Speak of Indian Wedding customs and what immediately comes to our mind is the exaggerated display of pomp and grandeur; of mouth-watering delicacies and magnificent apparel, of royal venues and lovely guests. But Indian weddings have more to it. The rituals, customs and traditions in our weddings are absolutely unparalleled.
As diverse as it gets, no doubt that in India heterogeneity of culture seeps through weddings as well. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari(yes, very much clichéd yet appropriate) every community and every religion adds it's own cultural essence to this prime festival of our lives. And yet all of it is endowed with the same fervor that signifies the union of two souls.
Here is a list of six Indian communities who wed like none else around the world and their wedding customs are sure to fascinate you.
Marwari Wedding- Big fat weddings in the truest sense!
The most lavish of all, Marwari weddings are exactly what we call the Big Fat Indian weddings. Although celebrated with gaiety and extravaganza, marwaris strictly adhere to the ancient traditions. From rituals like phere, kanyadan, mehendi and the rest; these weddings are an extensive affair filled with all kinds of pre and post wedding customs and rituals.
Bengali Wedding- the conch shell rules!
Bengalis entails elaborate rituals from pre-wedding rituals like the dodhi mongal( where the couple is given the special dish of sweet and curd in the morning) to post wedding customs like the bou bhaat( girl cooks and serves all members of the husband’s house). Here the blowing of the conch and ululation by the women gathered at the wedding is the featured characteristic. The purpose is a social declaration of the tying of nuptial by the family to the rest of the society.
Punjabi Wedding- shake your body to the Bhangra!
Quite like the Marwaris, Punjabi weddings are also known for the pomp and splendor. With popular traditional dances like the bhangras and giddas, one cannot afford to give Punjabi wedding a miss! Again, they too have their own set of rituals.The Ghara Gharoli ritual is extremely sacred amongst the Punjabis. The bride's sibling is supposed to fill a pitcher with water, from a nearby temple. The bride is then bathed in the same water after which she wears her wedding dress.
However, most Punjabi wedding customs are an excuse to have fun.
Recommended Read: TEN FASCINATING WEDDING CUSTOMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Bihari Wedding- how much can you endure?
Wedding in Bihar is considered one of the most exclusive ceremonies. With innumerous rituals, they range from being too fancy to even weird.
One such weird custom is keeping a huge earthen pot on the bride’s head and adding more pots to test her endurance. This is considered a test to maintain balance in the family. Yes, you heard that right! Someone spoke very rightly, “ yeh Bihar hai dost, yaha sab sahi hai.”
Tamil Brahmin Wedding- lets go back to the Vedic times!
A Tamil Brahmin Wedding is celebrated in the typical Vedic Style. In traditional families, the parents themselves fix the marriage as compatibility of the couple is decided by their horoscopes. The wedding encompasses rituals like the Kalyanam: Commencement of marriage ceremonies) and Viratham(ceremony observed to obtain blessings from departed elders). One interesting ritual known as the Kasi Yaatrai requires the groom to pretend to have a change of mind and opt for sanyaasam(asceticism). Then, the father of the bride persuades him to choose Grahastham (family life).
Gujrati Wedding- Garba, enough said!
Gujarati weddings again are vibrant and amusing and generally take up an entire night to wrap up the proceedings. The ceremony begins with Ponkvu (The arrival of the groom and his family), followed by Jaimala(formal introduction of bride and groom on a stage) and Madhurparka. Madhuparka is the ceremony when bride's parents welcome the groom. They wash his feet and offer Panchamrut, a liquid made up of milk, honey, yogurt, sugar and ghee. Only then he enters the mandap.
After the Kanyadan and Hasta Milap, the ceremony then culminates with fun wedding customs like Chero Pakaryo (the groom is made to tug the sari of his mother in law as she passes from the mandap in the way that it looks he is asking the bride's family for gifts). And of course, any Gujarati ceremony will be incomplete without the trademark Garba dance.
Don’t forget to comment on your own favorite ritual and do point out any interesting ones that I have missed.