What bells does the word ring in your head?
- Lifelong commitment
- Soul mate
The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word marriage is wedding!
And the reason behind it is simple. Weddings in India are usually a 10 days long affair, especially if you’re a Punjabi. And being a Punjabi myself I know that there are sooooooooooo many rituals and customs that the event is bound to be spread over such a long time period.
Now imagine that you are participating in a wedding and it’s a wedding of someone close to you. You will attend all the functions every night which will not get over before 3 am. So it’s like partying and celebrating till the wee hours of night every day. And since this kind of a schedule can get hectic for everyone, there is usually a gap of a day between every function, so if there are five days of functions add a day each between them, therefore it makes for a 10 day long elaborate affair.
I’ll give you a recent example. My best friend got married in January this year and we had a blast. Oh! What an event! It was definitely an event to remember which took place for a period of 14 days from 14th January to 27th January. Let me detail it further so that you can see for yourself what actually happens in a Big Fat Indian Wedding.
Our 1st function was the Bachelorette (which was an unofficial function of course.)
Ahem Ahem! A lot of shit went down that night. I’m sharing the sober most pictures since we all made a pact not to talk about the night or give any evidence of that night to anyone apart from the ones who were present there. Shhhhh….
Our 2nd function was the Sagan.
It is a ritual where the bride’s father applies tilak(a paste made of sandalwood, turmeric and organic red flowers) on the boy’s forehead and the groom’s mother places a red chunni (a two yard scarf) on the girl’s head and makes her wear some traditional jewellery. Both these rituals are a sign of acceptance of the bride and groom into new families.
Our 3rd function was the Chawki.
It is a tradition where you pray to the mother goddess to bless the bride and the groom with holy matrimony.
Our 4th function was the sangeet.
It is a musical program, which is held at both the bride as well as the groom’s house. Basically wedding folk songs are sung and all the relatives and friends dance and have a merry night. The ceremony is considered auspicious as the wedding songs are said to be full of blessings for the to-be weds.
Our 5th function was the mehendi.
Mehendi (henna) is a very important pre-wedding ritual in Punjabi weddings where henna is taken to the bride’s house by the groom’s sister and it is then applied to the girl’s hands and feet both.
Our 6th function was the actual day of the wedding.
The day where the bride and groom take seven rounds around a pious fire, reciting specific vows with each round. Vows made in the presence of the sacred fire are considered unbreakable. The groom also ties a mangalsutra around the bride’s neck which is a pious thread made of black beads. (Well these days’ people add gold beads and a diamond pendent also to the black beads.) The last ritual that completes the ceremony is when the groom applies sindoor (a red coloured powder) along the parting line of the bride’s hair or a dot at the beginning of her hairline as sindoor is a mark of a married woman in Hinduism.
Our 7th and the last function was the reception.
It’s a party thrown by the groom’s family in the honor of the bride. To welcome the newlywed Bride to her new home and wish the couple a happy married life.
I’m so happy that I chose to write this post and share these pictures with you guys because writing about it made me relive all those memories that are tucked so closely in my heart.