Indian weddings are undoubtedly a lavish affair, from the numerous guests the families must entertain to bearing the brunt of organizing the whole event to a picture-perfect scene can exhaust anybody out of their minds. As weddings become more and more extravagant, a whole plethora of incredibly fun and light-hearted Indian rituals and customs come to the rescue. In a country as diverse as ours, certain rituals have not remained isolated to their original cultures, and have infused into the wedding traditions of several other states as well. Here are some of the most well-known rituals we have gathered for you-
Let The Games Begin With A Little Bit Of Mystery
Tests Of Persistence!
Keeping in toe with the tradition of the bride’s uncles and cousins hoisting her into the air and making it harder and harder for the groom to reach her with the mala, untying a sacred red thread tied is just our way to find out which of the two will be boss! Most often played by using only one hand each, the bride and groom are expected to untie the knot on the others wrist – deeming the winner the one who will call all the shots in their relationship.
Another age-old tradition is for the groom to hunt out his own name (on initials) in the maze of mehendi on the bride’s palms and forearms.
Towards the South – The Runaway Groom And Others
A Playful Change Of Heart
In “Kasi Yaatrai” of Tamil weddings, the groom performs a skit, pretending that he has had a sudden change of heart and would rather become a “sanyasi” and therefore cannot be married. The bride’s father has to convince him of the virtues of married life to bring him back to marry his daughter.
In another game, “Thengai Uruturathu” after the couple is officially married they sit about ten feet apart and roll a coconut in each other’s direction. The goal of another game is to get the fruit to collide mid-way. If they do it well, the coconuts could break when they hit—a sure-shot sign of a long and happy marriage.
Up North – Treasure Hunts
Shoes For A Fee
‘Joota Chupai’ or ‘Joota Chori’ literally translates to ‘hiding the shoes’. The bride and the groom are initially asked to remove their shoes before stepping inside the mandap’ where the wedding ceremony takes place and must leave the mandap only with the same pair of shoes. During this time, the bride’s sisters steal the groom’s shoes and hold them ransom for a handsome fee.
In Search Of Precious Rings
Yet another wedding game which is seen in the north frequently is a hunt for the rings! The couple is presented with a big bowl filled with milk, turmeric, rose petals and their wedding rings. The couple must find these rings and whoever finds both first is said to have the upper hand in the marriage. Several little nuts and small metallic things to throw them off are also added to the silver bowl, making this quite a worthy challenge.
Rare Parsi Traditions
Bargains And Ransoms
In the Parsi wedding ritual “Haath Boravanu”, the groom is made to immerse his hands in water and not allowed to take them out unless of course he pays a ransom! The bride’s sisters are the recipients of the bounty in this game as well. Once they get gifts from the groom, he is free to remove his hands from the water
In “Ara Antar”, the bride and the groom are given cups of rice and made to sit in front of each other with a cloth held up between them. A priest circles them seven times and when he stops, the bride and the groom are expected to throw the rice over the curtain to the other side. Whoever does it first is said to rule in the marriage!
In Bengal, the Saat Paak is a ritual that involves the bride being lifted on wooden stool by her brothers and carried around the groom. As they complete seven circles, it is said that the bride and groom are now tightly bound together – in love and life!
Wedding rituals in Manipur are incomplete till a pair of taki fish are released in a pond. It is usually done by a female member one from either of the bride’s and groom’s side. They symbolize the bride and the groom and it is considered a good omen if the fish swim alongside one another.