Hindus consider marriage a sacred institution. Those interested in this culture are intrigued by many facets of traditional Indian weddings, such as ceremonies that last for several days. Those who desire a Hindu inspired wedding can benefit from understanding the basics of Indian wedding traditions.
Traditional Hindu Wedding Rituals
Most North American individuals are familiar with wedding traditions of the western world. Hindu wedding traditions are substantially different than the wedding traditions these people are used to. One of the biggest differences is that most North Americans marry for love. This means that the bride and groom select each other. Indian weddings are arranged marriages, meaning the family chooses the bride and groom. The proper selection of a bride and groom is not taken lightly, and is seen to be the social blending of two families.
An Indian wedding spans several days. Five different rituals that take place during an Indian wedding are: Misri, mehendi Party, Sangreet Party, Haldi, and Saptapadi. Local customs can alter the minor details of all these Indian wedding rituals. However, the main premise of these five Hindu wedding rituals remains strong throughout India.
During the Misri, the bride and groom exchange rings in the presence of a Hindu priest. Following the Misri comes the mehendi party, where the bride’s hands and feet are painted with henna tattoos. Some female family members also have henna tattoos painted on their hands to symbolize their support of the marriage.
The two families come together on the eve of the wedding to eat, drink, and dance during the Sangreet party. A cleansing Indian wedding ritual known as Haldi, where the bride and groom are covered in turmeric powder, takes place on the morning of the Indian wedding. Afterwards, everyone goes on to attend the Hindu wedding ceremony, which lasts several hours.
An Indian wedding will take place in a well decorated tent. Once married, the bride and groom will perform the Saptapadi ritual. This is a traditional Hindu wedding tradition where the bride and groom walk around a fire seven times while a priest lectures on the significance of marriage.
Indian Wedding Food
Indian wedding fare is determined largely based on where in India a wedding is taking place. For the most part, the food at a traditional Hindu wedding is vegetarian. People from certain regions add fish or chicken to their meals. Finger food is widely popular. Small dishes wrapped in banana leaves are a favorite of Indian wedding guests. Drinks such as juice, soft drinks, and buttermilk are used to wash down the meal. Sweet curd, rice, and small desserts are also common Indian Wedding food items.
Indian Wedding Decor
Bright and vibrant colors such as red, burgundy, gold and orange are used in traditional Indian wedding décor. The bride even wears a bright and vibrant dress instead of a white dress that many of western cultures are so used to seeing. Marigolds, roses, and jasmine make up many Indian wedding flower arrangements. If you want a Hindu wedding, consider the use of bold colors and these floral arrangements.
Planning an Indian wedding theme could be a great way to differentiate your wedding from those of your friends. Bold colors, traditional rituals, and several days of celebration is a great way to start your life as husband and wife.