Indian weddings are gala events spanning at least a couple of days and peppered with multiple rituals. The wedding or the ‘vivaha’ as it is known is performed as per the vedic rituals.
These rituals, performed as per Indian wedding traditions are of paramount importance since they are said to build a strong bond between the bride and the groom to tie them together in an everlasting relationship.
In a country as vast and diverse as India, the rituals are bound to vary from one region to another. The way these rituals are performed depends on the region, family and the resources available. However, some of the main rituals that form the crux of the Indian wedding ceremony are common across the country. Today, we take you through some of the most popular Indian wedding traditions and customs and explain the significance of each.
The haldi ceremony is held a couple of days before the wedding. This Indian wedding tradition is performed with the aim of ‘beautifying’ the bride and the groom with ‘haldi’ or turmeric, and hence the name. As a part of the ritual, elders apply haldi paste on the face, hands and feet of the bride and the groom and also tie charms around their wrists to ward off evil eyes. The haldi is said to bring a glow to the couple’s skin.
Mehendi is an integral part of Indian wedding traditions. During this ceremony, the hands and feet of the bride are decorated with intricate designs in henna as she prepares for her big day. The event is replete with music, dance and lots of fun. Mehendi artists are invited to apply mehendi on the hands of the family members too, as they join the pre-wedding festivities.
The baraat kick-starts the actual wedding ceremony since it marks the arrival of the bridegroom at the wedding venue. The groom usually arrives mounted on a horse or is driven in a convertible. The extended family follows the groom, dancing to the tunes of a band that accompanies the party.
As a part of the Indian wedding traditions, the groom and his family are welcomed at the entrance with the traditional ‘tilak’ on the forehead and an ‘aarti’ which is a welcoming prayer, after which they proceed into the venue.
The most important Indian wedding tradition is the ‘Kanyadaan’ or the ‘giving away’ of the bride. As a part of the ritual, the bride’s father gives her away to the groom and symbolically hands over all his responsibilities to him.
The ritual, performed as per vedic norms is solemnised by placing the bride’s right hand over the groom’s and pouring holy water over it. The groom then accepts the responsibility from the father by touching the bride’s shoulder.
The pheras are circumambulations that the bride and the groom perform, around the holy fire, as the seven vows of marriage are chanted. As per Indian wedding traditions, the couple is first united in holy matrimony when the groom ties the mangalsutra around her neck.
After this, the pallu of the bride’s saree is tied to the dupatta of the groom’s outfit – the knot signifying that they are united in marriage. They then hold hands and walk around the holy fire, as the priest recites the vows and promises that they would have to make to each other.
The most emotional moment of the Indian weddings is the vidaai or the goodbye ceremony. At the end of the wedding, the bride is led out of the parent’s home or the wedding venue and is sent off with the bridegroom’s family.
As per Indian wedding traditions, the bride throws three handfuls of rice and coins over her head as she steps out of the house. The bride is then taken to the groom’s house where she is ushered in with the traditional aarti and a few games are played to make her feel at home.
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Source: Bellapictures, Parvitherpreet blog, 365weddingcards, marrymeweddings, etherealthoughts