Typical Sindhi weddings!

As they say it, an Indian wedding is a big, fat, grand affair! A Sindhi wedding is no less! It dutifully lives up to the reputation of an Indian wedding. It is marked by lavish celebrations, colors, lights, food and sweets, songs, dances, and others! The wedding rituals seem never ending, but if you observe a full Sindhi wedding, from the start of the rituals till the end, it is a treat to the eye! It paints a beautiful picture of the customs and traditions of the Sindhi!

The wedding is the time when the families of the bride and groom come together to bless the future couple and shower them with numerous gifts. As per the Indian traditions, the decisions are taken by the elders in the family and the events and occasions are also hosted by them! The priest, with his chantings of the prayers or the mantras, forms an essential component of the Sindhi wedding. Decorations and flowers adorn the homes of the bride and the groom.

The pre-wedding arrangements!

A Sindhi wedding literally begins with the two families coming together to agree to the association of the couple. The priest matches the horoscopes of the two people to be involved in holy matrimony. Thereafter, a date is decided upon for the marriage ceremony. This is followed by exchanging gifts and flowers and sweets between the two families. The ceremonies of Kachchi Misri and Pakki misris are defined by these traditions. There are various rituals or pujas held before the wedding to honor the deities, especially Lord Ganesha.

Night long merriment and songs and dances are popular in these weddings. The popular Mehendi and Sangeet ceremonies are long awaited! The engagement ceremony takes place a week before the wedding. The relatives and friends enjoy these rituals. This leads up to the actual wedding ceremonies.

The wedding day rituals

The wedding day commences with a series of traditional rituals.

Janya: This is the beginning of the wedding rituals. It is a thread ceremony, where the groom has to wear a piece of yellow thread across his chest as the priest chants the prayers. This was initially done when the boy was an adolescent, but nowadays this is performed just before the wedding. The wedding is taken to be incomplete if the groom has not undergone this process.

Haldi ceremony: Just how the Mehendi ceremony is popular before the wedding, the haldi ceremony is famous on the day of the wedding. In this, the families of the groom and the bride respectively pour haldi or turmeric powder and oil on their hands. This is meant to purify the two people. Thereafter, they are not allowed to leave the house until the wedding takes place. The brother-in-law of the groom sits beside him during and after the ceremony with a knife, as a symbol of protection.

Garo Dhago: In this ritual, a red thread is tied around the wrist of the bride, the groom and the people who would be participating in the wedding later on.

Preparing the groom: This ritual is an essential part of the wedding. The priest ties a piece of red ribbon on the groom’s hair. This is done basically to ward off evil. This is followed by a red cloth being placed around his neck, containing a coconut tied to an end. Thereafter, a few members from the bride’s family come to take the groom to the wedding location.

Baraat: The Baraat is another bright and colorful occasion. Here, the groom is seated on a horse as the family proceeds towards the girl’s house. The rest of the family walks along with the groom on the horse, dancing and singing in merriment. The groom wears a turban and has a sehra tied to his forehead. The Baraat is highly respected by the bride’s family and they welcome them with open arms.

Swaagat: The word literally means ‘to welcome’. So the baraat is welcomed by the family of the bride at the wedding location. The bride comes out to receive the groom, but she cannot look at his face until the wedding.

Paon Dhulai: This is one of the rituals typical of a Sindhi wedding. This means washing the feet of the bride and the groom. As they two of them are seated with a screen between them, to prevent the two from seeing each other, the brother of the bride washes their feet with raw milk. The priest then measures the length of their feet with the help of a piece of thread kept with him.

Thereafter the actual wedding ceremonies begin. Sindhi weddings usually take place in a gurudwara. The holy fire is ignited by the priest. Just like most other weddings, the Sindhi wedding is held keeping the fire God of Agni as a witness to the holy matrimony. Prayers are chanted by the priest to proceed over the ceremony. The couple move around the fire and the kanyadaan is performed by the parents of the bride which is a sign that the girl is given to the groom. During this time, the right hands are tied together with a scared thread.

Vidai: As the wedding ceremony is concluded, the couple is made to place their feet on rice plates. Thereafter, they take the blessings of the elders of the family. After this, the newlyweds proceed towards the groom’s house. They are taken separately to the same place. Gifts are sent by the bride’s father to her new house.  They are welcomed by the women of the house at the groom’s house. This is accompanied again by music and drums.

Datar: This involved rinsing the bride’s feet at her new place as she sprinkles milk on all the corners of the house. She also gives some salt to her husband who then gives it back to her without dropping it in the floor.

Reception: The wedding ceremony is concluded finally by the reception. This is hosted by the groom’s family, either on the day of the wedding after the rituals, or the following day. The couple is blessed by all the members of the family!

The Sindhi wedding is as glamorous as it sounds. It is a grand occasion and the celebrations justify it. It is a time of merriment and this reflects the ideologies of the Sindhis!

Raja Kumar

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