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Weddings
Weddings > 10 Facts about Hindu Weddings

TEN INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT HINDU WEDDINGS

 

1. The DOWRY was designed as a form of financial security for the bride, in the case of her marriage failing. It is usually made up of a certain number of outfits, jewellery and items for the home. However this changed into more of a 'market value' pricing system, and as a result of many 'bride-burnings' in the Subcontinent, the traditional dowry has officially been banned in India.



2. HENNA PAINTING 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.

Mehndi Party. Image courtesy of Maz of Leicester.3. 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.

4. The TURMERIC-BASED 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 own family.

5. 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!

6. 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.

7. 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 each step.

8. 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.

9. At the end of the wedding ceremony the groom will sprinkle red powder (KUMKUM) in a parting in the brides hair. This, and a red bindi, signifies a married woman.

10. 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.

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