Wedding Traditions: Wedding Customs In India
Wedding traditions vary worldwide as a reflection of the culture’s views on love. India’s customs are deep-rooted in family and well wishes for a strong future for the couple.
There are three major parts to a traditional Indian ceremony: pre-wedding, main, and post-wedding. Often the couple, the bridal party, and the close families will take part in all three; other guests will usually only be invited to the main ceremony and reception.
The celebration lasts for an average of three days, each part with it’s own customs and rituals.
The First Day
On the first night, the direct family will gather for dinner so both sides of the family can meet intimately. The Pandit or priest will perform the ganesh puja, which is a Hindu prayer meant to provide the couple with a long and happy married life. Interestingly, this same Pandit may have even selected the day of the couple’s wedding based on their Vedic (Hindu) horoscopes!
The Second Day
The second day is a pre-celebration. It begins with the mehndi ceremony, where the bride and her female friends and family have intricate henna drawn on their hands, arms, and feet. Often the groom’s initials or name will be hidden within the bride’s mehndi pattern—what a romantic touch!
In the evening, all the guests are invited to sangeet. Sangeet translates to “sung together,” and it is likeanintroduction of all wedding goers through food and dance.
The Third Day
The third day of the celebration has a main ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception.
There are very strict rituals throughout the ceremony, but the primary is the mangalphera, the holy steps. The bride and groom circle together four times around the agni, or sacred fire. This represents dharma (virtue), artha (wealth), karma (family), and moksha (enlightenment), which are the four basic human goals in Hinduism. The couple then races to their seats—and the first one there is said to have the upper hand in the household!
The couple then recites theseven vows the SaptaPadi, while the bride touches her right toe on seven betel nuts. Then, seven married women from the bride’s side whisper blessings in her ear. This is meant for good luck and good fortune.
The groom then presents the bride with the Mangalsutra, the sacred necklace. It is a cord with two gold pendants and three knots, symbolizing the bonding of two souls for 100 years. He also applies a red powder to her forehead to signal that the bride is officially married!
These are just a few of the numerous rituals that fill the third day’s ceremony and reception!
Of course you can’t forget attire—that’s our favorite part at Diamond Bridal Gallery! Indian weddings are traditionally vibrant and happy affairs, and the garb reflects this joy. The groom usually wears a turban with a veil of flowers to protect from evil spirits.
The bride typically wears a vivaciously colored sari or lehenga. Red is often a staple with Indian brides for its symbolism of romance and excitement. She will have her bridal bangles, which are said to bring safety and luck for her husband, and her anklet is used to announce the new bride’s arrival into the house. Large earrings are often worn to prevent evil spirits from entering through the holes of the ears, and a kammarbandh or waistband signifies the bride’s authority in her new home.
We absolutely love these energetic colors and loving rituals that come from the Indian and Hindu culture!
Photo by JF Nodarse Photography