India is a wonderful land with diverse people belonging to diverse cultures have one thing in common- Indianism. And its this Indianism that makes all of us stand proudly together, that makes the world look at India with awe and respect. We have different cuisines, different wardrobes, different Gods, different languages and of course, different marriage ceremonies/processions.
On one hand, Islam makes ‘Purdah’ in a marriage mandatory and on the other we have Christianity, where the whole affair is completed with the bride and groom kissing each other. So there exists a remarkable difference which makes a Muslim excited to witness a Christian’s wedding and vice versa.
Without further ado, let’s explore different marriage ceremonies in India that will make every Indian man stand head-high with pride.
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The simplest of all, Hindu weddings are the ones I enjoy the most. After the matchmaking, horoscopes and engagement ceremony, also known as Sakhar Puda is completed, its time for the most important day, the wedding. There is a list of processes, all of them so simple yet exciting. First, maternal uncle of the bride brings her on stage; a shawl separates the bride and the groom from seeing one another. After the prayers are recited, the shawl is removed, letting couples see each other for the first time on the wedding day.
Garlands are exchanged, and unbroken rice is showered on them. Then the couple takes consent of their parents’ to get married. The Kanya Daan ceremony is marked by the bride’s parents offering their daughter to the groom. The groom ties mangalsutra around her bride’s neck and applies sindoor on her hair parting, also known as mang, whereby the bride puts sandalwood tilak on the groom’s forehead.
The Viva Homa is conducted, and then the couples take seven rounds, also known as seven vows around the sacred fire. The couples call it a day after the bride’s father and both bride and groom asks God to bless the couple.
Marriage processions of Christians
Christian weddings are conducted in a Church and are considered as a bond between a man and a woman that is decided by God. They believe that wedding is a relationship so close, so pure that a man and a woman becomes one single flesh. Different sectors of Christianity have different processions of conducting a marriage and like other marriages, they also have pre and post wedding rituals.
After the engagement ceremony, the groom celebrates a Bachelor’s party, and the bride celebrates the Bridal Shower, wherein all her friends go over to her place, sing, dance and rejoice. They cut the cake, and there’s happiness all around.
The wedding day in a Christian wedding is very very exciting, and I must say, its cute. The groom sends a car to pick her bride and waits out of the church to welcome her. When she reaches the church, the best man welcomes her with a bouquet of flowers. The couple then walks together to the altar of the church. The priest then gives them best wishes, reads psalms and sermons from the holy bible and takes their consent for marriage. The couples vow to be with each other through happiness and adversity, and they exchange rings. Then they kiss. The wedding ceremony comes to an end with the couples walking down the altar arm in arm, the way they entered.
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Marriage in Islam is a religious contract between the couples and Allah. Depending on different sectors of Muslims, the procession differs, but the signing of the contract remains the same. Some marriages are conducted in mosques wherein a Qazi oversees a marriage while others are conducted at marriage halls where the bride and the groom remain separately seated throughout the ceremony.
Talking about the marriage contract, it includes a meher, a statement specifying an amount to be given by the groom to his bride. It can be in any form, gold, money, land, jewellery or even education. The bride can use her meher as and when she pleases. The meher is the wife’s security, freedom and guarantee within the marriage.
Officially, the marriage ceremony is completed after the nikah papers are signed. The groom or his representatives go to the bride for her consent and in front of at least two witnesses, the bride says ‘qubool’ (I accept) thrice. The couple signs the contract, shares sweets with each other then commences dinner or food for the guests. The marriage ceremony in Islam is very simple and straightforward.
Though the proceedings are different, Indian weddings are fun and entertaining. There are ceremonies of Haldi, mehndi, sangeet, reception etc. that makes people look forward to Indian weddings. Besides Hindu, Christian and Islam, there are several different cultures such as Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, that celebrate weddings in a different style!
Let us know if you want to read about them in the comments section below.