Indian Weddings Sociology Cassandra Wea

Indian Weddings Sociology Cassandra Wea

An Indian wedding is not just the coming together of a man and a woman; it is the coming together of two families. Traditionally, the families of the bride and groom would arrange the wedding. This is becoming less common now, at least in urban areas, and there is a huge rise in love weddings rather than arranged weddings. Though, arranged weddings are still very common is rural areas and typically set up by a marriage priest selecting possible wedding candidates or even word of mouth of prospective grooms or brides.

Weddings of love are becoming popular from online dating sites and are offsetting this tradition of arrangement. I think a lot of this comes from a new movement in a lot of foreign countries that have less rights for women or arranged marriages changing their ways and moving more towards where America is now, which is having more rights and freedoms. Arranged weddings are strictly intra;religion and intra-caste. Before the wedding happens and the bride and groom are selected there will be a Managing (North India) or Nightmarish (South India) where both families hold a ritual to make the arrangement official.

During this time there is a Murmurs which, based on horoscopes, will determine an appropriate time to hold the wedding. After these rituals the bride and groom to be are blessed by the elders of both families and the engagement ceremonies begin. Typically the wedding and its pre-wedding ceremonies will last a week. The first is the Haled; this is a ritualistic holy bath that contains turmeric, oil and water that is applied to both groom and bride by married women of the family. This is followed by the Minded Ceremony where Henna tattoos are put on the ands and feet of the bride by women only.

Henna tattoos are not permanent and are very intricate. It is said that the darker the tattoo, the stronger the love the groom has for the bride. Also, the bride, after the wedding is not expected to do any housework at the groom’s home until after the tattoos fade away. During the Minded Ceremony the women and bride celebrate with dance and music. The day of the wedding the bride will wear a Sari or Lena, which is a highly ornate dress that is embroidery with gold and silver.

The colors of the Reese are very important but are subject to change based on area and tradition. The bride’s hair is normally plaited and decorated and she wears gold jewelry and precious stones. The groom will wear a Dhoti or Sherwin; this outfit will be subtly decorated with intricate embroidery and is usually white. The wedding itself is typically held at the bride’s home or a wedding hall. The groom will leave his home on a decorated horse or even sometimes an elephant with a caregiver (best man) that will almost always be a younger brother, cousin or nephew.

Like a Christian wedding, the bride will be given away by her father, but unlike Christian weddings, the priest that IS present is not there to marry them, he will only sing chants. The couple will marry themselves and it is official when the groom ties three knots in a thalami or sacred thread. Each knot is for each of the gods Brahmas, Vishnu and Mishmashes. After the string is tied the bride and groom circle a sacred fire called an Again Home (the fire god whom is considered to be a witness), seven times.

Each time represents a marriage goal: religious and moral duties, prosperity, spiritual salvation and liberation, and sensual gratification. They will circle this fire clockwise. After all the rituals are over and the wedding is done the groom will apply a Kumar to the bride’s forehead and toe rigs, which are signs that she is a married woman. The food involved is traditional and vegetarian. After all is said and done the bride will leave her parents home (which is a very sad time of course) to move into the groom’s home, it is here she will now live.

I really love everything about the Indian wedding. I love the intricacy of it ND all of the rituals; it must be really fun to have so much to do to make such a huge life decision happen. Almost as if it is giving you enough time to truly think about what you are about to do and give you a chance to back out if you feel it necessary or postpone it. I think this is something the traditional Christian wedding here lacks. We get drunk with friends (bachelor/tee party) and then the next day we have all of our loved ones and family from both sides attending a huge wedding where a priest will marry you.

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