The joota chori, or joota chupai, is the shoe-stealing ceremony common at Hindu weddings. When the groom enters the mandap, or wedding altar, he takes off his shoes because the wedding ceremony is a puja, or religious ritual. Hindus do not wear shoes during pujas.
When the groom takes off his shoes, the bride’s sisters, bridesmaids, cousins, nieces, or friends will steal the shoes for later. Usually, this just involves female members of the bridal party, but sometimes men will join in, too.
When the ceremony is over, the groom will arrive to find his shoes have been stolen. In order to get them back, he must pay the thieves a ransom. The bounty might be a small amount of cash, but in modern wedding ceremonies we’ve seen the dollar amount raise exponentially.
Grooms: be prepared. Pack some cash in that sherwani before you leave for the wedding — it’s why you have pockets on those outfits.
The antarpat is an opaque cloth, usually a dupatta or shawl, used as part of a Hindu wedding ceremony. Akin to the veil worn by a bride in a Western wedding ceremony, the antarpat is held between the bride and groom as the bride walks down the aisle, so neither the bride nor the groom can see each other during the processional.
As the bride approaches the groom, the people holding the antarpat will pivot so the bride and groom don’t catch a glimpse of one another. The bride and groom then stand on opposite sides of the antarpat as the priest begins the wedding, eagerly awaiting their first glimpse of one another on their wedding day. At the designated moment, the priest will ask for the antarpat to be lowered, and the bride and groom will see each other for the first time.
Who holds the antarpat? It depends. Most of the time we see male relatives of the bride and groom playing this role, probably because (1) it’s hard to hold the antarpat for the entire processional and (2) you need tall people to hold the antarpat at a level that blocks both the bride and groom from being able to see one another. If you have a brother or cousin you’d like to include in your wedding somehow, this is a nice way to honor them.
Like most things in Hindu weddings, this is an optional addition to the ceremony. It is more common in modern weddings as a way to inject some fun and drama into the occasion, especially as brides and grooms are less frequently covering their faces during the wedding ceremony and could therefore easily see one another without this handy screen.
Looking for a fun twist on the Indian shoe-stealing ceremony (joota chori or joota chupai) between the groom and his new sisters-in-law? Here are some creative approaches we’ve seen in practice:
- Steal the bride’s shoes, too! Barter — shoes for shoes — instead of demanding money.
- Give the groom Monopoly money to use as he barters.
- Ask the audience if they can chip in to help the cause.
- Donate proceeds from the ceremony to the couple’s honeymoon fund, or to their favorite charity.
- Groom: go barefoot! (Pay the sisters a token ransom anyway.)
- Offer up jewelry or thoughtful gifts to the sisters in lieu of cash.
- Host the negotiation as the groom enters the wedding reception . . . barefoot.
- Choreograph a dance for your bridal party to the classic song, Joote De De, Paise Le Lo, with the groom as part of the grand finale.
- Same-sex wedding? Everyone can get in on the shoe-stealing fun. Both brides, or both grooms, can wind up shoeless and engaged in a footwear negotiation.
- Why does the groom get to have all the fun? Steal the groomsmen’s shoes, too!
- When the groom makes his first pass at the return of his shoes, offer him child-sized shoes in exchange. As the dollar amount of his offer increases, so does the size of the shoes he can buy, until he offers a dollar amount satisfactory to the sisters, who will then give back his actual shoes.
- Like #11, but with women’s shoes instead of the groom’s shoes. Stilettos, anyone?
Have you seen other fun options for how to make the shoe stealing an event that all guests will enjoy?
A tradition unique to Hindu weddings is the stealing of the groom’s shoes. As the bride and groom ascend to the mandap, or wedding altar, they remove their shoes. This is because the wedding ceremony is religious, and Hindus do not wear shoes when conducting religious rituals.
At some point after the groom removes his shoes, the bride’s sisters (or bridesmaids, or cousins, or nieces, or friends — you get the idea) will steal the groom’s shoes and hide them away. In order to get his shoes back, the groom must pay a bounty to the bride’s sisters. The ransom may be a combination of cash, jewelry, and other gifts.
In most cases, the exchange involves negotiation, with each party holding out for the best deal they can get. This is a humorous interlude in the wedding, and a nice break from the seriousness of the ceremony itself after the couple has officially wed. We’ve seen cute adaptations where the groomsmen refuses to wear shoes to the ceremony at all, so the bride’s sisters steal a groomsman’s shoes instead; or where the groomsmen hide away the shoes before the sisters can steal them, only to be foiled in the end by a generous groom who gives the sisters a gift anyway. Approach the “joota chupai” ceremony with a light heart and be prepared to laugh. And if you can, get in on the fun!
Pantone’s color of the year for 2017 is “Greenery,” a shade of green so divine that we feel like becoming gardeners just to experience more of it. But the sad reality is that we don’t have green thumbs, and that means we need to turn to retail therapy to get our Greenery fix. Here are our favorite finds that will make your wedding a Greenery-inspired wonderland:
Green earrings are so sweet for your flower girl’s gift, or as a special treat for your bridesmaids.
This glamorous gold and green cuff would be a perfect accessory for your sangeet lehenga.
Do the men in your wedding party feel adventurous? Could you convince them to wear bow ties? Because This. Is. The. Best.
Who says your wedding shoes have to be gold or silver? We like the idea of mixing it up with some studded green sandals.
Scarves are always in style, and infinity scarves are particularly hot right now. These make a lovely gift for the women who attend your mehndi, and bonus: they’re totally affordable!
Bindis are always fun, whether for yourself or as gifts for the women in your life. These sweet green sparkles would liven up anyone’s look!
What’s your favorite way to inject Greenery into your wedding, readers?
1. Single 20-something guys
Game on, broseph. Game on.
2. Single 20-something gals
Oh god I’m going to die alone.
3. Guys with a new S.O.
Babe, I’m gonna be on a “work trip” in May. Yes, it’s over Memorial Day weekend. No, I’m serious.
4. Gals with a new S.O.
Babe, I’d love for you to come with me. No pressure. No pressure.
5. Guys with a long-term S.O.
Oh god I thought I had a few more years.
6. Gals with a long-term S.O.
*Starts leaving her ring size on notes all over the apartment*
7. Engaged couples
THOSE BASTARDS TOOK OUR IDEA
8. Recently married couples
Whatever, we did it first.
9. New parents
10. Empty nesters
Game on, broseph. Game on.
I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, its age-old pain,
Its ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
You become an image of what is remembered forever.
You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers, shared in the same
Shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell-
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.
Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
The love of all man’s days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours –
And the songs of every poet past and forever.
Happy Holi, readers! May your day be bright and filled with happiness!