Weddings are a significant moment in the lives of any couple. And in India, it becomes even more crucial as it is seen as the coming together of not just two people, but of two families. Indian weddings are a time of joy and happiness that lasts for days. On each day, you will find one ceremony or other that makes this event magical. These Indian pre wedding traditions are a delight for all the near and dear ones who are involved with the ceremonies. If you are planning to attend one such wedding event then you should have a brief idea about the desi wedding traditions. Here is a brief overview about them.
Kundli Milan (Checking Bride and Groom’s compatibility through Astrology)
In India, astrology plays a vital role. People usually consult an astrologer before making big decisions such as wedding announcements. As a result, the process of matching the bride and the groom’s Kundli becomes a vital Indian pre-wedding tradition.
- Kundli or astrological chart of the would-be bride and groom
In this event, the astrologer goes through the Kundli of the prospective couple. The Kundli is an astrological chart that comprises the positions of planets and other celestial bodies of a particular time. According Indian customs, the Kundli helps in predicting if the marriage would be successful or not. The astrologer also tells the families the steps they should take to ensure a successful marriage.
Muhurat for Ceremonies (Fixing the Event Dates)
Just like Kundli matching, the families try to fix the dates for various ceremonies when the stars are aligned perfectly in their favour.
- Astrological calendar is the one states the positions of planets of planets and other celestial bodies on various dates
Fixing this date is not an easy process. Hence, an astrologer is hired to determine the position of planets in the sky on various dates. The astrologer then advises the family regarding the perfect time for Sagai, wedding, and other significant events.
Roka (Official Announcement)
Roka is the first step in the Indian pre-wedding tradition. This event involves the bride and the groom accepting the marriage offer and asking the elders for their blessings. Roka also provides the couple with an opportunity to interact with one another.
Roka ceremony steps might differ in different regions, but the purpose is the same, i.e., making an official announcement of the marriage.
- Tilak or vermillion
- Shagun or gifts (comprises of cash, clothes, sweets, jewelry, dry fruits, etc)
- Puja items
Usually, a pundit or priest is invited in the ceremony to bless the bride and the groom. The groom’s family is welcomed by the bride family where the latter takes turns in applying tilak or vermillion on the groom’s forehead. After the puja ceremony, both families exchange shagun or gifts as a token of love and appreciation.
Ganesha Puja (Worshiping Lord Ganesha)
Ganesha Puja for marriage is one of the most critical rituals of the Indian pre-wedding tradition.
In India, people believe that worshiping Lord Ganesha before any significant event helps to make it a success.
As a result, the families involved in the wedding pray to Lord Ganesha to bless the marriage and ensure a happy life for the bride and the groom. The ritual of Ganesh Sthapana in marriage is one of the most important traditions followed in India.
- Puja items such as flowers, earthen lamps, idol of Lord Ganesha, tilak, etc.
The families of the bride and groom gather to take the blessings of Lord Ganesha before starting the different events and rituals of the wedding. This ceremony is usually performed by a pandit or priest.
Sagai (Ring Ceremony)
The next important part of the Indian pre-wedding tradition is Sagai, or the ring ceremony. The family members of the couple find the best rings for the couple.
- Engagement rings
- Gifts (Clothes, jewelry, sweets, cash, etc)
Sagai is similar to the ring ceremony in western culture.The two families consult an astrologer to fix a date for Sagai. On the decided date, the bride and the groom exchange rings and put it on their ring finger of the left hand as a part of Sagai ceremony rituals. People believe that the ring finger of the left hand has a vein that goes directly to the heart.
Tilak (Groom Acceptance Ceremony)
The Tilak ceremony is an essential part of the Indian pre-wedding tradition. This ceremony can be considered the first bond between the two families.
- Tilak or vermillion
- Gifts (Clothes, cash, jewelry, etc)
Tilak ceremony is usually done at the groom’s home. The bride’s family visits the groom and applies a tilak on his forehead. The bride’s family might also give a gift to the groom.
You might notice that this ceremony has different avatars in various states of the country. Still, the ritual remains the same.
Haldi (Turmeric Ceremony)
Haldi ceremony is one of the most vital parts of the Indian pre-wedding tradition. It is a special day for the bride and the groom.
- Haldi or turmeric paste
- Decorative items (flowers, lighting etc)
During the Haldi ceremony procedure, some family members apply Haldi (turmeric) paste on the face and body of the bride and the groom. It is a day of festivities and involves photo shoots and video sessions as well.
Mehndi (Henna Ceremony)
After the Haldi ceremony, the next important event for the bride, and sometimes for the groom, is the Mehndi ceremony. This event involves the application of Mehndi on the hands of the bride and the groom.
- Mehndi or henna
On this occasion, the family of the bride and groom would either hire a mehndi artist to put the mehndi or apply it themselves. This ceremony is accompanied by music and dance.
Sangeet (Music & Singing Ceremony)
Indian weddings are larger than life moments, and it would be incomplete without music and singing. The sangeet night is one of those events that spice ups the Indian pre-wedding traditions.
- Music arrangements (speakers, live band etc)
Families could opt for a simple singing event or hire a choreographer to prepare dance performances and other things. Most of the time, it’s just the relatives of the couple who participate in this event.
Kalire and Chura Ceremony
This ceremony is held at the bride’s house on the day of her wedding. It involves the maternal uncle of the bride, giving her white and red bangles (Kalire and Chudas). It is an important part of the North Indian wedding rituals.
- Kalire and Chura (Bangles)
- Gifts (Cash, clothes, jewelry, etc)
Through this ceremony, the family blesses the bride as she is about to leave her home and start a new life. This Indian pre-wedding ritual is an emotional moment for the bride and her family.
These are some of the most significant Indian pre-wedding traditions. You may come across a bachelor’s party and similar western events taking place alongside the traditions mentioned here. These traditions might differ from place to place, but the purpose of these traditions is the same, i.e., wishing a happy married life for the couple.
What is Bariksha Ceremony?
It is a pre-wedding ceremony that is similar to an engagement event. It involves the family of the bride visiting the groom’s family with gifts to mark the beginning of a new relationship between the two families.
What Should I Do for Haldi Ceremony Decoration?
There isn’t any specific decoration for the Haldi Ceremony, but you can come up with your own ideas. You can put up welcome boards, lanterns and rangolis, drapes and lights, flowers, dream catchers and other decorative items.
What to Wear to a Sangeet?
The Indian weddings are all about traditions and culture, so you need to follow Indian wedding etiquette. For ladies, bright and gaudy lehanga and sarees would be a good option. Gents could opt for the traditional Kurta pyjama or go with the modern suits. Traditional Sherwani would also be a good option.
Are There Any Benefits Mehndi on Hands?
Mehndi or Henna has a cooling effect. It helps calm the nerves, reduces inflammation and also helps in healing wounds. Henna pattern is also important as different designs such as peacocks, flowers, vines and leaves, etc. symbolise different things when it comes to a married life.