Indian Wedding Tradition
Weddings are a beautiful time for family and friends to celebrate a couple’s love and future happiness. All around the world, various cultures have their own traditions and celebrations shaped by their unique, and rich, histories. In particular, India contains many distinct communities with their own established rituals, especially when it comes to weddings. Common to most of these celebrations are the pre-wedding rituals and the traditions of the main wedding ceremonies.
With many of the events beginning around two weeks before the actual wedding, there are quite a few events for the bride and groom to attend leading up to their big day. For some cultures, the wedding day is chosen based on the couple’s horoscopes. During the Tilak Ceremony, the family of the bride presents the groom with gifts, and adorns his forehead with Kumkum (a red powder). The bride continues on to the Mehendi ceremony where many of her friends and family help her to apply henna.
The Main Wedding
The main event is filled with beautiful and elaborate traditions as well. Each part of the wedding is meticulously planned according to couple’s cultural customs. One important aspect of many wedding is the Mangal Fera. This ritual consists of the couple walking in four circles around a fire. Each circle represents the life goals of Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha, respectively. Furthermore, during Saptapardi the couple take seven steps, with each acting as a symbol of their wedding vows. The ceremony also includes the exchange of gifts between the newlywed couple; in order to represent the bride and the groom accepting one another, their garlands are exchanged. In some cultures, the mandapa (altar) is where the groom’s feet are washed, and he is officially welcomed to his bride’s family.
Everything from the food to the fashion is also thoroughly prepared for. Traditionally, the bride attends her wedding day dressed in a red sari, and each part of the dress has a specific meaning that relates back to her community’s rituals. On top of the red sari the bride is decorated with beautiful jewelry and rings. Most Indian weddings also have similarities to North American ones in terms of dancing, speeches, and photography.
Common to all of the wedding traditions in India is the family members and friends joining each other in blessing the couple upon their marriage, and celebrating the start of a new family.
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