Posts Tagged ‘Indian weddings’

Cultural Wedding Series: Hindu Indian Weddings

Friday, March 9th, 2012

This blog writer once had the unforgettable experience of peeking inside an Indian woman’s closet. The saris were every color of the rainbow, even the pastels brilliant! The lady showed me the sari she had worn to her daughter’s wedding. Its richness was breath-taking.

Traditional mehendi drawn on the hand of a bride.

A Hindu Indian bride’s sari is richly decorated in gold embroidery and bangles. Brides from Northern India prefer red, Northeast India white with a red border, the South yellow, green and white silk, and the West an embroidered skirt with a blouse. Most all Indian brides present themselves fragranced with perfume, palms of hands and feet painted with mehendi designs, hair bedecked with flowers, necks draped with necklaces, and ankles gracefully moving with tinkling silver anklets called payals.

Hindu grooms are not to be outdone. They sometimes sport a sword and a jewel-decorated turban called a tupi and arrive for their wedding on horseback, preceded by a brass band!

The Brahmin priest officiates before a fire-lit metal vessel representing the Radiant One. The bride and groom exchange garlands and affirmations and walk around the fire. The groom’s father puts his daughter’s hand into the groom’s and pours priest-blessed water over their hands. A tali (a jewel set in gold) is secured around the bride’s neck to tell the world she is now a married woman. Guests receive perfume and flowers and can enjoy several days of fancy dinners.

Following some Hindu Indian marriage ceremonies, the bride’s sisters ransom her! They take her to their house where the groom has to pay a call and bribe the sisters with gifts before they will let him take her home!  Not a bad idea, right?

Cultural Wedding Series: The Muslim/Sikh Indian Wedding

Friday, February 17th, 2012

India: a land of mystery, beauty, and long-standing traditions. Marriage in India is greatly influenced by the religious culture, and that’s why we’ll be dividing our discussion into two parts: Muslim/Sikh and Hindu.

There are a few similarities between the types of unions. Engagements in India were traditionally accompanied by a bridal dowry, which has since been outlawed. Still, sometimes the bride and groom initially meet each other at their engagement party, where gifts are given and sweets are served! Being of the same caste (social standing and function) is of utmost importance. Weddings are often held in a tent, courtyard or garden of the home of one of the pair. And sometimes in India, as well as Iran, Syria and Turkey, the couple may try to step on each other’s toes during the ceremony because it’s said the one who succeeds will be the boss of the new union!

In the Shiite Muslim culture of India, it’s not uncommon for cousins to marry. The guardian of the man proposes to the girl’s guardian. The groom’s mother and female friends will then bring sweets to the bride. Sometimes the bride will show her face to the groom and his family. The groom’s mother ties the traditional Imam Zamin (coin wrapped in silk) on the bride’s right arm.

In Sikh Indian families, the groom’s family often gives a thread with five knots tied in it to the bride’s parents, five days before the wedding. Each day one knot is untied. On the wedding day, guests arrive at the bride’s home with coconuts, sugar, money and jewelry. Muslim and Sikh brides wear a kameeze (long, embroidered tunic) over shalwar (baggy trousers). Men wear a white jacket with a stand-up collar and white trousers. The bride’s father provides a long scarf which is held between the bride and groom as a symbol of unity. With a granthi officiating, the couple walks four times around the Granth Sahib holy book.

After the ceremony, the men go to a banquet hall for a meal of curried vegetables and salad, rice, yogurt and chappatis prepared by the bride’s family. The father of the bride goes home to bid her farewell before she leaves with her groom in a decorated getaway car.

Did you or a friend have an Indian wedding?  Share your memories!  And check back soon to learn more about Hindu Indian brides and grooms.