There are many things that highlight an Indian wedding. For the bride and groom, the wedding is an event that marks the beginning of their new life together; for others it is a time to flaunt their apparels, make merry during various kinds of rituals, and enjoy the gala fun and above all a time to feast on the delicacies. If you have been invited for the first time to one such wedding, here’s a list about common highlights of a typical wedding in India.
- An occasion that runs through several days
This is a gala event that continues for a week or so. However, of late the length of this carnival of sorts has been shortened over time owing to the fast paced life of today and busy schedules of the guests as well of the hosts. Still, it is a common norm for the most weddings to run for three days simultaneously both on bride’s side as well as groom’s side. This is the reason many hire the services of a wedding planner who can help them organize and execute the event to perfection.
Various rituals such as haldi (turmeric application), mehandi (henna application) and sangeet (folk and bollywood music and chorus singing) are organized that create a traditional wedding atmosphere at the house or wedding site. Relatives, friends and acquaintances gather around and take part in these rituals with all their zeal and build up a festive spirit in the air.
- The Baraat (The groom’s procession)
This may come as a surprise for those not well-acquainted with nuptial ceremonies in India. In a typical Indian baraat, the groom arrives at the wedding site (usually the bride’s home) on a decorated horse or on a car fully decorated with flowers.
The most prominent aspect of baraat is the band party playing loud music and groom’s friends and relatives dancing happily on the melodious tunes. The beat of the drums, flashing lights, dancing people and cracker blasts make the procession flamboyant and emphatic. The procession proceeds slowly and reaches its destination (the bride’s place), where the people from bride’s side greet the groom’s party and welcome them with garlands and sprinkles of rose water.
- The Jaimala
The Jaimala (Garland exchange) is a typical ceremony of an Indian wedding that marks the wedding show. It symbolizes that the bride and groom have chosen one another as life partners and they are proclaiming it in public by garlanding each other on a beautifully decorated dais. Special flower garlands, extra showy chairs for the bride and groom, beautiful attires of the bride as well as the groom, and the bride’s maids in all their lovely dresses, naughty remarks and giggles make this event extremely charming and worth watching.
- The Wedding Party – Food And More Food
Here comes the real enjoyment for many and the epitome of the function, the extravagant feast. Various types of delicacies, specially prepared sweets, cocktail drinks and numerous food stalls all beautifully lit and decorated serve rich Indian food for the guests. Food is one thing that most of the guests have a opinion about.
- The Saat Pheras, Vermilion And The Bidai
These are terms that are often used during this holy matrimonial event. The saat pheras (circling around a fire seven times by the bride and groom amid the enchantments of mantras by the priest) and application of vermilion on the hairline at the forehead of the bride by the groom demonstrates that the bride and groom are now wife and husband. The next comes the turn of bidai ceremony when the groom takes his bride from the wedding scene to begin a new life. The bride’s parents and relatives bid farewell to the bride and groom with a heavy heart and extend their best wishes to the newlywed couple.
The wedding cards, mithai and milani are some other aspects of the grand affair that do deserve a mention. To appreciate the complete panorama of the event, once must not only attend it, but also participate in the blockbuster event!
Summary: The big fat Indian wedding is an event families and friends look forward to a mighty cocktail of various traditional flavors along with modern eccentricities. Read on to find out what the pomp and show all about.