Indian weddings and the rituals
A wedding is probably the most important occasion in anybody’s life. It is the one time when you decide to share the rest of your life with another person. It is thus celebrated in a grand manner. Moreover, if you happen to be an Indian, you will identify with the grandeur of an Indian wedding. It is full of food, dance, rituals, ceremonies and a lot of entertainment. It takes place over a few days. When the wedding day is approaching, the air is thick with the essence of the wedding. The wedding rituals in India are a treat to the eye.
The wedding ceremonies start some days before the wedding, with the fixing of the alliance of the two people involved. This is followed by the engagement ceremony. Mehendi is one of the most awaited rituals in the Hindu weddings. What follows thereafter is the actual wedding ceremony. Friends and relatives from all around attend the wedding to bless the couple in their holy matrimony. However, the rituals do not get over with the wedding ceremony. There are a number of other processes that take place after the wedding. Active participation of the guests increases the fun quotient of the post-wedding rituals.
Importance of suhagraat
One of the mostly exciting events after the wedding is the suhagraat. Be it a Hindu marriage, a Christian marriage or a Muslim marriage, this ceremony is celebrated by every Indian wedding and takes place with a lot of grandeur. It is the first time that the bride and groom are left alone to themselves after the wedding to enjoy each other’s presence. Sometimes, it is the first instance when they spend time with each other, which is why this occasion is considered to be very special.
Let us focus on the suhagraat customs in a Muslim marriage. This day is indeed a fun occasion in a Muslim wedding. After the ceremonies are over, the newlyweds have a small dinner celebration with close friends and family. This is one of the post-wedding rituals. Thereafter, the bride bids farewell to her parents’ house and moves to her husband’s place. The groom carries her to the vehicle. On reaching their house, the groom is not allowed to get inside the room with his bride until he fulfils his sisters’ wishes and showers them with gifts and money. Thereafter, he is expected to pay the mehr amount which is decided upon by the bride’s father. Then the new couple is left alone in their room for the first time after their wedding.
Similarly, in a Christian wedding also, the concept is well-known. After the wedding is over in the church, the bride and groom take a ride to the reception hall where the family and friends of the newlyweds await them. Thereafter the bride, groom and a few others make speeches in the reception party. This is followed by the cake cutting ceremony and then comes the most memorable occasion in the reception- the first dance of the new couple. The bride then throws the bouquet of flowers and the unmarried women make an attempt to catch it. This is considered auspicious because it is believed that whoever gets the bouquet, will be married the earliest. After the ceremonies, the newlyweds bid farewell to the family and friends. The guests leave and then it is time for the bride and groom to be with each other. They are then alone in the house where they enjoy each other’s presence for the first time. The groom carries his bride to the room and then continues the process of suhagraat.
Now comes the most elaborate type of marriages. The Hindu marriage is indeed the most celebrated ones in India. In these weddings, several rituals are held after the marriage ceremony. After the wedding, the newlyweds spend one night with their family and friends, a night full of fun and frolic. There are several games held and nobody sleeps that night. The next day, the bride bids farewell to her parents’ home and proceeds towards her new home. Here she is made to kick a pot of rice before entering the house. This is considered auspicious, marking her entry into the new household. She is made to go through the different rooms of the house. She also leaves the imprint of her hands on the wall, which is believed to be lucky. Then there are games that are played in the new family. For instance, a ring is hidden in a bowl of colored water and it is a contest between the newlyweds to find the ring.
This night is one of the most awaited nights in the entire tenure of wedding celebrations. After the games are over, the new couple proceeds towards their room to be with each other, alone. Here, first of all, the sisters of the groom stop him from getting inside the room. He is expected to pay them money or shower them with gifts. Fun, frolic, and teasing continue before the couple is finally allowed to enter the room. The husband is made to carry his wife to the room. Thereafter they are left alone to spend the night together.
The suhagraat is an important day in any wedding celebration because this is the first time the bride and groom spend time alone with each other. In case of an arranged marriage, this is probably the first time that the couple is able to spend quality time with each other. They embark on a journey of togetherness, promising to be with each other for the rest of their lives, in sickness and health. For this, it is very essential that the two people involved in the holy matrimony accept each other, in every possible way. The suhagraat paves the way for that lifelong togetherness. So it is a special occasion in the lives of the newlyweds. In India, this ceremony is highlighted with all the fun and frolic that accompany it. The family and friends of the couple join in the celebration, rejoicing in the moment.