Traditional Indian Weddings
A typical traditional Indian wedding offers an insight to the region, class, caste, religion and the ethnic diversity of the predominantly Hindu India. Even Indian Christian Weddings incorporate most of the traditions of their Hindu communities.
From the property brought by the bride - Streedhan, to the elaborate ritualistic wedding ceremony - Indian wedding is rich with symbolism. Dowry or the Streedhan still remains a pernicious tradition in many communities ending in untold misery to the families of the brides.
A traditional Indian wedding went into many days in the past. Recently most weddings take place in about 2 days. Each part is usually performed in the presence of a Hindu Priest who chants Sanskrit slokas. Main point of a typical Indian wedding is the tying of Mangalsutra - a small gold ornament (the design can vary based on a number of factors - caste, region, community and family tradition) tied in a yellow thread or strung in a Gold, silver or beaded chain on the neck of the Bride. She will retain this until the end of her life or her spouse's.
Every community has its own unique sangityam - or traditional ritual in wedding. A typical South Indian Brahmin has Janavasam - the bridegroom is brought in a ceremonial parade usually seated in a cabriole - open car surrounded by women carrying plates of fruits and sweets, in the previous evening. And the actual wedding ceremony takes place in the most auspicious time - Muhurtha Neram at which Kanya Dhan the bride is given in a ceremony before a Holy Fire - Vivaha Homam and the bridegroom ties the Maangalyam or Thali on to the bride.
Panigrahanam the bride's hand is held in a ceremony, Pratigna Karanam exchanging of solemn vows, Parikrama - circumambulation of the Holy Fire or Agni and Saptapadhi or visualizing Arundadi are all part of the elaborate ritualistic traditional south Indian Weddings. At the end, there is a grand lunch offered to the guests. People spend vast sums of money in marriages in an ostentatious display of their social standing in India.
We display some major sects of weddings in these pages focussing on one of the most important aspects of an Indian life - Wedding - here.