Indian weddings are all about bringing two strange families close and dovetailing them into one. It sometimes means two disparate families with absolutely unalike mores, come under a single roof. To build warmth, compassion and love between two groups which may be incompatible with each other is almost an uphill task. Fortunately, Indian wedding rituals are more than enough to save the day. The mirthful and frisky wedding rituals pave way to create fulsome happy memories while wiping off differences between the two families. In a typical Coorg wedding, for instance, the groom cuts down the stems of banana plants to prove his strength. Wedding Affair brings to you the most playful rituals that have been adding spice to Indian weddings since time immemorial.
One of the most popular rituals in South Indian weddings is Kashi Yatra. The ceremony usually takes place on the wedding day, after the groom takes a holy bath and starts to prepare himself for the wedding. During the ritual, the groom pretends that he is leaving for Kashi to become a sanyasi (hermit). He picks up only essentials required for the pilgrimage such as a walking stick, an umbrella and an old slipper. He proclaims to renounce the worldly pleasures and lead an ascetic life. While he makes up his mind to leave for Kashi, the bride’s family tries to persuade him to marry their daughter. The father and the brothers of the bride then coax the groom for the marriage by holding his chin and washing his feet. They try to change the groom’s mind, to give up the thought of renouncing the material world. In order to lure the groom into marriage, members of the bride’s family often speak out positive and inspiring words about married life. It is a lively ritual where both the families have a gala time. The fun-filled wedding ritual has now made its way to the big screen of Bollywood. The film ‘Gori Tere Pyar Mein’ starring Kareena Kapoor Khan and Imran Khan had a hilarious scene which incorporated this ritual.
Another fun-filled ritual is the Ponkvu ceremony coming from the Gujarati wedding. Gujaratis are known for their warm hearts and impeccable hospitality. Their weddings spill love, laughter and joy. Moreover, their wedding ceremonies are as vibrant and playful as it can get. Ponkvu ritual marks as the official start of a Gujarati wedding. The ritual is performed after the groom and his entourage have arrived at the bride’s abode, as her mother welcomes the groom. During the ritual, the bride’s mother makes an endeavour to catch hold of the groom’s nose while the groom tries to evade his nose from being caught. The light-hearted ritual becomes a moment of merriment in each and every Gujarati wedding. The guests relish every bit of leg-pulling that takes place between the groom and his mother-in-law. It is an unmissable sight to witness the friendly tug of war between the two. The exhilaration and gaiety that spills when Ponkvu ritual is performed amongst the Gujaratis is absolutely unparalleled. The ritual helps to build a friendly and good-humoured relationship between the groom and his mother-in-law, who then performs an aarti and puts vermilion on his forehead as a welcoming gesture.
Fishing The Ring
This is a very popular wedding ritual followed during most of the Hindu weddings. The ritual is most popular in Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and some other states of India. Finding the ring or fishing the ring ceremony usually takes place after a couple has tied the knot and the bride has made her entry into her new home. This ritual is performed by the bride and the groom in the presence of their loved family members. During the ritual, a ring is hidden in a deep-bottomed vessel filled with milk and several other things such as petals, coins, bangles, etcetera. The vessel is then placed in front of the bride and the groom for them to hunt the ring using a single hand. The couple places their hands in the vessel to find the ring. It is believed that whoever wins more number of times is said to hold a dominant position in the marriage. Elders of the family believe that if a couple finds the ring at the same time, then the couple will share understanding, companionship along with a sense of balance in their marital life. As the couple tries to sift through the articles in the milk vessel in order to find the ring, the family encourages their respective favourites between the two.
Spotting The Groom’s Name
This is another very prominent ritual seen at the Hindu weddings. It is also practised at some of the Muslim weddings. This ceremony aims at breaking the ice between the bride and the groom and to initiate physical contact between the two. It is a customary wedding ritual at most of the weddings where the groom’s name or his initials are meticulously hidden within the intricate henna on the bride’s palms. It is believed that if the groom is unable to find his initials on the bride’s hands, then the bride will have an upper hand in their married life. Similarly, if the groom is able to find his name on the bride’s hands then he will play the dominant role in their life ahead. This ritual is entertaining as the groom racks his brain to figure out all the possible places in the bride’s palm where his name could be written. The bride relishes every moment of the groom’s dilemma and does not leave a chance to tease him. The ritual not only brings the couple closer, it also commences the married life on a positive and friendly note. The ritual has been witnessed in numerous mainstream Bollywood films as well.