Indian culture has many beautiful, intricate celebrations and customs. Diwali and Holi are arguably the most well-known of all. These are yearly celebrations of light and love. But, there are some traditions that are for specific milestones in life, like getting married or having a baby.
Are you about to marry into an Indian family? Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning an Indian wedding.
1. Mehndi – Pre-Wedding
The night before a wedding kicks off the first of many ceremonies. No matter if you have a rehearsal dinner planned or late arrivals to welcome, be sure to make time for the Mehndi. Mehndi is an intimate, joyous occasion for the bride and the women on her side of the family. She and her guests dress up in bright colors, dance to happy music, and sing wedding songs.
During this time, a henna artist is there to draw special designs on the bride as well as the others. The art represents joy, spiritual awakening, and a sign of offering to the gods of Hinduism.
2. Kanya Aagaman – Bride’s Arrival
As fun as Mehndi is, it usually wraps up at a decent hour in order to make sure all the women get their beauty sleep. After all, the next day is when the real celebration begins. Like most other weddings, a bride’s entrance is a big deal at an Indian wedding. This is called the Kanya Aagaman. There are a few ways to go about this ritual. Some families have the bride walk in alongside her maternal uncle and aunt. Others will allow for the bride to be led by her female siblings and cousins, as well as close lady friends.
3. Kanyadaan and Hasta Melap – Giving Away the Bride
After the bride is walked in, she and the groom give each other floral garlands as a sign of their mutual acceptance. Then, the Kanyadaan and Hasta Melap begin, which is when the bride’s family officially gives her away. The father starts things off by pouring blessed water on the hands of the bride, then putting the bride’s hands in those of the groom. It’s a symbol of the father giving away his most prized possession and trusting the groom with his daughter. Next, the groom’s sister or a female cousin create a beautiful knot between the couple. It connects the groom’s scarf to the bride’s sari, signifying the never-ending bond they are taking on in marriage.
4. Vivah Havan and Mangal Phere – Ceremonies of the Sacred Fire
The marriage bond continues to be celebrated and blessed with the sacred fire. The fire, known as Agni, is not lit until this part of the Indian wedding. A priest ignites it to represent a sacred witness of the ceremony. It shows God is a part of the celebration. The start of the fire is Vivah Havan, which is immediately followed by Mangal Phere. This is when the couple walks around the fire for a pre-determined number of times. Some cultures say four times, others have the bride and groom do seven laps. Each journey around the fire is the couple’s chance to meditate on life’s purposes. The bride begins by leading the first three times, no matter if there is a total of seven or four. The groom then leads for the remainder. This shows balance in their relationship and how they complete one another.
Planning an Indian Wedding in Dubai
Understanding the traditions of your (or your future spouse’s) culture is essential to planning the perfect wedding. Do your research to make sure all the right rituals are included and respected.
For help planning the rest of your wedding in Dubai, contact our team of wedding professionals.