Indian weddings are a huge emotional affair. Throbbing with diversity, people from different caste and languages practise different sets of customs on their wedding function. Every bride and groom has to go through these unusual wedding traditions to make their married life last longer and to seek happiness in their lives. But some wedding traditions are carried out without anyone having the slightest clue as to why such a tradition exists. Some are outright weird. But each tradition is beautiful to the one who follows it. For everyone’s ease, we break down traditions according to the kind of wedding they are performed in.
‘Ghada Gharoli’ is a ritual practised by the bride on her wedding day and before she wears her shagun ka joda. The bride’s mother and brother’s wife go to a nearby temple and bring a pitcher full of water, considered to be sacred. The bride has to bathe with this holy water before she wears the wedding outfit.
In Bengali wedding tradition, the grooms’s mother is not allowed to be present at the time of the marriage for the sake of her son’s happy life. Also, a plate of guddies (Ganga aarti) is sent by all married women from the bride’s family to welcomes goddess Durga to the marriage. This plate is drowned in the Ganges and it is believed that the holy river will shower her blessings on the bride.
In some Tamil Brahmin marriages, the groom has to change his mind a few minutes before he sits at the altar. He has to associate himself to a ‘sanyasi’ and then the father of the groom will make him understand about the importance of marriage and role of a husband, thus bringing him back to his ‘senses’.
Tribal Weddings in Sarsaul, a small town of Uttar Pradesh, is quite an unusual and strange sight, where the groom’s family is not welcomed with rose petals, gulab jal or paan but by tomatoes. The belief behind hurling tomatoes is that a relationship started with such unfortunate and strange note will surely end in deep love between the groom and the bride.
Imagine how would the bride would feel when her skills are tested the moment she steps into the home of her in-laws. Yes, this happens in Bihari weddings! The new bride has to keep earthen pots one over the other, which is given to her by her mother-in-law. Now, the bride has to seek blessings from all the elderly members present in the family without breaking any of the earthen pots.
Usually the bride and the groom go around the mandap (the parasol under which the marriage takes place) for three times and then the groom ties a yellow thread around the bride’s neck. In all Hindu weddings, people go around the fire seven times. This is, therefore, a huge departure from the tradition.
Before the groom enters the mandap he needs to go through this extremely weird tradition called Madhuparka. This is a ritual where the bride’s parents welcome the groom by washing his feet with a mixture of milk and honey, and then he needs to drink this ‘potion’.
They use a silk shawl called Antrapat to separate the bride and the groom. The antrapat is removed only when the Magalsutra is to be tied to the bride and this is only when the bride and groom can see each other.
People from Manipur believe in releasing the evil spirit first and here the fish plays an important role. The groom and the bride have to release two fishes in some nearby pond. If the fishes move side by side in the pond, it is considered to be a good sign.
Kumaoni wedding use a unique prop: flags. The white flag represents the groom and the red flag represents the bride. The white flag leads the baraat and the red flag runs around the beautiful bride.
Only few adivasi communities follow this tradition. The ritual is something like this: after the man and the woman get married, the woman is kept in some hidden place for one year and is not allowed to interact with people. Exactly after one year has passed, the marriage is approved by senior members and then there is a huge function held in the community and they celebrate the wedding.
This is the most unusual and weird marrying process which is carried out only in India. If the bride is Manglik she has to marry the Peepal tree first and only then she can actually get married to a human. It is a superstitious belief that either the bride or the groom will die after marriage if the bride does not gets married to the tree first.
There is a ritual called ‘Tel diya’ performed at the wedding day. According to the practise, the groom’s mother puts a ring and beetle leaf on her daughter-in-law’s hair. She applies oil thrice on bride, after which she supplies the sindoor and gives her the wedding outfit which is known as mekhla chadar in Assam.
Mangalorean Christians are Konkani people and perform some purely Hindu rituals during weddings. At time of marriage, the bride and the groom seek blessings from their respective parents and are anointed with a mixture of coconut milk and oil, while a cross is made on the groom’s forehead. The bride is adorned with the Sado (wedding sari) and Pirduk (wedding necklace). Hymns are sung during the marriage.
It is always fun to know something that we didn’t know before. India is a place with multi-language, multi-religion culture followed by multiple traditions and rituals in the great Indian weddings.