Indian Weddings don’t symbolize mere marriage; the nuptial bond symbolizes loads of commitments, shared responsibilities and promises for life. The weddings in India are full of vivid events and rituals that continue for several days. Around 300-1000 people attend the weddings and the scale of wedding is thus so large that it seems that not just the two individuals get married but the two families. A majority of the wedding customs and traditions are similar in Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Jains.
The prospective groom’s parents approach the bride’s parents to ask them for the hand of their daughter to get her married to their son. If the bride’s parents agree to the proposal, the parents invite the Hindu priest to match the horoscopes and if the horoscopes agree, they ask the pundit to tell them a suitable date for the marriage.
The parents of the bride visit the groom’s house to formalize the wedding and perform the Tilak Ceremony. On the following day “Byaha Hatth” ceremony takes place and the unmarried girls apply a paste of turmeric, sandalwood and rose water to bride and groom at their homes. Till the wedding day, both the bride and the groom are not allowed to come out of their homes.
On the wedding day, the bride wears a red colored sari and the groom wears a sherwani companied with a pyjama or salwar and wraps angrakha around his neck. The groom and male members of the groom’s family wear pink turbans.
The groom rides on a horse and is accompanied by his baraat (procession) to the venue of the wedding. They receive a warm welcome from the bride’s side. The bride is escorted to the wedding hall by her close friends or sisters. Then both the bride and the groom perform garland ceremony and head on towards the wedding feast.
As per the timing suggested by the Hindu purohit, the Circumambulation of fire is done to finalize the marriage and then the bride’s parents do the kanyadan. The bride departs with the groom and is welcomed by her mother-in law holding a thali of Aarti. Several customary games are played during the evening hour. On the next day at night, a reception party is held by Groom’s side and a large number of guests are again invited to attend the feast.
The wedding is said to be officially over with the Reception party but after the wedding, the couple is invited for lunch/dinner at the relatives’ homes for the first time after their marriage. This is done to open their way for visiting the relative’s homes.