Indian weddings are not the same as weddings in any other region of the world. The traditional ritual of wedding is among the oldest of all Indian religions. But, there are a wide range of changes which have happened to Indian weddings over the past few decades. Today, weddings in India differ according to the region, religion, the community as well as the individual tastes of the bride and groom.
Traditionally, Indian marriages start with the exchange of wedding vows between the bride and the groom in their respective houses. However, today Indian weddings may occur anywhere as long as it’s indoors and dry. Traditionally, a ‘thank you’ message is written on the marriage piece for all those who attended and shared their sentiments with the newly married couple. Indian wedding customs have undergone quite a change and now people write their own messages to wish the couple a happy marriage and will also be sending them wedding gifts like tungsten rings for men and women.
Every region in India has different kinds of wedding ceremonies and celebrations. The most frequent Indian wedding ceremony which takes place at the end of a Hindu wedding ceremony is the ‘Dahi Handi’ (the hand bath). This ceremony takes place after the first Indian meal and is a symbol of honor and respect to the elders of the household. It involves a variety of processes like cleaning, brushing the teeth, blowing the nose out, cleaning the face, etc. and is usually organized by the village head of the family or a Brahmin male.
Another tradition that’s part and parcel of an Indian wedding ceremony is the’Baraat’ (the service ). This word literally means a gathering or a meeting, but in the context of an Indian Baraat it signifies a lavish banquet during which the guests dine and enjoy with the help of beautifully decorated white horses. As compared to the’Dahi Handi’, this ceremony requires a longer duration and is generally organized by the brother of the groom and the bride. This party is largely organized for the extended family members or friends of the families. This party is more enjoyable since there is no requirement of elaborate decorations like ‘Dahi Handi’; this makes the event memorable and attractive to all.
Among the most traditional Indian ceremonies is the’Dahi Mojra’. This is a dance performed by the bridal couple. It is considered to be a very good luck charm for the newly-weds and is regarded as a very auspicious day for starting a new life. The ‘Dahi Mojra’ is performed on the final night before the wedding and when the couple finally separates. This dance is a symbol of a new start in a new relationship and is highly revered.
The customs, festivals and traditions vary from region to region, but essentially Indian wedding parties typically start with a puja at the residence of the groom and the bride. This puja is performed with the support of a priest and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha, father of Ganesha. Following the puja, a fire is lit and ‘Dahi Handi’ or ‘Laxmi Pooja’ is performed by the relatives and friends. Marriage service at a time of worship like any other religion calls for appropriate preparations and apparel, which are different from other western weddings. Traditional Indian weddings typically need brides to wear a sari or salwar, together with the wedding clothes of men, while women are traditionally expected to wear sari only.