Indian Wedding Information

Written by caitlin mcculloch
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Indian Wedding Information
Indian weddings often include bright, colourful clothing. (Indian fabrics image by Melissa Schalke from Fotolia.com)

An Indian wedding defies what the average American would think of as a traditional wedding. Thoughts that may come to mind when the word wedding is mentioned are white gowns, a celebration of several hours and a choice of chicken or fish. However, an Indian wedding includes colourful saris, multiple days of celebrating and vibrant food selections.

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Bride's Jewelry and Clothing

A plethora of jewellery is worn by an Indian bride. Jewellery traditionally is yellow gold and may contain colourful stones. A tiara-type piece of jewellery called Shringar Patti is placed down the bride's hairline. Earrings with a matching heavy necklace, a nose stud, bangle bracelets, rings and anklets are also worn. A black necklace called the Mangal Sutra is very important and symbolic. This will be worn at the end of the ceremony. Traditional Indian brides do not wear a white gown, but a coloured sari. Brides most often wear a red sari on their wedding day. The fabric of choice for a wedding sari is silk, and it will include some type of embellishment.

Ceremony

An Indian wedding ceremony lasts for several days. The Ganesh Pooja will occur on the first night of the ceremony. This includes a priest performing a ceremony with only close family members, the bridal party, the bride and the groom. The next day is a ceremony for the women called the Mehndi ceremony. This is where henna tattoos will be created on the feet and hands. Later that evening a celebration called Sangeet will occur. The couple's families will get to know one another, and there will be food and entertainment.

Main Ceremony

The bride and groom, parents of the bride and the priest sit under a canopy called a Mandap. The bride is then given away. Holding hands, the couple then circles around a small fire to participate in the ritual of Mangal Phera. Next, comes the couple's vows, and the couple takes seven symbolic steps forward together. Red powder is then applied by the groom to the forehead of the bride. Finally, a Mangral Sutra, or black beaded necklace, is tied around the neck of the bride. This symbolises that she is no longer single, but married.

Food

In traditional Indian weddings, the cuisine will be all vegetarian and very spicy. However, more modern Indian weddings or Indian weddings taking place in the United States are likely to have more variety. There will be a cake, but also nut-based desserts and perhaps an Indian ice cream called Kulfi. Naan bread and a variety of curries are Indian wedding staples. Pastries filled with various vegetables or spiced meats, called Samosas, may also be on the menu.

Reception

Following the main ceremony is the wedding reception. Receptions at an Indian wedding are vibrant and lively. Music and dancing are always plentiful. Traditionally, the Punjab folk dance of Bhangra will likely be danced. There may also be performances. A reception is an important place for the groom's family to get to know the bride, as many parts of the ceremony are centred around the bride's side of the family. For this reason, an Indian groom's family may plan the reception more so than at a typical wedding.

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