of the bride's hands often includes
the initials of her betrothed. The couple
then search for the initials on the wedding
night. This is a game that is played to
make the bride and groom more relaxed and
at ease with each other.
A few days before the wedding, a traditional 'MEHNDI
EVENING' is held
at the bride's home. This is when the female relatives gather to
sing songs to celebrate the impending marriage and to paint the
bride's hands and feet. It is also the time the bride is 'cleansed'
with a special turmeric based paste. Once her whole body has been
rubbed with the paste, the bride is supposed to only wear her oldest
clothes and not leave the house until the day of the wedding.
PASTE used during the pithi (cleansing ceremony)
is believed to have beautifying and skin-lightening properties and
even the groom is not exempt. In a separate ceremony, the groom
will also be "cleansed" with it by female members of his
During the wedding ceremony it is traditional for the bride's sisters
and cousins to STEAL
THE GROOM'S SHOES. These are only returned to
him in exchange for a fee - usually gold-rings for sisters and silver
rings for cousins or more commonly, money!
Any CASH GIFTS
for the bride and groom should never be round figures. It is considered
auspicious to give Rs (£) 1001, Rs (£) 501, Rs (£)101
or even Rs (£) 51.
In a traditional Hindu ceremony the bride and groom must take SEVEN
STEPS (Saptapadi) around the holy fire. The groom
chants mantras (holy verses) with each step. Through these mantras
he seeks his bride's support and makes a particular request with
The groom's family arrives amidst a blaze of singing and dancing
(in Hindu weddings he is usually on a white horse) called a 'BARAAT'.
Each of the elder members of the family greets their equivalent,
with a traditional garlanding and gift presentation ceremony.
At the end of the wedding ceremony the groom will sprinkle red powder
in a parting in the brides hair. This, and a red bindi, signifies
a married woman.
Hindu weddings can only take place on AUSPICIOUS
DAYS, hence the need to consult with a priest
to determine the best date for a wedding.