Weddings in India
Talk about festivals and celebration, come to India! This is a country filled with people of different castes and religions, and when it comes to celebrations, everyone gets together! Weddings are an essential and highly celebrated part of the society. No matter which part of the country you are in, a wedding is an auspicious and joyous occasion. It’s the time when the families of the bride and the groom get together for holy matrimony, to bless the couple. The merriment commences a few days before the wedding and continues even after it!
The Sindhis and their celebrations
The Sindhis are usually settled in parts of Northern India and parts of the Sindh province in Pakistan. Sindhu weddings are known for their lavish celebrations. It is celebrated amidst colors, lights, guests and old traditions. Rituals and celebrations are so elaborate that you can almost smell a wedding in the air! The ceremonies begin with the horoscopes of the groom and the bride being matched by a priest and the date of the wedding is decided. Preparations start right after the families of the couple agree to the association.
Kachchi Misri: This signifies the start of the Sindhi wedding. This is the first formal ceremony after the two families agree to the association. This is celebrated by giving mishri and coconut to the bride and the groom, which signifies that he or she is the chosen one. Sweets are distributed among one and all.
Janya: This is a ceremony which is ideally supposed to be performed when the groom is in his adolescence. However, nowadays this ceremony takes place just before the wedding. Here, the groom wears a sacred thread around his body and mantras or prayers are chanted by the priest. This is essential for a Sindhi wedding.
Pakki Mishri Ceremony: This is a formal engagement ceremony a week before the wedding. Relatives and friends witness the ceremony. The couple exchanges rings in front of everyone.
Berana Satsang: This is a ceremony performed in the name of the Sindhi God, Jhulelal. It is symbolic of the beginning of the actual wedding procedures. It happens about 10 days before the wedding.
Dev Bithana: This is a ceremony typical to a Sindhi wedding. It is when a totemic deity of the chakki or stone grinder in brought to the homes of the bride and the couple. The priest performs the mantras. After this ceremony, the bride and the groom are not allowed to leave their respective houses until marriage.
Lada: This is more of a fun activity. It takes place at the groom’s house when the women of the neighborhood are called for a night and traditional songs are dances are performed.
Tih: Tih is a ritual which is performed to honor the Lord Ganesha. A priest is sent to the groom’s house by the bride with some rice, a coconut, 9 dates, sugar, cardamom, cloves and green silk yarn. He conducts a small ceremony at his place to Lord Ganesha.
Saanth: This ceremony is performed a day before the wedding. This is done independently in the bride and the groom’s houses. A priest performs a ritual or a puja where an anklet or challa is tied to the foot of the bride and the groom. This is followed by seven married women pouring oil on the head of the bride and the groom. Thereafter each of the two people is made to wear new footwear and break an earthen lamp with the foot. Success in this activity is considered to be a good sign.
Mehendi: This is another one of the occasions which are prevalent in Indian weddings. During this time, the bride is made to wear old apparels and intricate designs of Heena are made on the hands and feet of the bride-to-be. The other women in the family also join in. There are celebrations and songs and dancing to this occasion. After the ceremony, the old clothes are packed up and thrown into the sea to ward off the evil and embrace the new. The Mehendi is one of the most awaited ceremonies in a wedding, mainly due to the elaborate celebrations.
Sangeet: Talk about awaited ceremonies, talk about the sangeet ceremony. This is hosted by the girl’s family and can be observed as a traditional bachelor’s party! This mainly happens the night after the mehendi ceremony takes place. There are songs and dances throughout the ceremony. Professional entertainers are brought in to brighten up the day! This is more of a party thrown by the bride to her friends and sisters.
Saagri: This happens just before the wedding. The women in the family of the groom come to the bride’s house and get her jewelry made from flowers. She is helped into a silk saree and she is given gifts by the groom’s family, especially made from mogra flowers. In the evening of the same day, the groom reaches the bride’s family and a huge feast is prepared for him.
Ghari puja: This ceremony is performed both in the groom and the bride’s houses. The priest performs puja with rice, coconuts, betel nuts, wheat grains and some spices. The married women in the family grind wheat, mainly indicating prosperity and happiness in the house. The groom thereafter offers some wheat to the priest.
Navgrahi Puja: This ceremony is held to honor the Lords together. It involves the Ganesah puja, Omkar Puja, Lakshmi Puja and the Kalash Puja. Offerings are made to the different deities. The Gods are basically welcomed in the houses of the bride and the groom. This leads to the actual wedding rituals.
Baraat: This signifies the commencement of the wedding. Since the wedding is hosted by the bride’s family, the family and friends of the groom, after being attired in their best, proceed towards the wedding location. This takes place amidst songs, dances and celebrations. Everyone is in a mood of cheer and merriment at this time.
These rituals truly define the culture of the Sindhis. They make every occasion bright. However, the celebrations move on to bigger things during the actual wedding. A Sindhi wedding is a treat to the eye!