Think of an Indian wedding and your mind will immediately conjure up images of an elaborate setting full of vibrant colours and flamboyance. The varied cultures, traditions and rituals that one can see in an Indian wedding are absolutely unparalleled.
And while most of us are familiar with a majority of the wedding rituals, there are a few rituals, which are unique and even bizarre. Let’s have a look at few of them.
In many parts of Bihar, after the wedding, the mother-in-law places an earthen pot on the newly wedded bride’s head. After this, more earthen pots are added to make a pile. The bride is expected to balance them and touch the feet of the elders in the house simultaneously. The balancing of pots symbolises how well a bride can adjust to her new family and the responsibilities of the new life.
Gujarati weddings have a ceremony called Ponkvu or Ponkhana where the groom is welcomed by his mother-in-law, who first performs an aarti and then playfully pulls the groom's nose. This is a playful way for the bride’s family to remind the groom that he has come to their doors to marry their daughter and he has to learn to be humble and grateful.
On the day of the wedding, all the married women from the bride’s family rise at dawn and perform a Ganga aarti to invite the Goddess to the wedding. They believe that the holy river will bless the bride and keep her happy always. Also, in many of the Bengali weddings, the mother of the bride is not allowed to see the wedding ceremony.
Uttar Pradesh weddings
In Sarsaul, a small town in Kanpur, instead of being welcomed with an aarti and flowers, the bridegroom and his baarat is greeted with tomatoes and potatoes. These are thrown on the groom’s family and friends along with a string of swear words. People believe that a relationship that begins on a bad note ends with love.
Before the wedding, the Sindhis perform a ritual called saanth. An anklet is tied around the right foot of the bride and the groom (in their respective homes), by the priest. After this, seven married women pour oil on the bride and the groom’s head. Then both of them have to wear a new shoe on their right foot and break an earthen lamp with it. This considered as a good omen. To end the ceremony, the grooms relatives tear off his clothes to ward off evil eye.
Tamil Brahmin weddings
In many communities, just before entering the mandap the groom changes his mind and decides to become a sanyaasi. The father of the bride then has to perform Kasi Yathirai, where he has to convince the groom to take up Grahastham (family life). He uses the Gita, an umbrella, hand fan and sandals to woo the groom back. Though the chances of a groom leaving his mandap nowadays are quite low, some people do perform this ceremony at their weddings, to keep in touch with their roots.
In Manipuri weddings, fishes play a very important role. During the wedding, one woman from bride’s side and other from the groom’s side release a taki fish in a pond. If both the fishes move side by side in the water then it is considered to be a good omen for the couple.
Indian weddings are truly spectacular in their lavishness, their rituals provide them a beautiful uniqueness. And since now you know the different ceremonies performed in different weddings throughout India, why not incorporate a few of them in your wedding?
Image Courtesy: Mahima Bhatia Photography