Indian wedding (wedding rites and
pictures) is a feast for the eyes. All guests and especially
the bride are festive and colorful dressed with clothes from finest
silk. The hands and feet of the bride by tradition are decorated
with precious stones or elaborate paintings. The picture to the
left shows a simple dressed young married couple in a temple, traditional
decoratedwith pendants on their foreheads and flower chains.
The marriage generally is managed by the parents. There are marriage
bureaus in which one registers the name of the son or daughter who
is seeking a match. One selects some names and addresses from the
list available there and start corresponding with the parents to
obtain full details etc.
In ancient India the traditions provided for knowing the family
because of the strict caste system (see
chapter about the casts)
. The social fabric was such, that every one knew about each other
- strength and weaknesses. Then
there was matching of horoscope. There are 36 "Guna" (virtues) in
each horoscope. They were matched and anything above 30 was acceptable.
Lastly "Gotra" came into play. This is based on 12 names of saints
- to persons of the same "Gotra" the preceding seven generations
on either side could not get married. In conservative families at
least the horoscope still is a criterion of the selection.
apparently the candidate is a match, then some visits to each others
place are arranged for interview. Generally the girl is expected
to go with her parents to the boy's place as India is still a male
dominated society (of course things have started changing slowly).
After the interview if the boy's side approves of the relation,
they write accordingly to girl's parents and girl's side may respond
positively or negatively .
If girl's side accepts the relation, further talks are held to
finalize details such as
where the wedding should take place
and in what manner and who bears how much of the expenses etc. These
negotiations are vital as many weddings are not settled due to disagreement
at this stage. Generally all expenses of wedding are to be borne
by the girl's side. The girl's parents have to arrange for the wedding
at mutually suitable place, on mutually acceptable date. In addition
there is a ceremony of engagement also, when the settlement of marriage
is confirmed. This is known as the engagement ceremony and
place earlier to actual wedding Marriages these days are very expensive.
The wedding halls are required to be booked well in time.
The ceremony lasts for about one and half day. It is mainly a religious
ceremony performed in the presence of many relatives and friends
from both sides.
By now the number of love marriages is growing and if the parents
agree to the union, of course a traditional wedding will be performed.
Otherwise the boy and the girl can get married on their own in a
Registrar's office, often with the help of the Police...!