The Indian Wedding Medley

The Indian Wedding Medley

India having 29 states, each having their own kind of wedding and their own traditions, they can be broadly classified into different types based on geographical regions and major religions. Geographically, there do tend to be some similarities in wedding rituals while being distinguishable at the same time..

Involving extensive decorations, colors, music, dance, costumes and rituals that depend on the religion as well as the preferences of the families involved weddings are festive occasions in India.

Religions and weddings

HINDU WEDDINGS

While there are many festival-related rituals in Hinduism, a wedding is the most extensive personal ritual an adult Hindu undertakes in his or her life. Significant effort and financial resources are spent to prepare and celebrate weddings by typical Hindu families. Depending on the region of India, local adaptations, resources of the family and preferences of the bride and the groom, the rituals and process of a Hindu wedding vary.

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Nevertheless, there are a few common key rituals in Hindu weddings – Kanyadaan- gifting or giving away of daughter by the father; Panigrahana- voluntarily holding hand near the fire to signify impending union, and Saptapadi- taking seven steps before fire with each step including a set of mutual vows. The couple is legally husband and wife on completion of the seventh step and vows of Saptapadi.

MUSLIM WEDDINGS

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Muslims in India celebrate a traditional Islamic Wedding following customs similar to that practiced in the Middle East. The rituals include Nikah, payment of financial dower called Mahr by the groom to the bride, signing of the Wedding contract, and a reception.

CHRISTIAN WEDDINGS

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Christian weddings In India follow customs similar to those practiced in the Christian countries; in the West in states like Goa but have more Indian customs in other states.

Geography and weddings

WEDDINGS IN NORTH INDIA

In Hindu rites and rituals, Fire is regarded as a purifying element. The couples offer sacrifice or Rajaham to the fire. This is typical to North Indian wedding traditions. The Gath Bandhan, symbolic of eternal ties is the ritual that follows next. Then it is the turn of the most important all North Indian wedding traditions - the Saat Phere. The bride and groom go around in a circle around the fire often holding hands and take vows. The newly wedded are then blessed from both sets of parents and other elders of the family.

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Punjabi and Sikh weddings stand out and are portrayed by their lively celebrations that are a reflection of their exuberance towards life in general. They involve all nightlong dancing- an aspect that is now increasingly been incorporated in the weddings of other communities as well.

WEDDINGS IN SOUTH INDIA

The states of the south consist of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. From region to region Hindu Weddings differ from each other, with their own cultural customs. Exchange of garlands, tying the Mangala sutra and walking around the holy fire are some of the customs which are common to all Weddings.

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A Kannada wedding may last anywhere between 1 to 3 days similar to a Telugu or Tamilian wedding. In a Kannada wedding, the bride is walked to the mandapa by her mother’s brother or her sisters. It is followed by various interesting rituals. On the other hand, weddings in Andhra Pradesh, the bride can be seen brought sitting in a basket by the men of her family. The nuptials take place with the bride and the groom sitting in cane baskets. On the other hand in a Kerala wedding, the main ceremony or ritual lasts barely 10 minutes.

WEDDINGS IN EAST INDIA

Traditions in the East Indian wedding mainly include the Wedding traditions of West Bengal, Orissa, Assam and other northeastern states of India.

Bengali wedding ceremonies are often simple but consist of meaningful rituals. On the other hand, the Assamese wedding ceremony is simple but chic at the same time. What makes the wedding exclusive or different to a small degree is the melody of the gentle wedding song 'Biya Naam". Passably Oriya wedding ceremonies are the same as other Hindu weddings with some minor difference in the customs and traditions.

WEDDINGS IN WEST INDIA

The West Indian weddings include the traditions of Maharashtrian, Gujarati and Marwari weddings.

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The Maharashtrian wedding ceremony exhibits wonderful magnificence. Morning is considered an auspicious time for Weddings among the Maharashtrians. An auspicious time or Muhurat is chosen, which is known as the Goraj Muhurat. People shower Akshata (unbroken rice) on the couple. During Gujarati wedding ceremonies, they commonly begin with offering prayers to Lord Ganesha and seeking his blessings. Similar to any other traditional Indian wedding, Mehndi and Sangeet ceremonies follow it. Exclusive to a Marwari Wedding Ceremony, the Baraat has only male members. The highlight of a Marwari wedding is the groom's wedding procession which is conducted royally.

Wedding: A moment of true joy

Irrespective of the diversity or geography, when it comes to Wedding, all over India, they are extremely similar in many ways. It is a beautiful occasion which brings joy and happiness to everyone involved in the affair. Wedding indeed is a moment of true joy.

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