India is a country of diversity. The presence of different cultures makes the country a rich and exciting place to live. The different lifestyles, geographical features, cultures and religions make Indian weddings vibrant and enthusiastic. The wedding customs, rituals and celebrations vary between social groups, states, religions and cultures. However, marriage being a solemn pledge holds importance in every Indian culture.
Indian Islamic Wedding also called Nikah. Photo from Flickr
India is the only country where different matrimonial cultures can be witnessed at one place. Indian wedding not only means a Hindu marriage but represents various religious weddings such as Jainism, Jewish, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, etc. The cultural difference presents a beautiful picture of Indian marriages. Every community and caste has its own unique ways of celebrating weddings, where Muslims perform Nikah, Punjabis perform Roka, Sindhis perform Berana, etc. Some of the different Indian matrimonial customs and cultures include:
One of the main customs of Hindu marriage is having fire-deity (called Agni) during the marriage rituals
Hindu Wedding Culture
The culture of Hindu wedding is known to be magnificent with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm involved in all the ceremonies. The wedding involves a number of pre-marriage and post-marriage rituals, which may vary for different states and religions. The pre-marriage rituals start at least 4-5 days before the wedding day. Some of the well-known Hindu wedding ceremonies include mehandi, haldi, sangeet, tilak, kanya daan, mangal fera, Vidai, and many more other rituals.
Some of the post-wedding rituals include dwar roka, griha pravesh, and mooh dikhai, among others. Mangalsutra has a lot of signification in a Hindu marriage. Celebrating with loud music and dance is the main feature of Hindu weddings.
Muslim Wedding Culture
The style of Muslim wedding is very different from that of a Hindu wedding. The main characteristic of a Muslim wedding culture is nikah, which involves witnesses and the consent of both the parties involved in marriage. The ceremony starts with rituals performed by a Qazi who delivers a sermon to complete wedding rituals. The sermon is concluded with announcing marriage after completion of rituals, including Ijab (offer), Qubul (acceptance) and Mehr. Post marriage, the groom’s family organizes a party known as Valima, which is a decent and quiet way of celebrating wedding with family, friends and relatives.
Jain Wedding Culture
The rituals performed in a Jain wedding are strict as per Jainism culture. Jain culture usually believes in peaceful co-existence of people, which is clearly reflected in their style of wedding ceremonies. Some of the rituals include Laghana Lekhan, Mada Mandap, Barati, Aarti, havan, granthi bandhan and phere, among others.
Christian Wedding Culture
Unlike Hindu wedding, ceremonies involved in an Indian Christian wedding are less time taking. The Christian wedding also involves pre-wedding, wedding, and post-wedding rituals. Pre-wedding ceremony involves bachelor’s party where the bride and groom separately enjoy the occasion with their family and friends. They are supposed to enjoy their last night as single. The wedding takes place in a Church where the priest reads bible to complete the wedding ceremony. The bride usually wears a beautiful white gown with light and sparkling accessories. The couple is declared husband and wife once they exchange rings and kiss each other in front of priest. In post wedding ceremony, a reception party is arranged where the newlywed couple celebrates with friends. After cutting cake the occasion is celebrated by dancing and raising the toast.
Apart from wedding ceremonies and rituals, marriages of different culture involve difference in dressing style and cuisines. While in North Indian weddings, cuisines include Chicken, Oulao, chole bhature, rajmachawal, daal, etc., South Indian marriages mainly include masala dosa, appam, sambhar bada, uttpam, etc. Beauty of Indian bride is enhanced by the traditional style of dresses worn in weddings. Where in some cultures the bride wears saree, others wear lahenga, or suits as per their traditions.
Time changes everything, but Indian marriages hold the same importance, lavishness and enthusiasm in every culture. Marriage is still treated as an institution that brings two people and two families together for life time irrespective of the difference in culture, rituals and ceremonies.