Dear Bloggies, we all know an Indian wedding is a big, fat and grand affair. There are certain ceremonies and rituals that are performed across all the castes in a Hindu Community. Today I wish to give you all an insight of what goes into a Sindhi wedding to make it a lavish and grand event.
My cousin got married last month. This is the first time that I've been a part of a Sindhi wedding from start till the end. I came to know about many rituals, and their significance.
|My cousin (right) and Brother-in-law|
Here are certain important rituals that are performed in the homes of the bride and the groom. Give-and-take of gifts, prayers, etc, to show acceptance, wishing happiness and a bright future to the couple, and celebrate every moment of this joyful event with enthusiasm.
Janya is a sacred thread ceremony, wherein the groom wears a yellow thread and guru mantra is whispered in his ear by the Mehraj (priest). This ceremony is supposed to be conducted in adolescence. If not, then it can be conducted a day or two before the wedding. Without performing this ritual a Sindhi wedding is considered to be incomplete.
Kachchi misri is an informal engagement between the bride and the groom. Both are given coconuts and misri and it signifies that they have been accepted as a part of each other's family. The two families exchange Shagun (Token gifts), which generally consists of 5 types of fruits, 5 coconuts. The bride's family gives 5 kilos of sweets, basket-full of fruits, kana prasad, and a small token of money.
Semolina sheera is prepared and later served to everyone as prasad. The groom's sister or mother covers the bride's head with a red dupatta (stole) and feeds her the sheera. After this all the relatives present feed sheera to the bride.
This is the formal engagement ceremonies. The couple exchanges engagement rings in the presence of a priest. Ganesh Puja is performed followed by an Ardas. The groom's family gifts the bride with a basketful of fruits, new clothes, jewelry, cosmetic, etc. These gifts signify that the bride has been accepted my the groom's family. The bride's family too gives 5 kilos of misri in a clay-pot. The groom's mother opens the clay-pot. Seven married women draw Swastik on the clay-pot with vermilion and pray Lord Ganesha to bless the couple.
The ritual of Varmala is performed where the bride and the groom exchange garlands. The groom's family then gives a verbal promise of marriage and feed misri to the bride's family, hence confirming the engagement.
It is a satsang held in the name of Sindhi God Jhulelal. This signifies the beginning of the ceremonies of the forthcoming wedding. This is usually organised a week before the wedding.
In this ritual, a chakki (stone grinder) is installed installed in the homes of bride and the groom. Family members apply vermilion to it. After this ceremony, the bride and groom are encouraged to stay at home. Ainars (marriage guards are appointed) which are generally their brother-in-law, and sister-in-law.
It is also known as Sangeet Night when all the ladies of the bride's and the groom's family, and the ladies in the neighborhood gather at the bride's home for an evening of fun and merry-making. They sing traditional wedding songs, sindhi songs and dance at the beats of the dholak.
This ceremony is performed a day before the wedding. The bride's family sends a priest over to the groom's family with a small bag of rice, cardamom, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, 21 sweet nibatas or sugar candies and a skein of green silk yarn. The priest performs puja along with the groom, to pay obeisance to Lord Ganesha and all the nine planets.
This ceremony is performed at the bride's and the groom's home separately, a day before the wedding. The priest ties an anklet around the right foot of the bride/groom. Seven married women pour oil in the center of the head of bride/groom. The are made to wear new new shoe on their right foot and try to break an earthen lamp with it, which when broken is considered as a good omen.
This ceremony is performed by both the families. The family pours oil, milk and turmeric mixture all over the bride/groom's body. This signifies the act of purification. After this ceremony the bride and the groom are supposed to stay at home until the wedding.
The mehendi night is the occasion of merry-making where the ladies of the bride's family beautify the bride. Professional mehendi artists are called and intricate designs in henna are drawn on the hands and feet of the bride and other ladies.
The bride wears a silk saree and the married sisters, cousins, children from the groom's family adorn the bride with jewelry made up of jasmine flowers. Similarly, the bride's family adorns the groom with garlands.
This ritual is actually a pretty long procedure and needs to be performed simultaneously at the bride's and the groom's home. The priest conducts a prayers using rice, wheat grains, betel nuts, turmeric and many other spices. The married women in the house grind the wheat as it signifies the home will always be prosperous.
This ritual is conducted in the morning of the wedding day, first in the groom's house, then in the bride's house. This ritual refers to worshiping Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi. This is followed my Omkar puja and Kalash puja, and prayers are offered to the nine planets. Gods are welcomed into the home as guests and are offered food, water, milk and light.
A red thread id ties around the wrists of the groom, bride, their parents, and the other family members who would take part in the wedding ceremony later on.
Preparations of the groom
A ribbon is tied to the groom's hair by the priest to protect him from the evil eye. The priest puts a red cloth around the groom's neck, with coconuts tied at both te ends of the cloth. Another white cloth containing rice, cardamom, and kharchi(lucky money) in a bundle at its end, too is put around his neck. A female member from the bride's family goes over to the groom's home and accompanies them to the wedding venue.
Baraat and Swaagat
The groom rides on a horse, with he wears a sehra that is tied to his forehead. The groom's mother holds a lamp lit for Lord Jhulelal. The entire family and relatives set forth towards the wedding venue along with the band of musicians.
Swagat refers to welcoming the groom and his people. The bride's family welcomes the groom and his family by putting vermilion on their forehead and adorning them with garlands, showering flowers and sprinkling rose-water. The bride comes to receive the groom. The groom places his foot on the bride's foot to signify his dominating strength in their life-long relationship.
The bride and groom are seated with the screen between them so that they cannot see each other. The bride's brother then washes their feet in a bronze thaali with raw milk. This is done because it is considered that due to all the prayers and ritual performed prior to the wedding day, the groom becomes and embodiment of Lord Vishnu on this wedding day.
The wedding ceremony
The bride and the groom sit facing each other. The white cloth that was put around groom's neck is now put around bride's neck. This white cloth is now tied to the red cloth that is still around groom's neck. Their right hands are tied with a sacred thread. The holy fire is ignited. The priest starts chanting holy verses, and prayers to Lord Ganesha, Goddess Laxmi and other 64 deities.
Then the couple walks around the fire. Sindhi wedding has only four pheras. Kanyadaan is performed wherein the holy water flows from the hands of bride's parents to the hands of groom, signifying they are giving away their daughter to him. The groom applies vermilion on the bride's head and puts the Mangalsutra around her neck. Saptapadi is performed wherein the couple places their right foot on seven small heaps of rice. Then they bow to touch the feet of elders to seek their blessings.
Post Wedding rituals
After the wedding, the bride's brother is entrusted to take care of the bride and the groom. The baraat leaves for groom's home. The women in the groom's home receive the bride.
This ritual begins with washing the bride's feet by groom's parents at the threshold of her new home. The bride enters her new house, and sprinkles milk in every corner of the house. She then places a handful of salt into her husband's hand, that he passes back to her without spilling. This ritual is done three times and then the bride repeats it with all the family members.
This ritual performed a day after the wedding, involes removal of chakki, which was installed during Dev bithana prior to the wedding. The couple offers prayers to Lord Jhulelal, and are fed seven mouthfuls of rice, milk and sugar.
The groom's family organizes a reception party. After a short visit by the bride's father to her in-laws' house, the couple, at an auspicious time fixed by the priest, pays a visit to bride's paternal home.
So this was what goes into the making of the Sindhi wedding! Hope the readers enjoyed it!