Indian Wedding Traditions and Customs

Indian weddings with all their dignity and glory have cast their spell worldwide, such that they are so many of people across the world  who consider getting married in India. Indian weddings are gala events and multi day affairs spanning at least a couple of days and showered with a number of rituals. The wedding also called as “vivaha” is performed as per the vedic rituals. These rituals are performed as per the Indian wedding traditions and are of paramount importance. It is believed that these traditions build a strong relationship between the bride and the groom to tie them together in an everlasting bond.

Subsequently wedding tourism in India is increasingly gaining popularity. Apart from the wealthy showcase, another striking feature of Indian Weddings is their loyal nature towards customs and traditions. The way these rituals are performed, varies across region, family and the culture.

Let’s have a look at the real significance of rituals and the traditions of Indian Weddings:

PREPARATIONS

Engagement Rings:

Engagement rings are symbols of the love, devotion, and fidelity a couple shares. These rings are always worn on the ring finger (third finger) of left hand. As per the ancient times, it is believed that the vein of this finger is directly connected to the heart. Offering a ring as a proposal of union has been a tradition for thousands of years. This special ring is your pledge to the world to marry one another – a declaration not only of love but more significantly, commitment.

Picture Credits Fateh Productions

Something Old:

Something old represents continuity. This means it represents the link with the bride’s family and the ancestors. Most of the brides chose to wear a piece of ancestral jewellery to continue the customs of the family.

Something New:

Something new offers optimism for the future. This represents good fortune and success in the bride’s new life. The wedding dress is often chosen as the new item.

Something Red:

This represents the loyalty and faithfulness in the bride’s new life. Frequently the bride’s dress is chosen as red as it depicts the meaning for becoming a “Suhaagan”.

Picture Credits Sunny Dhiman Photography

Varmala:

This involves the garland of flowers that bride and groom exchange with one another. This symbolizes that both bride and groom accept each other as their future husband and wife by exchanging the garland of flowers termed as “Varmala”.

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Solaah Shingaar:

‘Solah Shringar’ means 16 Bridal Adornments that encompasses sixteen steps that women follow for her beautification from head to toe at the time of wedding. This ritual has a very sentimental value for an Indian bride-to-be, as the sixteen adornment rituals are actually what helps her transcend into the beautiful bliss of being married in India.

It is a symbol of femininity and fertility as linked with the Goddess Lakshmi, who is the goddess of beauty, fertility and prosperity in the Hindu culture.

CEREMONIES

Mehendi/Sangeet:

The Mehendi/Sangeet event is a colorful and fun celebration held the night before the wedding. These intricate mehendi designs symbolize joy, beauty, spiritual awakening and offering.

It is about applying beautiful henna designs on the hands and feet of the bride. Not only the bride, but all her friends and the ladies in the family adorn their hands with beautiful mehendi designs. It is believed that the darker the color of mehendi, the more is the love and affection the bride will get from her hubby and mother-in-law.

Sunny Dhiman Photography

Haldi Ceremony:

This ceremony is an essential ritual that is performed for good luck of the bride and groom. Haldi is a paste made up of turmeric, chickpea flour and rose water/milk. All the relatives apply this paste on the bride and groom’s skin. This paste is thought to brighten the skin tone of bride and groom.

HALDI CEREMONY
Picture Courtesy Kamera Works

 

Chooda Ceremony:

Can any Punjabi bride thought to have her wedding without the chooda ceremony. a marriage seems totally incomplete without those beautiful red and white ivory bangles. Many girls could even get married just for finally getting to wear the chooda. And for her friend’s delight, it is the kalire ceremony that follows and decides who gets married next!

Baraat:

Accompanied by the friends and relatives in a festive possession known as the baraat, it’s the groom’s entrance at the wedding venue on a horse. This possession consists of band and the relatives dancing around the groom. It represents the pleasure and happiness of Groom’s family accepting bride a s a part of their family.

Picture Courtesy Mishra Photography

Milni (Meeting Of two Families):

Relatives of the bride and groom embrace and greet each other with garlands. The bride’s family then escorts the groom to the mandap, a canopied altar where the ceremony is performed.

Jai Mala (Exchange of Garlands):

Once the bride approaches the mandap, the bride and groom exchange floral garlands, signifying their acceptance of one another.

Kanyadaan (Giving Away of the Bride):

At this point, the bride’s father pours sacred water in his daughter’s hand and places her hand in the groom’s hand, officially giving away his most precious gift to the groom, symbolizing unity, prosperity and happiness. The knot represents the eternal bond of marriage.

Vivah Havan (Lighting of the Sacred Fire):

Agni symbolizes the divine presence as a witness of the ceremony. Commitments made in the presence of agni are made in the presence of God.

Wedding Vows (Circling the Sacred Fire):

The bride, representing divine energy, leads the groom in the first three rounds, while the groom leads in the last four rounds, signifying balance and completeness. Each phera  has it’s own significance.

Saath Phere
Picture Courtesy Picture Prime

Mangal Sutra and Sindoor:

Mangal Sutra is usually made of gold with small black beads which represent the sacred union between them. Groom place the mangal sutra around bride’s neck and applies sindoor (vermillion) to the parting of her hair. These are both physical symbols that make her recognizable to the world as a married woman.

Sindoor
Picture Courtesy Hitched and Clicked

Aashirvaad (Blessings for the Married Couple):

Women from both families whisper blessings into the bride’s ear.

Bidaai (Going away of the Bride to the Groom’s house) :

The bride says her final goodbye to her family. The procession ends joyfully, yet is often bittersweet for those closest to the Bride and Groom.

THE GUESTS

Wedding Gifts:

The wedding gift bought by the guests symbolizes the custom used to encourage fertility.

Wedding Favors:

The wedding favors symbolize health, wealth, fertility, happiness and long life.

Wedding Favors
Wedding Favors by L’art by Malika

Confetti:

Confetti mainly represents the rice or grain that bride throws back at the time of her bidaai. This signify end of her debt to her parents for nurturing her and wishing prosperity upon them.

Vidaai
Picture Courtesy Udit Chetal Photography

CELEBRATIONS

Grah Pravesh:

A vessel filled with rice is placed at the entrance of the home. The bride is supposed to spill the rice by touching it with her right foot to signify wealth and that the bride accepts her new responsibilities.

Reception:

This ceremony symbolizes to get the bride introduced to the numerous relatives and friends of the groom’s family.

Honeymoon:

It is believed that it’s good if a groom organizes the honeymoon as a surprise for his bride.

As these traditions are very special , we hope their essence is never lost and people follow them with the same zeal and excitement as we do today, and for years to come