If you haven't witnessed a big fat Indian wedding, you really haven't seen a real celebration. India has a rich cultural diversity which is evident in every aspect of life. The different wedding traditions around India signify the same.
Wedding traditions in India are based on culture, religion, region and community. Each one has its unique charm and elegance which contributes to the big day. Here are some traditions from different parts of India.
1. Rajasthan - Nandi Ganesh Puja
This is quite significant in Rajasthan. Nandi (lord Shiva's Vahana) and Ganesha are worshipped together to seek blessing for the auspicious journey of marriage. This is performed on the engagement day or the day before the wedding. It is said that the first invitation to the wedding is given to Lord Ganesha through this ceremony for the smooth journey of the couple.
2. Bengal - Subho Drishti
Subho Drishti is known to be the first glance in which the bride and groom see each other for the first time on the wedding day. The first glance signifies the beginning of their beautiful journey. The bride covers her face with betel leaves while her brothers carry her on a wooden plank.
3. Punjab - Chunni Chadhai
This is officially the engagement ceremony where the couple seeks blessings from the elders. The groom's family visits the bride bearing gifts. The groom's mother places the red chunni on the bride's head which symbolises the acceptance of the union. The ceremony is seen as accepting the bride into her new family.
4. Maharashtra - Sakharpuda
Sakharpuda is the engagement ceremony of a Marathi wedding. The term 'sakhar' means sugar and 'puda' means packet. The ceremony includes the bride's family giving a coconut and other gifts to the groom and the groom's side giving sugar and other items to the bride. Starting something sweet with sugar is considered good luck and coconut is considered auspicious.
5. Kerala - Kettu Kalyanam
This is a traditional marriage ceremony in Malyali weddings. The groom ties a golden ornament 'thali' around the bride's neck. The ritual symbolizes tying the knot. A sacred thread called 'Minnu' is also tied around the wrists of the bride and groom.
6. Tamil Nadu - Mangala Snanam
This is a pre-wedding ritual in which the bride and groom take a ceremonial bath before the wedding. It symbolizes the cleansing of negativity and impurities before undertaking this life journey. The water for this bath contains milk, honey and turmeric.
7. Gujarat- Madhuparka
This is a custom during Gujarati weddings where the groom is offered a drink of milk, honey and ghee and the groom's feet are washed by a member of the bride's family. The act of having the sweet beverage and cleansing of the feet symbolizes the removal of negativity and starting the prosperous journey with sweetness.
8. Goa - Chuddo
This is a pre-wedding ritual of the bride where bangles are fitted on her hands to show the beginning of her married life. Bangles play a very important role in the traditional Goan wedding. Often the bangle seller known as 'kankonkar' is invited to the bride's house and the family offers him money, rice and coconut.