Food, jewellery, clothes, gossips and fun! Weddings in the western countries is a calm affair. Grand? Yes. But calm. They have a decent wedding rehearsal (I still don’t get the idea of rehearsing your wedding, but whatever), and then there's the wedding. It has prayers, walking down the aisle, ring exchange, the kiss, etc. Even during the first dance of the married couple, the music is supposed to be warm and heartfelt. Indians DO NOT believe in calm weddings. The main agenda is “Shaadi itni dhamakedaar honi chahiye ki pure sheher me baat failni chahiye”. The most important reason, obviously, is that you want people to talk about the wedding and talk about how well and “Grand” the wedding was.
An Indian wedding is a five day affair and each day has its own speciality. Although before, these traditions were not given much importance, with so many movies and TV series focusing on weddings and with the continuous weddings of celebrities, wedding traditions have become the new trend. These are five major traditions that make the Indian
wedding, a big fat wedding.
In India, you're not engaged until and unless you exchange your rings in the presence of your families, the whole khandaan, friends, neighbours and obviously, the Almighty. Sagai ceremony marks the start of the whole wedding process. It is popularly said that after engagement, the couple is 50% married.
This is done 2 days before or the day before the wedding. The to be groom and bride are bathed with turmeric water and turmeric is applied all over their face, arms and feet. Traditionally, it is believed that Turmeric makes the skin glow thus preparing the couple for the big day. But, alas! Haldi nowadays looks more like marinating meat. Even though the bride’s haldi is all sweet and fun with people throwing colours on each other like Holi, most of the times in the groom’s side, it’s pretty cruel. Along with Haldi, people add curd, sauce, and what not. Believe me, this happens all over the country.
The true meaning of “Ladki ke Haath Peele karna”. Henna is always thought of as a good omen before an auspicious event. The Bride’s hands are filled with Henna designs from the finger tip till her elbow and the feet are decorated too. The bride also needs to write the groom’s name in her hand in such a way that it becomes difficult for the groom to search for it. All the ladies, from the age group of 4 to 60, apply Henna on their hands.
Though this is mostly considered as the Ladies' function, the groom also gets some henna in his hand for “accha Shagun”, while other men are either busy eating pakoras, kebabs or jalebis, or drinking tea, cold drinks or alcohol.
Boy, hasn’t bollywood spoilt us with this? This is mostly one night before the wedding. A very bad idea to have both the families compete against each other like it’s some reality show, just one day before the wedding. This is the time when basically, all aunties and uncles who do not have arthritis come on stage to literally just shake a leg, kids repeat absurd dance moves for the whole song that lasts 5 minutes, the cousins of both the families have group dances and of course, the stars of the show – the couple dance of the bride and groom. Believe me, nothing is more cringing than watching two people who didn’t know each other’s existence about a month ago, dance on songs of love.
Finally, the grand finale of the whole process – the wedding. The whole crowd will be busy in judging the food and decorations, the bride and groom will be sweating because of the smoke coming out of Havan kund, uncles will be either snoring or talking about politics and cricket while filling their stomachs with food. The bride's side cousins will be busy in stealing the groom’s shoes while the groom’s side cousins will be busy hiding it.
Finally comes the pheres, and bidaii. The couple who was starving from morning will finally get chance to eat something but are then again pestered by the photographers to feed each other and pose in awkward poses.
All in all, weddings are fun as long as it isn’t yours and as long as you’re not paying for the ceremonies. You just have to sit, watch the circus, eat food and have fun.