V.I.P article submitted by: Sravani Gullapalli (Phd. Student -Chemical Engineering) Aparna Raju Sagi (Phd. Student -Chemical Engineering)
Indian Wedding Traditions
One billion people, more than 1600 spoken languages, 28 culturally different states, over 9 religions, one country – India defines diversity. This diversity, seen in every realm of Indian life starting from food & clothing to customs & traditions, is reflected in Indian marriages as well. Thus, describing all the nuances of the country’s wedding traditions in a single piece of writing would truly be a herculean task. This article is a humble effort to give a glimpse into a colorful and cultural extravaganza – the Indian wedding. We are restricting to Hindu weddings in this article. In our culture, marriage symbolizes not just the sacred union of two individuals, but of the coming together of two families and extended families as well! Their level of involvement is so profound that typically the family decides the bride/groom. In fact, even till a few decades ago the bride and the groom saw each other for the first time only on their wedding day. This trend has changed in urban areas, and in the present day, youngsters have a better say in choosing their life partner. Families search for eligible partners for their children through word of mouth or marriage priests primarily. However with the internet revolution in India online matrimonial sites are also becoming quite a hit! Arranged marriages are strictly intra-religion and intra-caste. Compatibility of the couple is assessed on the basis of horoscopes, and if good, then an alliance is sought for. In urban areas, the couple goes a step further to interact and see if their interests and natures match. If the alliance is agreeable to both parties, they proceed to plan for the engagement ceremony and the wedding. Though arranged marriages are still the norm, love marriages are becoming a common occurrence these days, predominantly in urban areas. Months before the wedding an engagement ceremony, known as Mangni (in North India) or Nischitartham (in South India), is held. The two families meet to perform rituals to make the engagement official. A muhurat (auspicious date & time) for the wedding is
decided based on horoscopes. The couple is then blessed by elders of both families, and is given gifts including jewelry and clothing by their new family. In certain traditions, engagement is marked by the exchange of rings between the bride and groom to be. Indian engagement ceremonies are very elaborate and vibrant, a sort of prequel to the main wedding, involving close friends and relatives. The period between the engagement and the marriage is one of great excitement and anticipation for both the bride and groom to be. It is marked with a lot of fun-filled activities, with both families getting to together to plan the wedding, to shop, and getting to bond. Pre-wedding ceremonies Traditional Indian weddings last a week, and start with pre-wedding ceremonies. Haldi is a ritual holy bath during which turmeric (Haldi), oil and water is applied to both the bride and groom by married women. This is followed by Mehendi ceremony, during which the bride’s hands and feet are decorated with intricate patterns by the application of Henna. On a lighter note, it is believed that, deeper the color of the mehendi (henna) stronger is the groom’s love for the bride. With foot tapping music and dances, this ‘ladies-only’ party lends a break from the otherwise more ritualistic ceremonies. When the bride goes to the groom’s house after the wedding, she is not expected to perform any housework until her mehendi has faded away. Other important North-Indian prewedding ceremonies include Sangeet, and Tilak. Sangeet means music. As the name suggests, this function is an evening of musical entertainment and merriment hosted by the bride’s family. The main significance of this ceremony is that the bride is introduced to all the members of...
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