Indian weddings are a beautiful hodgepodge of traditions that vary according to geography, religious preference, and generation. Some Indian weddings will include many traditions, all carried out in Sanskrit, while others will be much more modern and delivered in English. There’s no “right” way to get married. Below are some traditions that are common for the bride to participate in during her Hindu wedding.
Most Common . . .
- Mehndi – The bride and several female friends and family members gather to decorate their hands (and usually also the bride’s feet) with henna paste in floral and paisley designs. This occurs a day or two before the wedding ceremony.
- Chuda – The bride’s maternal uncles place wedding bangles on her arms the morning of her wedding ceremony. Her family members shower her with gifts.
- Haldi – The bride’s family applies turmeric paste to the bride’s skin a day or two before her wedding so her skin glows on her wedding day.
- Kalire – Just after the chuda ceremony, the bride’s sisters or female cousins will tie bells to her chudas to complete her wedding outfit.
- Red Lehenga or Sari – The bride will usually wear a red lehenga or sari on her wedding day, though many modern brides choose pink or maroon instead of traditional fire engine red.
- Mangalsutra – During the ceremony, the groom will fasten a marital necklace, or mangalsutra, around his new wife’s neck. This is made with black beads and is worn only by married women.
- Vidaii – At the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom leave the room while the bride’s parents walk behind them. The bride throws puffed rice behind her, over her head, while her mother and other female relatives try to catch the rice in their shawls. This is a solemn event which signifies the bride leaving her familial home and joining that of her new in-laws.
Less Common . . .
- Secrets and Wishes from Married Women – Some priests will allow special time at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony for the bride’s married female relatives to join her on the mandap and whisper secrets and well wishes into her ears. These are meant to be tips and tricks for how to have a long and happy marriage, but sometimes people throw some fun into the mix!
- Toe Rings – In some South Indian weddings, we’ve seen a break in the ceremony for the bride’s brothers or male cousins to place toe rings on her toes. We’re not sure of the significance but think it’s such a lovely tradition that we had to include it here!
Did we miss any of your favorite bridal traditions during a Hindu wedding? Share your thoughts with us by visiting our contact page!