Why are Indian marriages so much about rituals?
Marriage is once in a life time happening and it is a moment to be cherished and remembered life-long. The Indian wedding is known for its pompous and grandeur carnival type of celebration with a lot of rituals, song and dance. The Indians are known for their culture, religion and age old traditions. So yes, it goes without saying that Indian weddings will speak about the culture, religion through their rituals. There is a lot of emphasis on Indian customs and rituals and how pompous one wants the wedding is left to the individual. The Indian weddings give a lot of importance to beauty and elegance of both the bride and the groom. Part of the rituals adds to the beauty of the bride and groom.
The Indian wedding is important since it not only bind two individuals together as man and wife, but also make their families come together as one. It is also an emotional time for the bride since she will be leaving her parental home and moving into her new home to begin her new life.
There might be a slight difference in the way the Indian wedding rituals are performed from state to state, but it is hard to see an Indian wedding without a ritual. These weddings have a lot of cultural significance. The Indian wedding begins with a lot of pre wedding rituals before the actual wedding ritual itself which is followed by a few post wedding rituals.
The Indian wedding rituals begin with the pre wedding ritual called Tilak.
This pre wedding ritual takes place a month before the wedding and with changing times the time to hold this ritual has become flexible. The parents of the bride visit the parents of the groom and finalize the wedding. This is ritual is called Tilak.
It is an evening with song and dance. It is an exclusive ritual for the ladies where they sing and dance. Typically there can be no wedding in India that is devoid of song and dance.
The Haldi ritual is performed both on the bride and the groom a day or two prior to the wedding. Haldi with a mix of rose water and chick pea is applied on the face, hands and legs of the bride and the groom by the elders of the house. It is supposed to bless the bride and the groom with good fortune and prosperity. It gives the face and body a special glow, which will make them stand out in the crowd. Haldi is a natural antiseptic and exfoliate and it helps to brighten the skin and make the face glow. These days Haldi is also followed by song and dance.
Mehandi usually takes place the previous day of the wedding and this is organized by the bride’s side and kept as a close family ritual. The bride invites her close friends and relatives, usually the ladies and a professional Mehandi artist is called home to apply mehandi on the hands, arms and legs of the bride and allowed to dry. The belief is that the darker the mehandi the more the bride will be loved by her husband.
Bharaat is a custom where the groom is brought on the horse or the car with family and friends dancing and with the dhol announcing the coming of the groom. The groom will be welcome by the bride’s family at the entrance of the venue. With a warm hug, showing the love and affection of accepting the bride as their own into their family.
The bride’s mother will have to go and welcome the groom. The bride’s family members will garland and welcome the groom’s family and escort them to the mandap.
This is a ritual where the bride and the groom exchange garlands accepting one another as man and wife. This happens before they tie the knot.
One of the most emotional part of the wedding custom, where the daughter of the house is being gifted to the groom. The father of the bride will have to hold her hand and give her in marriage to the groom. The priest according to the Hindu vedic custom will pour water in the hands of the father of the bride and it will flow into the hands of the groom with the brides hand held in between. This ritual indicates that their most precious daughter is given as a gift to the groom. The groom accepts the bride and takes responsibility of her from there on. He ties the knot and accepts her as his wife. They go around in circle about 7 times making vows to stay united in good and bad. They are blessed with rice and flowers by the elders to have a prosperous and healthy life.
It is the final good bye where the bride bids farewell to her parental home and goes towards beginning her new life with her husband. Although it is supposed to be a happy moment it has a lot of mixed emotions and bitter sweet moment for the bride especially.
The country is a rich and unique mix of culture and traditions and it is inevitable to for any Indian wedding to take place without a ritual. Every wedding couple follow rituals according to the religion and/or community they belong. Because in India it is not just a wedding ritual it is a belief to that rituals give them a happy and long married life!
January 24, 2016