The Indian Bride- A Guide.

 

The wedding season hardly leaves us alone in India. No matter what the day, month or season it is, we are always good to attend a wedding. The summer wedding, the spring wedding, the monsoon wedding and the stuck in traffic winter wedding, we have it all!

The bride is obviously the centre of attraction for most of the seven days of the shubh vivaah and one turns to the groom only when it is time to steal his shoes from under his nose and demand for ransom deep from his pockets.

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Photo Courtesy: beautifulindianbrides.tumblr.com

We all are aware of the amount of colour, celebration, rituals followed by more rituals that are spread over the seven day party that we seriously call the wedding affair. However in this fun and frolic we usually ignore the meaning and significance attached to these rituals and ceremonies that have been going on from centuries, from the vedic times.

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Photo Courtesy:Ai??http://pinterest.com/pin/465137467735176124/.

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We did an article on the great Indian wedding last week, but that didn’t seem to satiate our appetite for the big shaadi-vaadi, dhol-dhamaal, shor-sharab business, so here we are with some obvious rituals that a bride follows and their not so obvious meaning. A list every Indian bride-to-be must swear by.

  • Bangles: India is a country of great diversity and many cultural beliefs. When it comes to weddings, this diversity becomes even more complicated and scattered. For instance the colour white holds completely different meaning to a bride in north and south of India. There are some customs and rituals though that hold true for every bride in India, for instance wearing bangles. The number and patterns drawn on these bangles may still vary, but their significance in a married womanai??i??s life remains undoubted and unchanged.The bangles are red and white in colour for most brides and are known as the choora or chooda in the north. The chooda is worn for maximum a year after marriage because of its sheer volume (21 in each hand) but in other parts of the country, the bangles are worn throughout the married life.Ai??Chooda is one tradition that most brides love to swear by and show off. The sindoor and the mangalsutra may come off the next day of marriage itself but the choora goes abroad and sits pretty in the honeymoon suite of most Indian brides!

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Photo Courtesy:Ai??http://pinterest.com/pin/138063544798246738/

  • Henna (Mehndi): The use of Mehndi and turmeric (haldi) date back to the vedic ritual books where their importance has been explained. It entails the awakening of the outer and inner light (sun). Thus earlier Mehndi was mostly restricted to a circle in the middle of the palms. As and when it gained popularity amongst women, it was adopted as a way of decorating the brideai??i??s body before the night of wedding (as jewelry wasn’t popular and affordable by many). Mehndi hasn’t lost its importance even today and the many designs and techniques just make the ceremony and the function woven around it more fascinating and delightful.

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Photo Courtesy:Ai??http://www.mehndi-design-club.com

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  • Sindoor (Vermillion): Every ritual that an Indian bride undergoes in the transformation from an unmarried girl to a married woman lays emphasis on beautifying her and makes her stand out from the rest. Sindoor that a married woman wears is in the middle of her forehead (on the partition) is for her husband and his long life.
    The sindoor not only separates her from the rest of the clan but also stands for love and happiness in her married life.

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Photo courtesy:Ai??http://pinterest.com/pin/516928863449585531/

  • Why wear red?
    In Hinduism the colour red is symbolic of ai???shaktiai??i?? (power). Red stands for the strength that is embodied in females. Red is also the colour associated with Goddess Laxmi and the rising sun. As a marriage marks the beginning of a new life, the colour red thus stands for good luck and prosperity upon entering in to new life.

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Photo Courtesy:Ai??http://pinterest.com/pin/415879346810947508/

  • Mangalsutra (Thread of goodwill): The mangalsutra meaning the holy sacred thread is tied around the womanai??i??s neck by the man. The three knots of the mangalsutra denote three aspects of marriage, aspects that in todayai??i??s day and age would be considered obsolete. The first knot stands for compliance with her husband, the second for compliance with parents of the husband and third representing respect for God.
    If this is what wearing the mangalsutra really means, I suggest that the bride too must tie one around the groomai??i??s neck for mutually agreeing to respect one another for life.
  • Ai??Throwing of rice: In Hinduism since a woman is believed to possess the power of Hindu Goddess Laxmi and when she enters a new Ai?? Ai?? Ai??house and life with her husband she is believed to bring prosperity, wealth and good luck to her new home. The ritual of throwing rice over the head is symbolic of leaving behind the same prosperity in her parentai??i??s home as well, also known as her mayeka.

This may educate us on the symbolisms of the various rituals deriving the meaning of different stages of life for our ancestors, but the human race has come so far in terms of sensibilities, emotionally and psychologically that what really matters is to adopt these rituals in the most meaningful way possible to our personal lives.

Hereai??i??s to starting to new beginnings in the best way possible!

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Photo Courtesy:Ai??http://pinterest.com/pin/29977153742500953/.

 

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