Indian weddings and Female Dresses
Indian weddings are easily among the most vibrant, intricate and lively on earth. Contrary to the West, where it is the bride and the groom that are the prominent characters, in an India wedding, it’s the immediate and extended families on either side that are the star players! A wedding is a social affair, and heralds the coming of not just the few but of the families as well.
An average Indian wedding includes of three broad segments – the pre-wedding ceremonies (which are almost as complicated as the wedding ), the wedding and a few post-wedding rituals.
India is a huge and diverse nation, with the North, South, East and West each using its own distinctive languages, cuisine, traditions and customs and marriage rituals. Sari, Kurta and kurtis are famous dresses on weddings. In many areas kurta for women is also common during weddings.
North Indian marriages
A traditional North Indian wedding takes place at the brides’ home. North Indian unions are characterized by numerous pre-wedding and post-wedding ceremonies. The most essential pre-wedding ritual is that of the Mangni or Sagai (participation ceremony). The boy and the woman exchange rings in the presence of a religious priest and family and close friends.
The groom mounts a brightly colored horse, usually together with the youngest boy of the family sitting up front with him. He is preceded by a crowd of his male and female relatives, and friends, dressed in all their finery and accompanied by a musical band. His face is covered with a curtain of blossoms (the sehra which is tied with his sister). The noisy, procession, together with the group belting out the tunes of the latest Bollywood chartbusters, makes its leisurely way past residential homes, busy streets before finally arriving at the woman’s house.
Finally, the groom and the bride, seated on a dais, get up to exchange garlands from the Jaimala service – among the most essential of all North Indian wedding traditions -amidst lots of good-natured cheering.
The next part is the most symbolic one – that the Saat Pheras (or the seven steps) the wedding couple take around the fire. Thus usually happens very late – usually after 12 midnight – much after the guests have feasted and left and just the exact close relatives on either side are abandoned. Both of them circle the scared fire, taking vows to love and honor each other throughout their lifetimes. The groom then applies a streak of vermilion to the bride’s head, after which they become legally wedded husband and wife.
The bride is then given a tearful send-off by her family because she leaves with her new husband to begin a brand-new life.
South Indian marriages and dress styles
The basis for those rituals is exactly the same except that they are conducted in a different manner. The wedding venue is usually a hallway where the wedding mandap ( a small coated enclosure) includes plantain trees attached to both the gateposts, overhead festoons made from cherry leaves strung together, and Rangoli designs (intricate designs made out of colored powder) at the entry.
The evening before the actual wedding day, the bridegroom is led at a flower-decked procession in the temple from the bride’s parents to the union Mandapam (hallway ). Once there, the most proper espousal ceremony takes place. The ritual is followed by presenting clothes to the bunch. Interestingly, the wedding ceremonies are performed separately by the bride and the groom. The wedding ceremony is formalized from the hallway with a Vedic priest that chants ancient hymns and poetry, remembering the names of 3 generations of ancestors of both, the bride and the groom prior to all who’ve gathered to watch the marriage. The bride and the groom exchange garlands when they’re lifted on the shoulders of their respective uncles. The bride then sits on her father’s lap to the ‘Kanyadan’ (giving off the daughter) ceremony into the bridegroom.
The bride is presented using a Mangalsutra (the fearful necklace that signifies her married status) as well as a new sari which is draped around her from the sister of the bridegroom. Next, the groom walks seven steps with his bride, holding her hand in his. The seven measures are the most significant part the wedding service.