A wedding is not just an event but a beginning to a new life! It’s the celebration of love and commitment. You will have seen many weddings of different cultures all around the world on the internet or will have experienced these weddings first hand. Some cultures follow the ancient customs and practices while others have evolved to a more modern style, but the basic customs remain the same and every ritual of the different wedding cultures is there for good reason. In-fact, rituals and the cultural aspects of a wedding make it memorable, special and the most meaningful event of someone’s life.
Indians are strong believers of religion and ancient practices. According to Indian culture, a wedding is considered the marriage of two families rather than just the marriage of the bride and groom. Things that set Indian weddings apart are eye-catching colours, dreamy decors, glittering jewelleries, beautiful wedding outfits, unique rituals, and customs and of course the funny wedding games. Traditionally, an Indian wedding lasts for 3-5 days. There are a lot of ceremonies – Sangeet, Mehndi, Haldi, Pheras, etc. and including all the funny wedding games. In this blog, we are highlighting the 12 Indian wedding traditions and customs which are present at most Indian weddings.
Let the stars decide the wedding date (The Muhurta)
For an Indian Wedding, the stars and the planets are considered to decide the perfect date and time of the engagement and the wedding, this date is based on the zodiac signs of the couple. This is done at least 3 to 5 months before the wedding.
Let’s get engaged (The Sagaee)
Indian engagement starts with prayers from both families to Lord Ganesha for good luck and to destroy all obstacles they may face together. The couple then exchanges garlands and engagement rings.
Let’s sing together (The Sangeet)
As the name implies, sang + geet = sing together, the families and friends of both the bride and groom come together to start the wedding celebration by singing and dancing to traditional folk music. This ritual generally takes place on the first day of the wedding and acts as an icebreaker between both the families.
Let’s get painted (The Mehndi)
A Mehndi party is attended the day before the wedding only by women from both the bride and groom’s side. A cosmetic paste with medicinal benefits is prepared by mixing powdered flowers of Lawsonia Inermis (Henna) plant and lime juice. The cosmetic is then applied on the bride’s hands and feet in fine lines in an artistic way. Other female attendees may sometimes apply Mehndi for fun. It takes the Mehndi around 6 to 8 hours to dry off leaving a beautiful tattoo-like temporary design on the skin. It is believed that the darker the bride’s Mehndi, the stronger the marriage will be.
Let’s get glowing (The Haldi)
The Haldi is generally celebrated on the morning of the wedding day. A cosmetic paste is made from turmeric, oil and water and applied on both bride and groom’s face, hands and feet. Turmeric is known for its healing power and oil is mixed as a moisturising agent. It is believed that Haldi celebration will give blessings to the couple and destroy all the evils, leaving them a moisturized and glowing skin just before the wedding.
Let’s go (The Baarat)
The grand celebration starts here when the groom starts from his home to the bride’s home. The groom rides on a decorated white female horse along with his friends and relatives dancing around him all the way to the bride’s home. Sometimes a band may also accompany the Baarat. On his arrival, the bride’s friends and family welcome the entire Baarat by singing and dancing out of joy of the upcoming union.
Let’s get married (The Mandap)
The Mandap is a temporary elevated stage made up with a roof on four pillars decorated with vibrant coloured clothes, flowers and decors. The grand event happens under the Mandap. The bride and the groom generally walk down a decorated aisle to the Mandap with their parents, relatives and friends showering flower petals on them to give their blessings, love and support. The marriage takes place under the Mandap in front of the priest (pandit).
Let’s take the oath (The Pheras)
- The Oath or the Pheras is the most important part of an Indian wedding. The holy fire (Agni) is lit at the centre of the Mandap and the couple walk around the fire seven times making a vow each time with the belief of considering the God of fire as the witness. The seven vows go as follows –
- Will be together, care and support each other forever.
- Will care for each other’s physical and mental health.
- Will share all the worldly possessions.
- Will share all the knowledge, happiness and sorrows with each other.
- Will care for each other’s family.
- Will care for own children.
- Will always cherish each other like friends.
Let’s be together for 7 lifetimes (The Mangalsutra)
According to Indian tradition, it is believed that after marriage the couple will live together for the next seven lifetimes. Once the Pheras are completed the groom ties a necklace called Mangalsutra to the bride with three knots making it a strong bond to be together for the next seven lifetimes. Generally, a Mangalsuta is made of black and white beads with gold pendant.
Let the fun begin
Indian weddings are known for their funny games. There are many different games played on a wedding across different subcultures within the country but “Hide the shoes” and “Find the ring” are two games that are commonly played at most Indian Wedding ceremonies.
Hide the shoes: After the wedding, the sisters of the bride hide the shoes of the groom and asks for money to return them.
Find the ring: This is a traditional game where a ring is kept in a large bowl filled with milk and both the bride and groom are asked to find it at the same time. It is believed that whoever finds the ring first will dominate the other for the rest of their lives.
Let’s say good bye (The Vidaai)
The next morning is the time when the bride leaves her home forever and goes to her in-laws. It is a very emotional moment when her parents send her off by showering flowers on the couple as blessings.
Welcome Home (The Vadhupravesh)
Once the couple reaches the groom’s house, the bride is welcomed by her in-laws with blessings. Before entering the house, the bride steps in a mixture of water, milk and red powder (Sindoor) and leaves red footprints on the floor representing Laxmi, the goddess of love and prosperity.
These are the most common rituals which are practiced at Indian weddings. Having these rituals to remember as captured by your closest friends and family is a great way to remember these days forever. Check out our website www.memfies.com and register your wedding!