Most of the Indian wedding traditions originated during the Vedic times but they find the same level of acceptance in a modern Indian wedding. Some of these Indian wedding traditions are so spectacular that an Indian wedding without them would be fairly non-descript.
These Indian wedding traditions keep the guests totally enthralled and make attending an Indian wedding totally worth it.
Indian wedding traditions vary substantially as we move from North to South. However some rituals have become well known and are also being adopted across cultures for the sheer fun value. Here are some Indian wedding traditions that you will love to be a part of at an Indian wedding.
Haldi is one of the relevant pre-wedding Indian wedding traditions. Haldi translates to turmeric in English and turmeric has been honoured in the Indian culture since time immemorial. Turmeric was believed and is proven to be antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and has beautifying properties too. The turmeric powder is made into a paste using milk, coconut milk, sandalwood or rose water and is applied generously on the bodies of the bride and the groom to keep them in good health. It is also believed to ward off evil eye from the wedding couple.
The holistic ritual becomes fun when the relatives have a blast smearing haldi on the bride and the groom. Unmarried siblings and friends are also treated to generous haldi application for good luck in finding a life partner soon. Be prepared for the power of yellow when you attend a haldi ceremony. The haldi ceremony can take on pie throwing streak in the fun filled ambience. It is best to wear yellow attire for this very yellow party.
The intricate patterns of henna are captivating and the whole world has fallen in love with this art form which is an indispensible part of Indian wedding traditions. The mehendi ceremony is held to decorate the bride’s hands and feet with beautiful mehendi or henna patterns. The guests invited to this party also get a chance to beautify themselves with mehendi. The ceremony is also characterised by lot of fun and frolic including traditional music, songs and dancing.
This ceremony is a fun part of the Indian wedding traditions especially for the North Indian weddings. The groom rides a white horse while his friends and relatives dance to the tunes of the music played by the accompanying band. Fireworks and dhol may also be a part of this procession. The groom’s dancing party heads towards the wedding venue with fanfare. It symbolises the grandeur with which the groom has come to marry and take his bride home. Traditionally the wedding venue used to be the bride’s home and after the wedding rituals, the bride used to travel to the groom’s abode in a palanquin with the same amount of fanfare.
Nowadays the groom’s procession travels from his home to the wedding venue. If this is not possible, then the tradition is honoured by the baraatis (members of groom’s procession) by just travelling a few kilometres towards the wedding venue.
This is a ritual involving a fun wedding game. In the game the couple is supposed to fish out a ring from a pot of milk and rose petals. The one who gets hold of the ring first is considered to have the upper hand in the relationship. These games add a lighter note to the wedding amidst all the spiritually profound Indian wedding traditions.
Some Indian wedding traditions play a pivotal role like the Varamala exchange. It is a gesture that indicates that the bride and the groom wholeheartedly accept each other as their life mate. The ceremony transcends cultural origins and even if the couple opt for a court wedding, Varmala exchange will form a part of the official marriage formality.
Garlands hold a revered place in Indian weddings and it always symbolises warm welcome, respect and acceptance. Guests were also received with the honour of garlands in ancient India.
Today Varmala ritual has become a fun filled ceremony as the bride and the groom’s family create obstacles for the couple to garland each other. Sometimes the couple is also lifted high up on the shoulders by the relatives to make garlanding impossible for them. The light-hearted jokes and fun competition among the relatives of both sides creates a great mood at the wedding.
Different Indian cultures have their own unique Indian wedding traditions. There is an interesting wedding ceremony prevalent in Southern weddings. The groom pretends to leave for Kashi (Indian holy city) to lead the life of an ascetic and pursue religious studies. The bride’s father persuades the groom to come back and finish off the wedding rituals and lead a happily married life with his daughter. The custom is known as Kashi Yatra.
People have a blast watching this roleplay and the wedding actors add their own twist to the ritual to make it more fun. The groom carries an umbrella, a walking stick, a bamboo fan and copper jug to imitate an ancient traveller ready for pilgrimage.
There is a common belief that most of the Indian wedding traditions are patriarchal in nature. However there are some rituals which have carried forward the tradition of reminding the groom to take good care of the bride.
The Kaanpili ceremony is a part of a typical Maharashtrian wedding. After the completion of all the rituals, the brother of the bride or a male relative pulls the groom’s ear as a warning to remind the groom to be sensitive to his sister’s happiness and wellbeing. A similar ritual exists in Gujarati weddings where the mother-in law pulls the groom’s nose playfully to remind him that he has come rubbing his nose to their doorstep to marry their daughter. It is a reminder to always be humble to the bride and her family. The ritual is known as Ponkvu.
Indian wedding traditions have been popularised by Bollywood movies too and one such ritual is the shoe hiding tradition. In this custom the bridesmaids hide the shoes of the groom and demand a hefty ransom against it. The men and the ladies from the groom’s side aid the groom in finding his shoes. So what ensues is a great lighthearted tug of war.
The groom also plays along and tries to get the upper hand by having another pair of shoes to hand. Generally the bride’s sister plays a lead role in the shoe hiding activities and walks off with expensive gifts from her brother-in law.
Indian weddings always stand for the union of two families rather than two individuals. Indian wedding traditions aim to bring together the wedding families. Light camaraderie, which begins at the wedding through these spectacular Indian wedding traditions, is a great way to strengthen the hopefully lifetime bonds.
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