Just like weddings in the American culture, Indian weddings carry a wealth of traditions. All of these are interesting, festive, and important to those who celebrate them. While some of these traditions are well known, others are not. Discover a number of Indian wedding traditions below!
1. Barni Bandwhana
This tradition takes place about 15 days before the actual wedding in the Indian culture. During this tradition, a “mauli” is tied around the groom’s and his parents’ wrist for a prayer. In this tradition, the maternal uncle of both parties is responsible for going to his sister’s house and presenting them with gifts, which are typically the garments to be worn on the actual wedding day.
It’s traditional for Indian weddings to last three days. The first ceremony included in these three days is called the Misri. This takes place a couple days before the actual wedding day and involves the exchange of prayers, flower garlands, and gold rings between the couple tying the knot. Typically, the groom’s parents present the bride with a basket of gifts and misri, which is rock sugar. This is said to represent the sweetness of the couple’s future to come.
3. Wedding Procession
The wedding procession tradition at Indian weddings is slightly different than what is done at traditional American weddings. First, the procession begins with the groom’s entire squad of family and friends leading him to the altar. This is referred to as, “The Baraat.” This is thought to be a ceremony within the wedding ceremony itself, where the groom is ushered in by all of those important to him. It’s common for his friends and family to be singing, dancing, and shouting well wishes along the way.
Next, the bride and her family greet the groom. There is an exchange of “Milni Malas,” which are flower garlands that are worn around the couple’s necks. These garlands act as a symbol of acceptance of one another. The bride’s parents and family all welcome the groom and his family and friends during the procession, then they escort the groom and his immediate family to their place at the altar for the rest of the ceremony.
The Mehendi ceremony is commonly pictured during Indian weddings, but few people know the tradition or the meaning. This is where the women involved in the wedding get together and intricate patterns are drawn on their feet and hands. Mehendi is also known as henna, a common form of temporary tattoos. These designs symbolize a deep bond to come between the bride and groom as husband and wife. This ceremony is often combined with the tradition of Sagri, where the groom’s female family brings gifts and flowers to the bride.
5. Sangeet Party
This is a party that consists of the families of the bride and groom getting together to sing and dance. In some instances, it may just be the women of both families. This tradition is meant to be a fun celebration!
After the wedding ceremony and once the marriage is declared to be official, the celebration really ramps up! During this celebration, the families of both the bride and the groom dance the “bhangra”, which is a traditional folk dance. Besides this dance, much of the rest of the reception mimics traditional American receptions, including videographers, photographers, DJs, a seated dinner, dessert, and dancing.
7. After the Wedding
Once the wedding is over, the traditions continue! The day after the big event concludes, both sides of the family meet for what’s called “Bou Bhat”. This is a lunch where the groom’s family invites and accepts the bride’s family as a new part of their family. Here, the groom will also pledge himself to his new wife, promising to support her and provide her with food and clothing. This promise is accompanied by a new sari as well as a meal in order to prove and solidify his promise.
The tradition continues even further after this, as in the days and weeks immediately following the wedding, more extended family members such as aunts and uncles give their blessings towards the marriage with the “Aashirwad.” The bride’s family goes to the groom’s house to present them with gifts and blessings and the groom’s family returns the favor to the bride’s family.
Indian weddings are rich in traditions that are deeply embedded into the culture, making these events special and memorable.