Cultural Weddings

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A wedding is the marriage rite in which two people are united in marriage or a similar institution. Wedding traditions and customs vary greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, religions, countries, and social classes. Most wedding ceremonies involve an exchange of wedding vows by the couple, presentation of a gift, and a public proclamation of marriage by an authority figure or leader. Special wedding garments are often worn, and the ceremony is followed by a wedding reception. Music, poetry, prayers or readings from Scripture or literature also may be incorporated into the ceremony (Wedding, 2012). Weddings, like any other major life event, can bring out the best and worst in all of us: generosity, creativity, humor, as well as jealousy, control, and even boredom. Weddings are a huge lavish thing in all cultures. They are bringing not only two people together, but families from both sides together. This can be a stressful and at times just not worth it for the bride or the groom. Psychology has taught me to look deeper into the differences in different cultures and their weddings. They can be so similar, but so different at the same time and there is a reason for most of the differences when it comes to different cultures and their place in the world (Besnette, 2000). Wedding traditions around the world vary according to nationality, country, and religion. One of the different cultures I studied was the Indian culture in India. Though traditions may be similar, the meaning and practice behind them vary greatly. India’s Weddings are coupled with many traditions and beliefs. They perform a many ceremonies leading up to the actual wedding ceremony itself. For a long time it has been a custom for India to arrange their children’s marriages. The parents would normally choose their child’s husband or wife to be. Unlike for Americans, who they base their marriage life on how they feel; Indians base it through the class status of their families. Freedom in America is lavishly enjoyed, as long as it doesn’t trespass on other’s rights. In India, the government is given more authority to restrict the independence of the people, since their decision is more attached in their constitution (People, 2012). Though in America we marry out of love, the first act before a couple unites in India is the arranging of marriage by their parents. The belief in India is that parents are to look out for their daughter’s best interest. The parents choose a groom for their daughter, who will look out for her best interests just like her parents. In India it is customary for the parents to unite the couple. Upon approval from the potential bride and groom then they begin to prepare for the ceremonies. The couple then has a Mangni, the engagement ceremony; the priest officiates over this service. It is traditional for the groom’s family to arrive at the bride’s home with gifts for their daughter-in-law (Indian Wedding Rituals, 2012). The couple has to send out a posting of banns. This is an announcement of the intended matrimony between the bride and groom. The banns are published three weeks prior to the ceremony to give the community a chance to object if there are any restrictions. During the wedding ceremony the priest also gives those gathered for the service a chance to object (Indian Wedding Rituals, 2012). Two days before the ceremony the bride is given an Uptan celebration. This is the beautification of the bride tradition. They mix powdered sandalwood and dried herb into a paste with jasmine oil. The paste is applied to the brides face, arms, legs and feet. The process can take up to eight hours to apply and even more time to dry. The art is detailed in actual drawings upon the body in the form of a skilled craft of artwork. While the paste dries they begin the Mehndi ceremony. The ladies sing to the rhythm of a small drum, traditional wedding songs during the ceremony. The bride may not leave the house until her wedding day. She is also...
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