An abundance of colour, song, dance, food and festivities that go on for days on end. These are just a few elements of a Big Fat Indian Wedding!
One of my oldest friends got married last week in the stunning city of Jaipur, India and I was lucky enough to be a part of this three-day celebration! Indian weddings are probably one of the most vibrant in the world and this wedding was no exception. Full of life and never-ending excitement, below are a collection of snapshots that I took over the few festive days.
The first (and my personal favourite) event of the wedding was the Mehendi where the bride and all women of the family get henna designs drawn on their hands and feet. The designs on the bride are the most intricate and often the mehendi artist will discreetly draw in the name of the groom. Traditionally a ceremony thrown and celebrated but the bride’s side of the family, these days everyone joins in!
The second event of the day was the Haldi ceremony which traditionally takes place after the Mehendi and involves a paste of turmeric (mixed with milk, sandalwood powder or rose water) being applied to the bride and groom. Turmeric is quite important in the Indian culture due to its healing, beautifying and purifying properties. To Hindus this ceremony is also believed to ward off any evil and bless the couple with prosperity. As with all events, this too involves song, dance and a celebration with both families.
The day ended with the Sangeet, probably one of the most fun events of an Indian wedding. It is a night of song and dance (and drinks!) where family and friends from both sides sing songs and perform dances for the bride and groom. Traditionally, both families would sit on either side singing folk songs, joking about the in-laws and giving the couple tips about a happy marriage. As you can imagine, these days this event is just one big party!
We then moved on to the Choora Ceremony which is a Punjabi ritual held usually on the morning of the wedding or the day before. The bride’s maternal uncle and aunt are to provide her with a set of bangles (twenty-one bangles in red and white ivory). Other relatives then tie of pieces of gold ornaments to the bride’s set of bangles, one by one and bless her for a happy future with her husband. Back in the day, the brides wore these bangles for an entire year and as they are made from such delicate material, the custom was for the bride to refrain from heavy housework in her marital home. Not a bad deal at all!
Finally, the Baraat arrived, marking the start of the wedding ceremony. The baraat is a large procession brought to the scene of the wedding by the groom’s side of the family. Traditionally, weddings would take place in the bride’s home and the baraat would be sort of like an announcement to the bride’s family that the groom and his family have arrived. This involves (once again) heavy dancing, drums, trumpets and maybe even an elephant or a horse on which the groom arrives! Once the groom has arrived, the mother of the bride welcomes the groom into the house.
Followed by the traditional Indian wedding ceremony which involves the couple and the bride’s family who sit on a ‘stage’ or a raised platform of some sort with a pot of fire in the middle while the pandit chants. The main rituals of the ceremony are: The Kanyadaan – giving away of daughter by the father, Panigrahana – voluntarily holding hands near the fire to signify union, and Saptapadi – taking seven rounds with each round including a vow or promise to each other before the fire. The ceremony can last up to two hours.
The day ended with the Reception which nowadays is slightly more westernised with the couple’s first dance, speeches from family and friends and a sit down dinner. This of course was followed by even more partying and drinking to mark the end of the fantabulous wedding!
Traditionally, Indian weddings go on for a few days due to the several events that take place as a lead up to the actual wedding ceremony and these vary from one part to another part of India.
There is just so much culture and tradition in an Indian wedding that despite being Indian and having attended a handful in my life, I’m still left in awe! I have only ever attended Indian weddings in the west and I have to say that having one in India itself just takes it to a whole new level! The beautiful city of Jaipur was a more than perfect backdrop to this weekend of festivities.
Follow me via email (link in the sidebar) or Bloglovin for more adventures.