An Indian Wedding
Essay # 1
Some time back I attended a traditional Indian wedding. My best friend, a boy I had been with both in school and college, was getting married. He was the first in our group of friends to do so, so we were all very excited — almost as much as the bridegroom himself!
On the evening of the great day, amidst laughter and gaiety, the Barat set forth for the bride’s house. As was expected of us, we sang and danced to popular Hindi film songs played by the band accompanying us. We held up the traffic and no doubt irritated all those people wanting to get home after a hard day’s work. However, our high spirits were infectious and we received many smiles and cheers on our way.
When we reached our destination, the bride and bridegroom’s relatives greeted each other with garlands in what is known as the Mini ceremony. While this was going on, I admired the beautifully decorated house -and garden. With its twinkling fairy lights, it looked like an enchanted land.
My friend was then helped down from the mare on which he had ridden all the way, and taken inside. There, he was immediately surrounded by the bride’s sisters, cousins and friends who made a great show of looking after him but were actually seeking an opportunity to hide the poor man’s shoes, another time-honored custom. And this is exactly what they did, after having diverted our attention towards heaped plates of superbly cooked food and delicious sweetmeats.
Soon it was time for the wedding to take place. The bride came out from some inner sanctum, escorted by her older sister and her favourite aunt. She looked really beautiful with her red silk saree and gold jewellery. She sat down beside the bridegroom in the mandap and the priest began the ceremony by chanting verses from the scriptures. He explained the meaning of each verse and told the would-be couple to perform little rituals which were all symbolic of trust, faith, and love towards each other. The most important part of the ceremony was going round the fire seven times, which the bride and bridegroom did in due course. They were then declared husband and wife and all of us showered marigolds and rose petals on them.
The next morning, my friend and his wife departed for a holiday to get to know each other better, and the rest of us went home to cope with the after-effects of a sleepless night and too much food!
An Indian Wedding
Essay # 2
Indian marriage customs are not the same all over India. Every religion, for example, Hinduism and Islam, has its own rites and ceremonies, and even the customs of one religion differ in different parts of the country, and among the different castes and tribes.
Amongst the Indian Muhammadans, the first part of a wedding is the nikah ceremony. When a marriage has been arranged between two families, the father of the bridegroom goes to the house of the bride’s father to settle the terms of the marriage. The Mullah asks several questions to the two fathers, and when he finds that both parties are agreed and that the two people to be married are of proper age, he reads the proper verses from the Holy Quran for the nikah. Then sweetmeats are given to all present, while a drum is beaten outside the house and a man loudly proclaims that the betrothal between such and such persons has taken place. One important thing settled at this ceremony is the amount of the mahr, or the sum of money settled on the bride.
The next thing to do is to fix the date of the actual marriage; and great care is taken to fix it on a lucky day, for certain months and days are considered unlucky. A week before the day of the wedding, the bride and bridegroom are anointed with oil; and four days later, what is called the mehndi ceremony is held. On that day mehndi mixed with water is distributed among the whole tribe, which is invited to dinner; and the bride and bridegroom redden their hands and feet with mehndi.
At last, the wedding day comes. A grand procession is formed at the house of the bridegroom’s father, and a large crowd of relatives, all dressed in rich costumes, go with the bridegroom, who rides on horseback, to the house of the bride’s father – beating drums, playing music and letting off fireworks. There the marriage ceremony is performed, and the bridegroom is given milk to drink, and presented with gifts by the relations of the bride. The house is open all day to guests, and feasting goes on all the time.
At last, the bride is placed in a doli, and is taken in procession by the bridegroom and his friends to his father’s house – her father giving her on her departure clothes, and gold and silver ornaments.