How long do Indian weddings take? What do colours mean at weddings? What are the features of Indian wedding dresses? Everything you wonder about Indian weddings!
Black, white, pastel, calm cocktails, ceremonies that take two hours, short happiness wishes… Forget everything you know about weddings! The doors are wide open for a new wedding ceremony. Here is the unknown facts about Indian weddings.
First Thing that Comes into Mind about Indian Weddings: Colours!
The bride, the groom and the guests, dinner table decorations, colours and whole decoration… Everything is colourful, resembling a fresh spring-summer term. Red being the dominant colour immediately catches the attention. The reason for that is the fact that while white symbolizes pureness in western culture, it is red for Indians. This is why Indian wedding dresses are mostly red.
At the epic Indian wedding which took place in Çırağan Palace, the bride had chosen red to symbolize fertility and wealth. The second dominant colour in Indian Weddings is Yellow! Yellow symbolizes happiness and wealth in Middle Eastern cultures. It has a similar meaning in Indian culture, too. Wealth, divinity, and goodness are all symbolized with yellow.
Apart from “live” colours, black symbolizes evil which should be avoided. This is why black is used extremely rare and radical in Indian weddings.
Every Stage of Marriage is a Ritual in Indian Weddings!
From the couples’ encounters to family meetings, from accepting good wishes to sharing happiness with friends and family, after marriage preparations are included in Indian weddings. Traditional Indian Weddings are like colourful musicals with beautiful stories. Before-wedding, the marriage ceremony, and celebration are the three fundamental phases of Indian weddings. This is why it also resembles Anatolian weddings.
For example, the ceremony called “Shagun” is a ceremony just like asking for a girl’s hand where the groom’s mother, visits the girl’s house with gifts and desserts and the marriage process between the two families starts officially.
Another phase, “Mangni” or “Sagaai” can be considered as getting engaged. At this phase, while all the relatives and friends of the couple are present, rings are worn that will unite them for a lifetime
One of the other pre-wedding ceremonies is Mehndi Ceremony. What’s interesting about this Indian Henna Ceremony is that only the ladies attend. The hands and the feet of the bride are drawn by a Mehndi master. The families invite a mehndi master depending on their budget because this is not something everyone can do. It is pure art. Henna is exclusive for each bride. Each of them is unique. While the henna is being made on the bride, the attendees give advice to the bride. They explain to the bride that she is now old enough and the fact that she is leaving her family’s house. This whole process is for the bride to think for a long time, get emotional and enjoy this important moment of her life to the fullest. Today, in modern Indian weddings, Mehndi is performed with mixed ceremonies between men and women.
Haldi Ceremony is when the two families come together on the wedding morning to be blessed by various spices, especially Curcuma. Everyone gets prepared for the wedding at night and leaves with good wishes.
The Groom Arrives at the Ceremony Riding on Horse or Elephant
The Indians have a tradition of taking the horse from the house of the Anatolians and bringing the children to the bride before they get married. In India, the groom rides a horse – if the family is rich, he rides an elephant - and is accompanied by a long depiction of the wedding with traditional Indian drummers. This dance-filled journey, called Baraat, ends with the wedding. All men join the journey and I will have a chance to be whole with the rhythm of the drummers under the lead of the DJ.
A Wedding under the Dome of the Sky
The mandap is basically a four-footed tent. A décor dressed up in colourful fabrics and flowers. However, it has a very deep meaning. The preservation of the couple’s union, which is believed to last for 100 years, under the dome of the sky. The symbol of the world that the bride and the groom will build together.
Symbol of Forever Happiness: Mangalsutra
One of the most important symbols of Indian marriages that lasts a hundred years: A golden necklace that the groom ties to the neck of the bride with three knots. This romantic moment symbolizes the strong bond between the couple and now they are married.
Dance, Amusement, Excitement!
It is needless to say that dance and music are indispensable starting even before the wedding and continues towards all the ceremony stages. Movement, dancing, and living together is the most important symbol of sharing happiness in the world. This is why whether it is traditional or modern, we see that everyone at the wedding definitely dances and shares this happy moment.
Choreographic Tradition: Sangeet
Perhaps the most memorable moments in Indian weddings that last 3 days and 3 nights are during Sangeet time. Sangeet is the night where the bride and groom's families, cousins and friends perform dance choreographies to Bollywood music on stage. At the most crucial moment of the night, the bride and groom take over the stage and perform their most special dances, and the celebrations continue by drinking and dancing until the morning.
Sharara and Lehenga… Here are the Wedding Dresses
White is the symbol of death in Asian cultures. Considering this fact, we couldn’t expect the wedding dresses to be white. In Indian wedding dresses, the most common two colours are red and yellow. Don’t forget the fact that traditional wedding dresses in Anatolia are red as well. Moreover, the wedding dress consists of three pieces of fabrics sewed to represent the financial strength of the family: skirt, blouse and shawl. In fact, Lehenga is the name given to the skirt. Sharara on the other hand is the wedding dress with a top piece long enough to cover the arms and navel, preferred by Muslim brides. It has lines reminiscent of traditional Anatolian wedding dresses. These wedding dresses, in which red, orange and yellow colours are used together, also display the economic and social power of families.