silent workmen.

India is a land of varied culture. And so wedding traditions vary across religion, caste, ethnicity, language, region, etc

South Asian weddings are very bright events, filled with ritual and celebration, that continue for several days. They are generally not small affairs, with anywhere between 100 to 10,000 people attending. Traditional Indian weddings are generally structured into pre-wedding ceremonies wedding day ceremonies and the Vidaai.
North Indian Wedding

North Indian weddings also follow a lot of rituals and customs. North Indian wedding traditions include many rites and rituals performed on the D-day.

In traditional North Indian weddings, the main ceremony takes place at the brides' home. There are many pre-wedding and post-wedding ceremonies as well. The most important of the former is the Mangni or Sagai or engagement ceremony. On the auspicious day of the wedding, the bride's father treats the groom to yogurt and honey and graciously welcomes him into the household. One of the most important of North Indian wedding traditions is the exchanging of garlands, commonly referred to as the Jaimala ceremony and is symbolic of accepting one another.

Tamil Wedding

Traditional Tamil Wedding - The Epitome of glamour

For the tradition bound Tamil community marriage is an occasion for great extravagance, pomp and splendor. Tamil weddings are sacred religious ties between the families of the bride and bridegroom. They are elaborate, expensive and emotional events, which are eagerly awaited by all young girls and boys. These weddings are usually well attended by close as well as distant relatives. Some rituals may differ slightly in different communities but the most significant rituals of the marriage events remain the same.

Pre wedding rituals r

Panda Kaal: The blessings of the family deity are invoked to conduct the wedding in a peaceful manner. In certain communities like the mudaliar and chettiar in Tamilnadu, the Ganesha puja is performed while erecting the pandal for the marriage. A bamboo with an odd number of eyes is smeared with haldi and kumkum by nine married ladies and this is erected for the four legged pandal.

Nalangu: Here the bride is made to be seated on a wooden plank on the dais. A banana leaf filled with uncooked rice is spread beneath this plank. The married women apply sandal paste, kumkum and sprinkle rose water on the bride and also perform the aarti for the bride. Welcoming the Groom: The groom's family arrives at the wedding hall in the morning, a day prior to the wedding. They are welcomed with flower, paan, fruits and sugar. Rose water is sprinkled on the groom. A tilak is applied on his forehead by the bride's brother and the bride's mother offers him a sweet dish prepared from condensed milk. An aarti is taken and coconut broken to the ground to ward off evil spirits.

Vratham: This ritual is performed a day prior to the wedding by the family of the bride as well as the groom. Vedic hymns are recited and the blessings of the ancestors are invoked. Following this is the ceremony of 'Palikai Tellichal' in which the married ladies from the groom's family participate.

Clay pots are filled with grains. The married women from both the sides sprinkle water on the pots filled with nine varieties of grains. Traditional songs are sung. When the grains sprout the next day after the wedding they are immersed in a river or a pond where fishes may feed on the grains and bless the newly weds.

Naandi: This is a traditional ceremony when the Brahmins are honored with sweets and gifts.

Jaanavaasam: This is a custom that is in practice for several generations. The groom gets dressed in a suit gifted for this occasion by the bride's family. He is seated in a decorated car and is escorted to the venue of the wedding by a large procession full of family and friends.

Nicchiyadhartham: The groom's family gifts a Saree to the bride. She wears this saree and with kumkum and sandal paste applied to her forehead and an aarti is performed for her with her saree pallav filled with fruits and betel nut, turmeric, coconut and kumkum with a garland around her waist.

Lagna Pathirigai: The Vaadyar reads the wedding invitation 'lagna pathirigai' which contains information regarding the muhurtam and the venue of the wedding along with the date. An elaborate dinner follows.

Tamil wedding rituals

Mangala snaanam and Kasi Yatra: The bride and the groom have an auspicious holy bath 'snaanam' on the day of the wedding in their respective homes. Oil and tilak of haldi kumkum is applied before the bath is given.

The groom pretends he is leaving for Kasi for a pilgrimage. The girl's father stops him and persuades him to return and wed his daughter. In some Tamil communities aPadapuja is performed by the groom when he washes the parents' feet before proceeding on the mock Kasi yatra. The bride performs a Mahalakshmi Puja invoking the goddess of wealth and then performs the Padapuja for her parents.

A Manai Pongal is cooked in a clay pot by the groom's parents while the bride and the groom get dressed. On their return the eldest sumangalis greets them with garlands and the couple enters the pandal after offering prayers before the deities.

Oonjal: Garlands are now exchanged between the bride and the groom and amidst fun and frolic and the bride and groom are seated next to each other on a swing.

Kanyadaanam: The bride is seated in her father's lap with coconut in her hands. The bride and her father offer coconut to the groom. The bride's mother pours water over the coconut symbolizing the giving away of their daughter. A nine-yard saree is presented to the bride by the groom's family for her to wear at the time of tying the Mangalsutra.

Muhurtham: The bride wears the nine yard saree with the help of her sister in law. The bride's father sits on a sack of paddy and the bride in turn sits on her father's lap. Paddy symbolically represents abundance and good fortune. The Mangalsutra is sent around for the family members, relatives and friends to touch and bless the couple. The sacred thread is now handed over to the bridegroom which he ties around the neck of the bride. The groom ties two knots and the third one is tied by the groom's eldest sister. The three knots denote the union of mind, spirit and body.

In certain other Tamil weddings the 'mangalyam' is made out of gold in the shape of a tiger tooth. Legend has it that in ancient times the groom killed a tiger and pulled out its tooth and tied it around the bride's neck thereby proving his valor. Nadeswaram plays in the background and 'Melam' follows and the couple is blessed with the showering of rice dipped in turmeric and flowers presented to them at the ceremony.

Saptapadi: The bride and the The bride and the groom go around the holy fire seven times. In every round the bride touches her feet to the grindstone firming up the union of the couple forever.

Post Wedding rituals

Sammandhi Mariyathai: The two families of the bride and the groom exchange clothes and gifts during this ceremony. Laaja Homam: This is a traditional ritual in which the bride's brother offers the popped rice to Agni seeking the blessings of the sacred fire signifying the power and light of God.

Grihapravesham: Once the wedding rituals are over the bride is escorted by the groom to the new house. She is welcomed in the groom's home by a traditional Aarti and lunch is served.

Reception: This is an occasion for friends of families and business colleagues to wish the newly weds.

The tamil wedding feast

The wedding lunch is served on special banana leaf and positioning of the items in the elaborate menu follows a particular order. Thair pachadi, pickle and salt, lentil salad, vadai, sweet pachadi, appalam and Lassi follow. A couple of vegetable curries also follow. Steamed rice is heaped and hot ghee is poured over it. Sambar, morkuzhambu and rasam are the traditional gravies. Traditional sweets such as payasam, badam kheer or mysore pak find place in the traditional wedding feast

Telugu wedding

Pre-wedding ceremonies

* Pendlikoothuru/pendlikodugu - The respective families apply oil and turmeric to the bride and the groom. Bangles, flowers, betel leaves and nuts and sweets are given to elderly women and their blessings are sought.
* Mangala snanam - The respective maternal uncles apply oil on the bride and groom.
* Snathakam - This is for the groom wherein he is asked to wear a silver thread on his body, this is done a few hours before the actual muhurtham.
* Gauri pooja - The bride worships Goddess Durga in the form of Gauri and while doing so inserts both her legs and hands into a bamboo basket.
* Ganesha pooja - While the bride worships Gauri, the groom worships Lord Ganesha and seeks his blessings for an obstacle free wedding.
* Kashi yathra - This is a unique ceremony, the groom pretends to leave for Kashi thus disowning the worldly pleasures. The bride's brother requests him to come back and accept the bride and lead a family life


Wedding ceremonies

* Kanyadanam - The bride's uncles carry the bride in a bamboo basket and bring her to the mandapam for the kanyadanam. A screen is held in between the bride and the groom and is removed at the time of tying the mangal sutra.
* Jeerakaalu-bellamu - The priest recites shlokas from the Vedas and the bride and the groom place jeerakaalu-bellamu on each others heads. This signifies that as two different ingredients mix together so should a husband and a wife.
* Tying the mangalsutra - The screen is removed and the groom ties the mangal sutra on the bride's neck with three knots. The bride and the groom hold their hands and are asked to see the pole star or Dhruva.
* Kanyadaan akshatha - After the mangalsutra is tied, the bride and the groom exchange garlands and elders shower akshatha (yellow rice) on the newly married couple.
* Saptapadi - The bride's sari and the groom's angavasthra are knotted together and they go around the sacred fire seven times.
* Sthaalipakkam - A silver toe ring is slipped into the bride's feet by the groom and she is asked to see the Arundathi star and seek the blessings of God.


Post-wedding ceremony

* Grihapravesh - The bride enters the groom's house for the first time.
* Uniting the mangalsutra's - After 16 days the two separate mangalsutras tied on the day of the marriage are united into one.

The bride wears a bright colored sari; red color is considered very auspicious. She wears gold and pearl jewelry and lots of flowers on her hair. The groom wears dhoti and if it is a Brahmin wedding they are bare bodied on the upper torso and wear an angavasthram alone.

Telugu wedding feasts comprise pachadi made from neem leaves, banana, jaggery, sugar cane and tamarind. The feast includes a variety of sambar, curry and sweets
Kannada Wedding

Kannada weddings are the weddings of Kannadiga, the people of Karnataka. Kannada Hindu weddings are based on their regional cultures and traditions.

There are a number of pre-wedding rituals performed by the Kannadigas. They are not very colorful, but are based on the culture and faith on God. They do differ from region to region, as per the traditions.

Pre Wedding Rituals

In Karnataka, the pre wedding rituals commence with Nischay Tamulam or Fixing of the Alliance. After the horoscope matching a date for the Engagement of the wedding, called Nischay Tamulam, is arranged. The parents of both the bride and the groom agree for the marriage of their children in such a ceremony. The parents of the boy go to the bride's home and present her a sari, blouse piece, coconut and fruits. The bride's parents give the boy a dhoti, coconut and many fruits. A priest recites mantras.

Naandi

Both the bride and the groom perform this ritual in their respective houses, to ensure the marriage takes place uninterruptedly.

Kashi Yatra

In a typical Kannada wedding, the groom pretends of leaving for Kashi as he is unable to find a suitable bride. Then his maternal uncle shows him the bride he has chosen for him. Seeing her, the groom cancels his journey and agrees to marry her.

Wedding Rituals

On the wedding day, the mandapa and the hall are purified by doing pooja. The bride's father receives the groom by washing his feet, which is called Var puja. He makes him sit on the designated place in the mandap and then the bride too is brought there to sit next to him. In a traditional Kannada wedding, the bride wears a navari or a nine-yard sari and green glass bangles, adorned with fine jewelleries. The groom wears a silk dhoti and pitambar. Chanting of holy mantras, they exchange garlands.

The bride's father gives away her daughter to the groom, by placing a coconut and betel over their hands and pouring holy water. This is called Dhare Herdu custom. The groom then ties the mangalasutra around his bride's neck, and holding her hand, walks seven rounds around the holy fire.

After witnessing the wedding, the guests are led to the hall where a grand feast is arranged. The food is served in banana leaves.

Post-wedding Rituals of a Kannada Wedding

After the lunch, the bride is escorted to her marital home with her husband where she is warmly welcomed by his parents. For this, a vessel filled with rice is kept at the entrance of the house and she is asked to knock it inside the house, with her right foot, and then to enter the house. This custom is called Grihapravesha

The groom decides a new name for his bride and inscribes it with a ring on a plate, containing rice.

The bride's parents visit there and take the newly wedded couple to spend few days at their house. Then the groom's family goes and bring them back to their house.

Reception

A reception is organized in a banquet hall by the groom's family,for the relatives and friends,to introduce the newly married couple and wish them for a successful marriage. Mouth watering delicacies are served for this function.

KERALA WEDDING

In Kerala weddings, Nair wedding is the simplest of all wedding ceremonies. A traditional Nair wedding is conducted in a nearby temple or a Kalayana Mantapa.

simplicity and brevity mark a typical Malayalee Nair wedding. Lasting barely a few minutes, a Kerala wedding is one with little rituals and far lesser religious compulsions. The Malayalee month Chingam is considered to be the most auspicious month to conduct malayalee weddings. The months of Midhunam, Karkatakam and Kanni are generally avoided. However, even during the inauspicious months, malayalee weddings do take place in Guruvayoor temple, the abode of Lord Guuvayurappan.

Pre- Kerala Wedding Rituals

Nischayam - Once the groom is chosen, the elders of both the families decide

about engagement known as "Nischayam". They seek the help of Astrologer for an auspicious date and time called "Muhurtham". A function is arranged for this announcement of marriage, during which the wedding rings are exchanged. (If this cannot be done during this function, it can be done at the wedding time.) Immediately after a Hindu marriage ceremony, food is served to the guests. Ayana (Prenuptial blessing of the bride) - A function is held at the bride's residence on the previous day of the wedding where the bride takes the blessings of her elders. Her close family members and friends are invited for this function, and a grand feast is arranged for them. In the same way, in the groom's house too, such a function is arranged, for his relatives and friends.

Marriage ceremony in a Kerala Wedding - Marriages are conducted either in the temple or in the Kalyana Mantapa of the wedding hall. Both the bride and the groom, with their parents and relatives arrive at the venue, separately. If it is in the temple, the priest performs the marriage in a very simple way. In a kalyana mantapa, the bride groom is received ceremoniously, and made to sit in a wooden plank on the right side of the canopy, which is decorated with flowers, fabric, palm fronds and banana stalks. The bride is escorted by her aunt to the mantapam, and made her sit next to the groom, amidst the special music of the 'nadaswaram' and the 'thakil'.

At the auspicious moment, the family priest performs the nuptial ceremony by chanting Vedic mantras and the couple walks around the Agni, the fire God thrice, after which the groom ties the 'Mangalsutra' or 'tali' around the neck of the bride to the beating of drums. This ritual is called Talikettu.The wedding rings are exchanged if it was not done on the "Nischayam day".

Below Nischaya ceremony and right - Newly engaged couple in the traditional dress.

The bridegroom gifts the bride a sari and a blouse on a platter, conveying to her that he will now assume the responsibility of providing for her life. This ritual is called Pudamuri. The couple exchange garlands accepting each other as life partners. The bride's father places her right hand in the right hand of the bridegroom, symbolically transferring the responsibility of taking care of his daughter, in holy matrimony. This ritual is called Kanyadan. Then they are escorted to a room by their older relatives, who bless them. The guests too follow them and bless them with gifts.

After witnessing the Kerala wedding rituals, the guests are requested to have food. Sadhya or typical Kerala meal including rice, three varieties of pickle, curries and sweets, Sambhar, Avial, toran, olan, kalan, pacchadi, payasam, pappads is served on plantain leaves to the guests along with payasam like paladaaprathaman or chaka prathaman as a dessert. The newly wedded couple,after receiving and taking the blessings of all the relatives and friends, too join them, along with their parents and close relatives.

Post Kerala wedding Rituals - Once the guests are disbursed, the bridegroom takes his wife,with his parents and family members to his house. This ceremony is called Kudivepu or Gruhapravesha. This is the bride's first visit to her husband's house and she is expected to wear the sari gifted by her husband at the wedding time. She will be welcomed to her husband's house ceremoniously at the auspicious moment, by performing 'aarthi' with a typical Kerala metal lamp. The newly wedded couple enter the house with right foot forward. The bride is required to kick over a large measure of rice, symbolizing prosperity in her new home.

The Reception - The groom's family arranges for a reception, if they wish, where all his relatives and friends, and the close relatives of the bride, are invited.

Marwari Wedding

Weddings are very elaborate in the Marwari community, wedding rituals stretching for days on end. Marwaris prefer to match the horoscopes of the bride and the groom taking the help of their family astrologer. They select the bride and the groom from their own community.

Pre-wedding ceremonies

* Tika (engagement) ceremony or betrothal is held in the bride groom's house and the bride does not take part in the ceremony. The function is attended only by the male members of the family. The bride's brother applies a tilak on the groom's forehead to confirm the future relationship.
* Griha shanthi and Ganapathi sthapana is a very important ceremony in any Marwari wedding and is held just a couple of weeks before the wedding. The ceremony is held separately at both the bride's and the groom's house, an idol of Lord Ganesha is installed in the house and puja is performed by the family priest. All other ceremonies are celebrated only after this ceremony.
* Pithi dastoor/ ban ceremony - Turmeric and sandal paste is applied for the bride and the groom in their respective houses. This ceremony is very elaborate in the bride's house, the bride dresses in the traditional Rajasthani attire called poshak (orange in color). The bride has to walk under a silk cloth canopy carried by four women from the same family. The women hold the corners of the silk cloth and guide the bride to the ladies gathering where the paste is applied on her. After this ceremony, the bride and the groom cannot leave their house until the wedding ceremony.
* Mehfil is an essential part of the Marwari wedding, and is held during the evenings. Mehfils are held separately for the men and women folk. The women folk dress elaborately and dance to the tunes of traditional Marwari songs. The bride and the groom are seated in their respective mehfils and are allowed to take part in the dance occasionally.
* Janev ceremony is one where the groom is dressed like an ascetic and is given the choice of family life and ascetic life. The groom pretends to take up the ascetic life while the maternal uncle of the groom convinces the groom to take up family life.
* Palla dastoor containing clothes, jewelry and gifts for the groom to wear on the wedding day is brought to the groom's house by the bride's relatives.
* Toran - The groom hits the toran tied in the bride's house with a neem stick, this ceremony is named as the "toranachar". They believe that this ceremony wards off the evil eyes. The groom is welcomed by the bride's mother by applying tilak and performing aarti.
* Jaimala - The initial step to the wedding, the bride and the groom exchange garlands with each other


Marwari Wedding ceremony

* Granthi-bandhan - The cloth around the groom's waist and the dupatta of the bride are knotted to indicate the union of the bride and the groom.
* Paanigrahan - The groom takes the bride's hands in his signifying the future they have ahead.
* Pheras - The groom and the bride go around the sacred fire four times in the mandap and three times at the entrance.
* Ashwahrohan - The bride puts her feet on a grinding stone and indicates that the bride will face the future challenges with courage. The bride's brother places puffed rice in the sister's hands. She passes it to the groom and later offers it to the sacred fire; this ceremony signifies the brother's good wishes for his sister.
* Vamang-sthapana and sindurdaan - The groom requests the bride to sit on his left hand side indicating that he has placed her in his heart. He then fills the partition on her head with vermillion or sindur.
* Saptapadi - The bride and the groom walk seven steps together signifying that they will walk together all their lives. Seven sentences of promise are said by both the bride and the groom.
* Aanjhala bharaai - The father-in-law of the bride puts a bag full of money in the bride's lap. The bride gives a part of this money to her sister-in-law (husband's sister) and her husband. After this the bride and the groom leave the mantap.
* Paharavani - The groom is made to sit on a new cloth and a tika is applied on his forehead. The bride's side womenfolk take him for the fun-filled shloka session where the groom is asked to recite poems. After this the bride breaks an earthen lamp in the dahaleez (porch of her hose) and proceeds to her in-laws house along with her husband.
* Bidai - A coconut is placed under the wheels of the car and the bride lifts the veil covering her face for the first time in front of her husband and the husband gives his wife a gift on this occasion.


Post-wedding ceremonies

* Grihapravesh - After the bride and groom reach the groom's house, grihapravesh is performed along with various other puja's.
* Pagelagni - This ceremony is conducted the day after the grihapravesh, the bride still under her veil is introduced to all the family members who in turn give her gifts.

The bride usually wears the typical Rajasthani poshak consisting of a Ghaghra, blouse, and duppatta. The color of the dress is red, bright yellow, orange or pink. The bride is adorned with lots of jewelry especially a rakhri (a globular piece of jewel hanging from the forehead), timaniyaan (a choker studded with uncut diamonds), chooda (a set of ivory and gold bangles), hanging earrings, bajuband or gold and stone-studded armlets, gold anklets, bichhiya or gold toe-rings, and nath or the stone-studded nose-ring.

The groom in a traditional Marwari wedding wears achkan or the long coat in golden color. A saffron color turban is worn along with a churidhar and regal shoes. Marwari wedding feast is a purely vegetarian affair

Sindhi wedding

Customary Sindhi weddings have numerous colorful customs that make for an interesting and enjoyable event. Once the bride and the groom's families agree for the wedding, an auspicious date is fixed for the wedding. A priest (mehraj) fixes the date for the wedding after matching the horoscope of the future bride and bridegroom. In case the families are unable to find a date, hey settle for a Gudhuro marriage, which can be performed any time after sunset. Listed below are the customary proceedings of a Sindhi wedding.

Pre-wedding ceremonies

* Kachchi Misri or Kachcha Shagun is a ceremony performed once the wedding is approved. Five kilos of mithai, a basket of fruits, five coconuts and kada prasad made from wheat, and some cash is sent to the groom's house from the bride's family. This ceremony confirms the future relationship between the two families and is also called as the ladki rokna ceremony. The wedding takes place after about six months after this ceremony.
* Pakki Mishri is the formal betrothal between the bride and the groom and is held just a week before the wedding. The bride and the groom exchange rings during this ceremony. A basket each of fresh and dry fruits, one kilo of mishri (sugar candy), eleven coconuts and ten kilos of sweets, some cash, and ten kilos of sugar is sent from the bride's family to the grooms family. Along with this the clothes and accessories required by the groom for the wedding is also sent.
* Dev Bithana is celebrated a few days prior to the wedding where a priest installs a chakki (grinding stone) as a totemic deity. This ceremony is celebrated both in the bride's and the groom's house.
* Lada indicates the beginning of the wedding arrangements in the groom's house. Traditional wedding songs are sung with either a dholak (drum) or plain thali (plate). This function is fun filled.
* Berana ceremony is a satsang held ten days before the wedding.
* Tih - The family priest of the brides house carries a bag of rice, cardamom, cloves, sugar candy, and green color silk yarn along with a paper on which the lagan (auspicious time for marriage) is written.
* Saanth ceremony is conducted separately both in the brides and the grooms house, oil is applied on the head of both the bride and the groom by married women. Old clothes worn by the bride and the groom are torn off and thrown in the river/sea to indicate a new beginning.
* Mehendi ceremony is held a day prior to the wedding. Henna is applied on the hands and the feet of the bride.
* Ladies sangeet ceremony is filled with fun, women dance to their favorite tunes.
* Ghari Puja is held at both the brides and the grooms place to seek the blessings of their family Gods.
* Baraat - The groom wears a crown (sehra) and sits on a mare accompanied by friends and relatives. The procession is accompanied by a music band and people dance all the way along the procession.
* Swaagat - The bride groom and his family is welcomed by the bride's family with gifts and sindur (vermilion).

Wedding ceremonies

* Paon dhulai - The groom and the bride are seated opposite each other with a cloth separating them. The groom's feet are washed on a bronze plate with fresh milk. The feet of the bride and the groom are measured by the priest with a thread that the bride holds.
* Jaimala - Exchanging of garlands between the bride and the groom.
* Hathialo - The palm of the right hand of both the bride and the groom are tied with a thread. The bride's sari is tied to the scarf worn by the bride groom.
* Wedding ceremony - The bride and the groom walk around the holy fire four times and then the groom places the bride's hand on his forehead.
* Kanya daan - The bride's parents entrust their daughter to the groom's parents.

Post-wedding ceremonies

* Datar - The bride arrives at the groom's house. The bride sprinkles milk all around the house and places salt on her husband's hands. He then returns it to her and this is repeated thrice. This signifies that, as salt blends well so should the newly married bride mingle in the new in law's place.
* Chhanar - The chakki installed as the totemic deity is removed.
* Sataurah - The newly wed bride and groom visit the bride's house.

Typical Sindhi wedding dishes include stuffed tinda, kamal kakri curry, Sindhi mutton, dilpasand kadi, and palak in channa dhal. Sindhis love to dress well and what better time than Sindhi weddings to bring out the best!
Maharashtrian wedding

Maharashtrian wedding ceremonies are simple and less lavish when compared to other Indian weddings. Their weddings are held in the early in the morning.

Pre-wedding ritual

Sakhar puda: The betrothal ceremony is held after the wedding is confirmed from both sides. This ceremony literally means exchange of sugar packets between the bride's and the groom's family. The bride is gifted a sari from the groom's family on this occasion.

Kelvan: A puja is organized both in the houses of the bride and the groom. Prayers are offered to the kuldevatha (family deity) and lunch is served for guests.

Haldi ceremony: Just a day before the wedding, this ceremony is celebrated. Turmeric paste is applied on the bride's body to bring out her best complexion. Later the bride is given a bath by five married women. A similar function is held at the groom's place too.

Chuda: The bride is made to wear green bangles along with gold bangles for the wedding.

Maharashtrian Wedding rituals

Seemaan pooja: Once the groom's procession reaches the bride's house, the bride's parents wash the groom's feet, his parent's feet and the feet of the elders of their house. The groom receives gifts from the bride's parents.

Antarpat ceremony: Antarpat is a silk shawl that is used to separate the bride and the groom till the muhurath is through. The bride and the groom are accompanied to the center stage by their sisters who carry a kalash and an oil wick lamp in their hands. The bride is seated facing the west and the groom facing the east. The bride and the groom hold a garland in their hands as the priest chants holy verses (mantras) and the gathering blesses the couple. The bride and the groom see each other for the first time and they exchange garlands.

In a mantap decorated with flowers, the priest sits on the north side and the bride is seated on his right hand side and the groom is seated on his left hand side. The bride and the groom are not allowed to see each other till the mahurath.

Sankalp: The groom and bride seek the blessings of their elders and receive gifts from them. The bride's and the groom's parents greet each other and are served madhuparka (a mixture of milk, fruit, honey, yoghurt and ghee) by the priest.

Kanyadaan: The bride's father places her hand in the hands of the groom and the bride's mother pours water on it. The groom touches the right shoulder of the bride signifying that he has accepted her and also assuring the bride's father that he will take care of her all through her life.

Mangalsutra bandhan: A mangalsutra is tied by the groom around the bride's neck and he applies sindur on the hair parting. The bride applies a sandal tilak on the groom's forehead. The bride is gifted a silk sari and toe rings by her in-laws and she wears that indicating her acceptance to live in her in-laws household.

Vivaha homa: A vivaha homa is performed by the groom to invoke the blessings of the Almighty.

Satpadhi: The groom and the bride hold hands and walk seven steps in the southeast direction. A pile of rice is kept at every step and the couple step on the pile of rice at every step.

Karmasampati: This ritual signifies the end of the wedding ceremony. The bride's father takes water from his left hand and passes it to his right hand and recites a mantra (holy verse) to appease God. The bride and the groom too seek the blessings of the Almighty.

After the wedding ceremony, a lavish feast is organized and a traditional meal is served on a banana leaf. The bride is given a new name by her in-laws family and the groom writes this new name on the rice kept in a plate. The newly wed couple is welcomed by the groom's mother. An aarti is performed and the bride enters her new house after kicking a glass of rice kept at the entrance with her right foot.

Maharashtrian Wedding dress

The bride wears a traditional Maharashtrian green colored sari. Most commonly the Paithani type of sari is used. The typical Maharashtrian seven pearl studs are worn by the bride for the wedding. The bride wears green bangles considered to be very auspicious for any function. Toe rings, pearl and bead nath (nose ring) and a bright bindhi are worn by the bride. The groom is dressed in dhoti or salwar and kurta, or sherwani.

Wedding feasts are served on banana leaves and people are seated on the floor to eat their food. The bride and the groom and their families eat on silver plates. Few special Maharashtrian wedding delicacies include batata bhaji, pitlai, sheera, varan, shrikhand, vatanyachi usal .

Kashmiri weddings

The first step or rather ritual towards a Kashmiri Hindu wedding is the matching of the horoscopes of the prospective bride and groom. Once the horoscopes are matched and the alliance is finalized, the announcement of the wedding takes place with mango leaves strung on a strong cotton string and hung at the entrance of the home. This string of mango leaves is called 'bhandawar'. White clay 'multani mitti' is soaked in water and mixed with myriad colors and used to paint floral designs called 'krool' on the walls to mark this special wedding occasion.

Once the alliance is finalized, 'Kasamdary' which is a formal commitment on the part of the boy and girl's families to the marriage takes place. An auspicious date for the marriage is fixed in consultation with a purohit as per the Kashmiri almanac.

'Vazvan' refers to the exclusive traditional meal prepared by special Kashmiri cooks and sent to the boy's house from the girl's family. A Vazvan would consist of about fifty to sixty dishes prepared with delicate herbs and spices. The arrival of the Vazvan dishes signifies to the friends and relatives the announcement of the engagement of the boy.

Formal Engagement: According to the tradition, the elderly persons from both the sides meet in a temple and exchange flowers symbolizing the celebration and formalization of the marriage alliance. A formal meal comprising traditional Kashmiri food is well laid out by the bride's family. The elderly aunts of the prospective couples prepare 'Var' which is a special rice pudding. A musical evening follows; replete with Kashmiri folk songs.

Kashmiri Hindu wedding: Pre wedding ceremonies

Livun: This refers to the traditional cleansing of the house before the wedding. This is the place the traditional meals for the wedding are to be cooked.

Wanwun: These are music sessions held every evening at the houses of the boy and the girl. Relatives and neighbors participate in these lively and fun filled sessions.

Maanziraat: A traditional ceremony that takes place a week prior to the wedding, Maanziraat begins with Krool Khanun which involves decorating the door of the houses of the prospective bride and groom. An elaborate bathing ritual for the bride follows in the evening. The bride's hands are decorated with henna 'Maanz' and it is distributed among other relatives. Delicious Kashmiri meal is prepared and Wanwun follows.

Bariyan: This takes place two to three weeks prior to the wedding when flat lentil cakes or Bariyan are made to flag the wedding preparations in the houses of both the bride and the groom.

Thaals: The bride's family sends about fifty one thaals to the groom's family two to three days before the wedding. A thaal consist of sweets, fresh and dry fruits, khajur, ghee, sugar and a special mixture called gota made only during Kashmiri weddings.

Phoolan Ka Gehna: Fine jewelry and flowers are sent to the bride from the groom's family a couple of days prior to the wedding. The bride adorns herself with this jewelry as a symbol of her first shringar.

Sanzaru: The boy's family sends sanzaru for the bride - cosmetics, a small mirror, sindoor, a pamur or shawl and a special paan or betel leaf encased in silver and gold foil.

Devgon: This ceremony is carried on separately in both families. A fast is observed before this function begins. A sacred fire is lit and the purohit conducts the rituals. 'Kanishran' is an essential part of the ritual and this involves bathing the boy and girl with mixture of water, rice, milk and curd. Flowers are showered over the bride and groom to be and a new set of traditional attire is given. Dijaru which is an ear ornament and a sign of married woman in Kashmir is an essential item of jewellery in every Kashmiri wedding.

Kashmiri Hindu wedding ceremony

Kashmiri wedding can take place either in the morning or at night. The groom wears the customary pheran and waistband. A plate of rice containing some money is touched to the left shoulder of the groom. He rides a horse in the marriage procession to the bride's house. Shankhs or conch shells are blown and the groom and his family are greeted by the bride's party. The bride is carried near the groom by her maternal uncle and the bride and groom stand near each other on the vyog which has been specially created for the occasion.

The eldest female member of the family feeds nabad to the bride and groom and kisses them on their forehead. Two pots of rice are given away to the poor. The couple is led by the family purohit to the door. The purohit perform the dwar puja before leading the couple to the lagan Mandap.

The wedding ceremony starts with recitation of the slokas by the purohits. The couple is made to cross their arms over one another and hold hands covered with a cloth. This ritual is 'Aathwas'. According to the Kashmiri folklore, the one who manages to pull out the other's engagement ring shall play a dominant role in the married life of the couple. A 'Mananmal' golden thread is tied to the foreheads of the bride and groom. The left foot of the bride and groom are placed on a 'kajwat' grinding stone. The first phera around the sacred firs is made by stepping on a seven one rupee coins. They represent the seven pheras. The next six rounds are done amidst the chanting of mantras. They are considered man and wife now. The bride and the groom feed each other with rice at the end of the ceremony. 'Bidaai' is the time for the bride to leave her parents and go along with her husband to her new home with the in-laws.

On arrival at the groom's house, the groom's eldest aunt play fully refuses the newly weds entry until she is given cash or jewelry. She kisses them on the forehead, a pair of pigeons is set free and the Mananmal tied on their foreheads are exchanged.

On the evening of the wedding the bride accompanied by her groom and two children visit her parent's house for dinner. This ceremony is 'satraat' and the couple is presented new clothes by the bride's parents which they wear before returning home. The groom is specially given a 'dusa' a six yard pashmina shawl. A meter long and half meter wide cake decorated with nuts called 'roth khabar' is sent to the groom's family on a Tuesday or Saturday following the wedding.

Kashmiri Muslim Ceremony

A Kashmiri Nikaah or Muslim wedding ceremony is celebrated on a grand scale and it takes place over a period of three to five days.

Pre Nikaah rituals

Day one and two ceremonies: The bride's party goes to the groom's house carrying mehendi paste followed by the groom's party to the bride's house. Children carry candles which are lit before entering.

Maniha ceremony: The bride is made to be seated in a small square table and haldi (turmeric) provided by the boy's family is anointed on her. The bride bathes with turmeric spread all over her body and dresses in ceremonial yellow clothes but with no jewelry. A celebration of joy and singing begins.

Mehendi ceremony: This takes place at the home of the bride on the eve of the wedding day or sometimes a couple of days earlier. Relatives of the bride apply the turmeric paste over the bride with women singing traditional songs. The bride wears sober clothes on this day. It is customary that the bride remains at home after this and does not go out anywhere.

Kashmiri Nikaah

Baraat: The groom arrives at the venue in a wedding procession 'baraat' consisting of friends and relatives. Musicians strike traditional notes and the groom and bride's brother share a drink of sherbet. Pranks are played by the bride's sisters and they playfully slap the guests with batons made of flowers.

The Kashmiri Muslim wedding can take place either in a convenient venue or at the residence of the bride or groom. It is conducted by the 'Maulvi'. Close friends and relatives are invited. The fathers of the bride and the groom play prominent role in Kashmiri Nikaah.

In orthodox Muslim communities the men and the women are seated separately in Zenana for women and Mardaana for men. The maulvi reads certain verses from the Holy Quran. Thereafter 'liab-e-Qubul', that is proposal and acceptance takes place. For the legality of the marriage, the mutual consent becomes essential and important in Nikaah.

On the wedding day, the elderly members of both families decide on the amount of 'Mehar' nuptial gift - a mandatory price that the groom's family must pay the bride. The couple seeks blessings from elders.

Nikaahnama: The legal document is signed by the bride and the groom, Maulvi and Walis for the marriage to become legalized. It contains a set of terms and conditions that must be accepted by both the parties.

The wedding dinner is a lavish spread. Usually women and men dine separately. The newlyweds sit beside each other for the first time and their heads are covered with dupatta while they read prayers under the direction of the Maulvi. The Quran is placed between the couple and view each other only through mirrors.

The Ruksat is when the bride's family bid her a tearful adieu before she can depart to her groom's home. The father of the bride gives her hand to her husband and requests him to protect his loving daughter. The bride is now welcomed in the in-laws family with the groom's mother holding the holy Quran above the head of the newlywed daughter in law as she enters the new home for the first time.

The Chauthi is the fourth day after the wedding and it is customary for the bride to visit her parents' home. Valimah is the lavish reception that the groom's family hosts after the wedding. Here the relatives and friends of both the families' gather.

Kashmiri Hindu and Muslim wedding recipes:

During the Kashmiri Muslim wedding, the food served is the same as the 'Vazvan' food and it consists of Kashmiri biriyani, halwa and kulfi among other specialties. As many as twenty to twenty five dishes are prepared and served for the guests. These include seven basic vegetarian preparations and delicacies like kangach which is a rare and expensive dish; marchwangan pokare; madur pulao which is a sweet rice prepared on special occasions and shufta which is made of paneer, fried with nuts and sweetened with sugar.

Some of the special dishes prepared for the Kashmiri Hindu wedding are: Dum aalu, a delicious preparation made from potatoes and cooked with spices; Nadrooyakhni is a delicacy prepared from lotus plant cut across its width into pieces and cooked in milk and curd; Chock wangun comprises of brinjals cooked with spices to give a delicious bitter sweet taste; Vyath chaman is made of cottage cheese or paneer cut into large pieces and cooked with spices; Nich chaman is another paneer preparation where paneer is fried in turmeric and curd to give it a distinct yellow color; Nadroo hakh is a dish made of lotus stem cut in particular diagonal shape along with Kashmiri saag or collard greens; Mujchatni is made of white radish grated and mixed with green chillies and curd.

Gujrathi wedding

Gujrathi weddings are colorful events, rich with traditional bridal finery and tasty delicacies of the region. There are many fun-filled ceremonies that lead to the wedding nuptials.

Pre-wedding ceremonies

* Mantap muhurat marks the beginning of the wedding celebrations and is performed in both houses where prayers are offered to Lord Ganesh.
* Griha shanti puja is conducted to appease the grahas (stars) and ward off all evil effects.
* Jaan - The groom comes to the bride's house and takes the blessings of his future mother-in-law. In a traditional Gujrathi wedding the groom is welcomed by the mother-in-law by taking aarti and then she tries to hold the nose of the groom indicating that the groom has arrived in front of her house rubbing his nose and asking for her daughter.
* Jai mala - The bride and the groom exchange garlands and after this the groom's feet are washed and he is offered honey and milk (madhubarga). The groom's sisters-in-law steal his sandals and hide it and demand money to return the sandals


Traditional Gujrathi wedding

* Kanya daan is performed parents of the bride before the sacred fire.
* Hasta milap - The bride's pallu and the groom's shawl are tied into a knot and the bride and the groom hold each others hands indicating their union all through their lives.
* Pheras - The bride and the groom go around the sacred fire as the groom repeats the mantras (holy verses) chanted by the acharya.
* Saptapadi - The bride and the groom walk seven steps together signifying that they will walk together all their lives.
* Reception - Reception is held immediately after the wedding and is an occasion for friends and family to participate and make merry.
* Bidai - The newly wed couple go the groom's house in a decorated car.
* Ghar-nu-Lakshmi - A vessel filled with rice to the brim is placed in the entrance of the house by the groom's mother. The bride knocks this vessel with her right foot and enters the house indicating that she has accepted the responsibilities of her new household.

A Gujrathi bride wears colorful and decked up saris for her wedding. This is typically known as gharchola. The saris are worn in the typical Gujrathi style and the color of the sari is usually red. Modern day brides wear lehengas (long skirts) in place of saris. The groom wears the traditional dhoti and kurta, modern day grooms wear suits or kurta pajamas.

Gujrathis are lovers of food and this is seen in the lavish wedding fare. Alu chat, kachori, mixed kanthol (sprouts), Dal fry, kadhi, nav ratan kurma, pulav, rasmalai, shrikhand, boondi raitha, and the list goes on. From the spicy namkeens to variety of sweets, Gujrathi cuisine is rich and varied

Bengali wedding

Right from decorating the mandap to decking up the bride and bridegroom, Bengalis beautifully express their artistic exuberance. Bengali weddings are not conducted during the Indian calendar months of Bhadra, Ashwin, Kartik, Poush and Chaitra. The most peculiar part of Bengali wedding is that the bride and the groom's mothers do not witness the marriage

The engagement ceremony

Post confirmation by the family priest that the bride and bridegroom do no share the same same gotra or lineage, the Adan Pradan is prepared. The groom's family visits the bride's family for finalizing the date for marriage. This ritual is referred to as Paka-Dekha. This ritual symbolically conveys a message to the society that a marriage alliance is confirmed for the particular girl and boy>

Pre wedding ceremony

Aashirwad ceremony: Just a couple of days before the wedding, an auspicious day is selected for the Aashirwad ceremony. The house of the bride and the bridegroom's wears a festive look; with colorful flowers, diyas and the fragrance of agarbattis. Mango leaves are tied at the entrance door and kept for a period of one year. Colorful rangolis decorate the entrance of the house to welcome guests. A small banana tree is placed at the entrance. A small copper pitcher, the mangal ghot with the Sri symbol painted on its side is placed under the banana tree. The pitcher is filled with water and a mango tree stem with five leaves is inserted into it. Elders of both families visit the other's houses to bless the bridal couple.

Wedding Piris: The bride and groom are seated on decorated piris (low wooden stools) during the wedding. This is considered a highly auspicious moment, conch shells are blown and ululation by women folks begins. The person who decorated the piris partakes special food - fish, curd, sweets prepared in his/her honor of services.

Dodhi Mangal: Around 10 married women go to a nearby pond, pray to Goddess Ganga, invoke her blessings for the couple, invite the Goddess for the wedding and fetch a pitcher of water. The bride and the groom are bathed individually. The bride's hands are adorned with the traditional bangles Shakha and Paula i.e. one pair of red and a pair of white bangles.

The women feed the bride and groom a meal consisting of macher laija bhaja (fried fish) and jal dhala bhaja (rice cooked in water). The next meal for both will be only after the marriage rituals are over.

Vriddhi: Invoking the blessings of ancestors by way of offering puja. The ceremony takes place during the marriage day, early morning.

Gae Halud Tattya: Sweets, gifts including a minimum of six saris and cosmetics - all for the bride are sent by the bridegroom's family.

Adhibas Tattva: Sweets, gifts for the groom and his mother are sent by the bride's family.

Snan or bathing: Bengali weddings usually take place late in the evening or at night. Late afternoon or evening, a few married women apply turmeric and oil on the hair of the bride and groom. After bathing, the bride and groom wear the new set of clothes presented to them by their in-laws.

Dressing up the bride: Surrounded by close friends and her sisters, the bride adorns herself in all her bridal finery. The traditional wedding dress for the bride is a red banarasi sari. The veil covers her hair and the mukut is placed on her head. Her friends and close relatives trace the design of the mukut with the help of chandan paste.

Bengali wedding rituals

Arrival of the groom: The venue of marriage could be the bride's house or a mandap. Throughout the ceremony the shehnai is played. A typical Bengali groom is clad in dhoti and kurta, he carries a mirror all along till the completion of wedding ceremony. As the groom enters with his relatives, the women folks greet them with ceremonial ringing of bells and blowing of conch shells and ululation.

The wedding ceremony: The bride is made to sit on the piri and arrives at the marriage alter on the shoulders of her uncles. Conch blowing and clapping marks the moment. All along she keeps her eyes hidden with a beetle leaf. The priest hands over garlands to the bride and groom and asks them to exchange garlands for three times amidst chanting of mantras. This is followed by the custom called sampradhan wherein the paternal or maternal uncle of the bride gives her away in marriage to the groom. The remaining part of the wedding is conducted with the fire as witness.

Wedding games and food: Hiding the ring of the bride and groom, playing with a vessel full of rice are some of the wedding games. The menu almost remains the same in every Bengali wedding - radhaballavi, fish cutlet / vegetable cutlet (crumbed and deep), fried), alur dam / cholar dal narkel diya, fried rice (steamed rice with vegetables and nuts in ghee), macher kalia, kassa mangsho, chutney, mishti doi / rosagulla and paan.

Post wedding ceremonies

Basar Ghar: The welcoming of bride and groom into the bride's home.

Bashe Biye: Adorning the bride's forehead with vermilion by the bridegroom.

Bidaayi: Departure of the bride and groom to the groom's house.

Bou Baran: Welcoming the bride and groom. As the couple steps down, the women pour water on the ground right beneath the vehicle. The groom's sister-in-law holds a plate containing lac dye and milk right under the bride's feet on which the bride imprints the soles of her feet. The elders bless the couple as they enter the house.

Bou Bhat: Marks the first meal served by the new bride in her new home. The same day, the groom's father holds a reception.

Phool Sajja or Flower Decoration: The wedding ceremonies ceremoniously come to and end with phool sajja. The bride's family sends a new sari for the bride and a set of dhoti and kurta for the groom. The nuptial bedroom is decorated with colorful flowers

Punjabi wedding

Punjabi weddings are elaborate events, marked by singing and dancing. They usually gather in front of the Guru Granth Sahib, though they do follow Hindu rituals like pheras, kanyadhan etc. They follow a lot of rituals and try to stick on to all the rituals from the good old days.







Pre-wedding rituals

Rokka: This ceremony confirms the relationship between the boy and the girl. This ritual is held in the bride's house. Members from the groom's family come over to the bride's house and exchange gifts.

Sagan and chunni chadana: A havan is performed and the bride's father applies tilak on the groom's forehead. Gifts are given to the groom and his family members. The bride dresses up in the clothes and jewelry presented to her by the groom's family. The groom's mother feeds milk and cooked rice to the bride following which the bride and the groom exchange rings.

Sangeet: A sangeet (music) session is held, friends and relatives of both the bride and the groom are invited. Traditional wedding songs are sung during this event.

Mehandi: Mehandi to be applied for the bride is sent by the groom's mother. A professional person applies mehandi on the bride's hands and feet. Close relatives and friends of the bride's family attend this ritual; mehandi is applied on their hands too.

Wedding day rituals

Chuda ceremony: The bride's maternal and aunt play a major role in this function. A havan is performed and the bride is given red and ivory colored bangles. The bride wears a bangle made of iron; it symbolizes good luck for her future. The bride's maternal uncle, aunt and other elders tie kaliras (silver, gold, or gold plated ornaments tied to the chuda) to the bangles. The bride taps unmarried girls with this kalira before leaving to the groom's house.

Ghara ghardoli and vatna: The bride stays within the premises of her house for a couple of days prior to the wedding wearing some old clothes. She is seated next to oil lamps and her siblings bring water from a nearby temple for her bath. Prior to her bath, uptan or vatna (paste of turmeric and mustard oil) is applied on her body. This ritual is performed at the groom's house too.

Sehrabandi: A puja is done after the groom wears his wedding clothes and the sehra or turban that the groom is supposed to wear is blessed by the elders.

Ghodi, vag goodti, duppata varna: The groom's sister-in-law (brother's wife) applies kajal for his eyes, the groom's sister and cousins decorate and feed the mare on which the groom's baraat leaves.

Milni: After the baraat reaches the wedding location, the groom and his family are welcomed with garlands by the bride's family. The bride's family gives shagun to the relatives of the groom.

Wedding rituals

Varmala: The bride and the groom exchange garlands.

Pheras: With the muhurath approaching, the priest makes the groom perform a puja for which he removes his sandals. His sandals are hidden by the bride's sisters and they demand gifts to return the slippers (jhootha chupaai). After this the bride's father gives her hands in the groom's hands (kanyadhaan) after which the pheras are taken. The bride wears clothes and jewelry gifted to her by her in-laws.

Post-wedding rituals

Vidaai: The bride leaves to the groom' house from her parent's house. She throws puffed rice over her head symbolically wishing the best for her parents.

Aarti: Aarti is performed by the groom's mother with a pitcher of water. The bride enters the house after kicking the mustard oil that is kept at the entrance. The bride takes the blessings from her elders (matha tekna).

Phera dalna: The newly wed couple goes to the bride's house the very next day after the wedding and gifts are given to them.

The Punjabi bride wears a sharara, a long flowing skirt and blouse. She wears a dupatta to cover her head. The bride's dress is usually bright colored like red, orange, magenta, etc. The dupatta she wears is adorned with heavy embroidery. The groom wears a sherwani or the traditional salwar and kurta. Punjabi wedding feasts are elaborate and involve many a rich delicacy.

Indian Muslim wedding

Grandeur, pomp, splendor and sumptuous spreads mark most Indian Muslim weddings. Muslim weddings are usually held over a period of three to five days before the signing of the marriage document or the 'nikaahnamah'. Muslim weddings are less ritualistic and they strictly abide by Islamic marriage requirements. Yet, certain region specific traditions that are within the purview of Islamic marriage customs are included.


'Mangni or Nizbat': Traditionally, the groom's family approaches the bride's family conveying their interests. As a mark of confirming the proposal, a formal engagement ceremony takes place at the bride's place. Select family members from both sides take part in the ceremony. The groom's mother and sisters gift the engagement outfit, gold, silver, precious stones jewelry, rich costumes and other accessories such as handbags, perfumes, shoes and slippers, make-up kits etc. Platters of fruits, sweets and dry fruits are given to bride's parents.

High tea, refreshments or a lavish feast is served to mark the happy occasion. Conservative Muslim families do not encourage the meeting of bride and groom. Hence, the participation of the groom is restricted. Only the female members of both the families meet the bride. But with changing times, families take a deviation and let the bride or bridegroom to meet each other and exchange engagement rings. The elder members of the family agree upon a mutually convenient time and fix the date for the wedding.

Pre-wedding ceremony - Mehendi or Henna ceremony:

This is a pre-wedding party filled with color, music, dance and exotic food. Just a few days before the wedding or on the eve of the wedding, female friends, family members and close relatives visit the bride's house to participate in the mehendi ceremony. The bride-to-be is usually clad in traditional lehanga or sharara, garara or lancha dress. Relatives apply a paste of turmeric, sandalwood and aromatic oil to the bride so as to enhance her beauty and charm. A professional mehendiwali is invited to decorate and beautify the bride's hands and feet with fine designs. All the guests have an opportunity to decorate their hands and feet painted with henna paste.

All the while, the sangeet session wherein women get together play the dolak and sing traditional songs is in progress. Young girls dressed in vibrant festive clothes and fine jewelry dance. The elaborate buffet for the day will include exotic food items like Lagan Ka Murg, Zafrani Paneer, Dum Gosht Biryani, all time favorite deserts such as Gulab Jamun and Gajar Ka Halwa.

'Nikah', the wedding ceremony:

The actual wedding ceremony takes place at the bride's place or the masjid followed by a wedding reception at a pre-determined venue like a banquet hall. On the other hand, the 'nikah' can also take place at 'Shadikhaanas', a traditional venue for Muslim weddings.

The bride's in-laws provide her the wedding outfit, which includes the 'ghunghat'. For the 'nikah', she wears the wedding outfit and her face will be completely covered by the ghunghat. Indian muslim brides usually wear a ghagra choli also known as lehenga choli and chaniya choli along with exquisite gold and silver jewelry. The outfits usually in red color are usually decorated with kundan stone, real gold threads, mirrors, zari, crystals, pearls or katori. A garland completes her ensemble.

Sehra (a flower veil) is tied to the groom's forehead by the brother-in-law. A garland, same as the bride's completes his ensemble. The groom clad in a sherwani or the traditional salwar and kurta or even a western suit arrives in a baraat to the accompaniment of music.

Guests are welcomed and seated in spacious rooms separately, the Mardana for men and Zenana for women. The officiating Imam will ask the bride if she is happy with the proposal and whether she consents to marry the groom. She accepts by saying 'qabool kiya' (I accept) and signs the contract. The 'nikaahnamah' makes a mention of the 'mehr' (cash or jewelry) that is given to the bride. The 'mehr' symbolizes the fact that the bridegroom is willing and capable of shouldering the responsibility arising out of marriage. After obtaining the bride's consent, the bridegroom is requested to convey his confirmation. The Maulvi or muslim priest will conduct the 'nikah'. Selected versed from the Holy Quran will be recited. The Nikaah is complete after the Ijab-e-Qubul (proposal and acceptance). At this point, the 'nikah' is complete and the bride and bridegroom are given religious sanction thus formally becoming husband and wife.

To celebrate, a lavish dinner or lunch party is organized for the guests and relatives comprising mutton and chicken biryanis, salad, pickle, dessert, ghee rice, bread and kheer. The bride and bridegroom are made to sit together for the first time. It is time for all those present to extend their greetings and offer gifts to the newly wed couple.

Post wedding ceremony, the Valima Generally, valima takes place the day after the wedding. The bridegroom's family host Valima and extend invitation for members of both sides to attend the ceremony. Dinner is served to all guests and it provides an opportunity for both the families to celebrate the joyous occasion

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WORLD HAPPENIGS,POETRY

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author avatar John
25th Jun 2011 (#)

nice...

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author avatar Prasul Surendran
26th Jun 2011 (#)

Wow, Lot of effort! Great to see these customs!

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author avatar THARA RAJEEV
26th Jun 2011 (#)

thank u prasul..

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author avatar Neha Dwivedi
27th Jun 2011 (#)

really what an effort...its just beautiful

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author avatar john48
28th Jun 2011 (#)

nice

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author avatar Jst chill
29th Jun 2011 (#)

Great work,,

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