Do you have enough time to spend on the internet today, reading this blog? Then this will be an affair to remember! Far away from the chaos of the city life, in nature’s splendor and hospitality at its best, would you like to read a story of the most unique and remarkable ‘Yes, I do’? You got that right; today we are going to talk about the most beautiful Kashmiri Hindu wedding.
Read on to know about the series of rituals observed before and after the wedding thus making it a prolonged affair.
The stunning Valley of Kashmir becomes even more stunning with the charm and luster added by these weddings. The warmth and simplicity of the Kashmiri people are reflected in their wedding ceremonies. A marriage is considered to be unique and unrepeatable, a once-in-a-life-time moment for both the families. And the most important, not to be missed out part is the ‘jealous ristedaars’ that makes a marriage celebration successful. 😉
To make arrangements distinct, preparations starts a year ago after tecknis (horoscopes) of prospective bride and groom are matched and a wedding date is proposed by the bride’s parents. And well, besides the bride and groom the purohit (priest) is the third most important person. With the consent of the parents the purohit fixes an auspicious day for the wedding.
WEDDING DATE FIXED!
The power of Pre wedding rituals
Marriage is not all merry making! The pre-wedding ritual is the time to ‘set the bar’. You would definitely need a desperate dose of patience to get prepared for the main day. And as elders would say, ‘Patience is the key to a lasting Marriage’. So, hang in there!
And for all you readers out there take a glimpse at the pre-wedding rituals of a Kashmiri wedding:
Kasamdry (the Formal Engagement)
An engagement ceremony takes place fixed as per the Kashmiri calendar. Var (a special rice pudding) is prepared and distributed by the eldest aunt separately in each house.
Before you want to jump into the wedding celebration head-on, cleansing of the house marks a major preparation in the Kashmiri homes.
Following the livun ritual, till the marriage ceremony, a small sangeet (music) session is held in both the bride’s and the groom’s houses as the next steps in the marriage. The house will prepare and serve guests noon or sheer chai (a salted pink tea) at the end of such singing sessions.
One week prior the wedding countdown begins decorating the doors of the houses of the bride and the groom takes place. Following that day on the evening after an elaborate bathing ritual, the eldest aunt of the bride decorates her hand and feet with maenz (henna).
A ceremony that marks the transition of the bride and the groom from brahmacharya ashram (Celibate) to grihastha ashram (Householder).
As a sign that suggests that the bride is now ready for the marriage an essential jewelry known as the dejaharu, an ear ornament is worn by the bride after kanishran (bathing in water, rice, milk and curd).
Last in the order but definitely not the least Duribat
Food is an important part of any wedding celebration regardless of culture or religion. As the consumption of meat and meat products is traditionally forbidden in Kashmiri Hindu weddings, a traditional vegetarian lunch is served. The recipes are so satisfying that you’ll want to go meatless for the entire time. Maternal relatives of both sides are invited for the lunch.
THE SIGNIFICANT WEDDING RITUALS
You want to look and feel stunning on your wedding day, don’t you? You want to look a bit unreal, yet stylish and elegant. And when speaking of an elegant Kashmiri bride, how can we forget about the ‘Pheran’. Kashmir is a haven for colorful bright pherans. Brides either chose from the ones displayed there or go for a customized tailored Pheran designed with colourful elements. The groom wears a stylized but plain pheran with a sword in his waistband and jootis to match that.
A wedding dress can be lovingly restored as a family heirloom and later on you can narrate stories of the dress to your grand children while reliving the memories.
Grooms are also not spared from wedding rituals. Before the baraati leaves for the bride’s house, the groom must stand on a vyoog (rangoli pattern made of rice flour and colours). And as the ceremonial practice goes, a conch shell is blown to announce his departure and as a gesture of goodwill the family gives away two pots containing some money as alms to poor.
Lagan (Tying the Knot)
The long wait is finally over.
On arrival of the baraati(the bridegroom’s party), the bride is brought out to the place where the groom is made to stand by her maternal uncle. Before the couple is being led to the lagan mandap(an awning below which the wedding rituals are performed) a dwar puja is performed.
Agni (the sacred Fire) plays an important role in various aspects of the Hindu Tradition. The wedding rituals are all performed in front of this sacred fire. Nervous and excited bride and groom see each other for the first time through the images formed in the mirror. After seeing each other to the heart’s content they are made to hold hands in a firm grip symbolizing that the grip doesn’t be weak with the passage of time. Then a cloth is used to cover their hands. This tradition is called Athwas in Kashmiri. Theories of folklore point out that whoever is able to pull out the engagement ring of the other first, that person will be dominant in the relationship. This is followed by the saath pheras (the seven circumambulation of the sacred fire) of Hindu marriage). The first phera is made by stepping on seven one rupee coins putting always her right foot forward first.
The Vivaaha is complete and the couple are now husband and wife in the sight of God, and of course all people!
The wedding stuff is all over, and now it’s time to delight the guests with some awesome Kashmiri vegetarian dinner prepared by the waza (cook). The Daya Bataah ceremony is held where the bride and groom are made to eat from the same plate.
Many ends aren’t really endings. At the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom are made to sit in a comfortable position while a red cloth is placed on their heads. Along with Vedic chants, posh (flowers) are offered to the couple by all people around them.
It’s time for the Bidai(the farewell)
The dream marriage is over and now it’s time for the painful moment. It’s time for the bride to leave the most favourite place, her house and go to a new place to new people. Before bidding good bye to her friends and relatives she throws a fistful of raw rice over her shoulder towards that house. It is a tradition most of us are familiar with.
For those attending the wedding party more than half of the time is spend on a lot of fun filled activities and buying and gifting new clothes and things.
Traditionally the couple goes to the bride’s house in the evening where they are presented with new clothes, some salt as shagun and cash. The groom is also presented with a dusa (six-yard pashmina shawl).
On the first Saturday or Tuesday after the wedding, the bride’s parents send a roth (traditional long freshly baked cake decorated with nuts) to their son-in-laws family.
The bride’s brother and sister comes to the marital home to escort the bride back to her parents home for a day. This ritual is known as Gar Atchun. A grand meal is prepared by the bride’s family. After the meal it’s finally time for the couple to return to her new home while carrying all the gifts presented to her by her parents.
The ‘Lakshmi( Hindu Goddess of prosperity, in the case of the bride)’ is finally home. The last ritual brings us to an end of the authentic Kashmiri Hindu wedding and as we come to the end of the blog,
Here’s to the new beginning and everlasting days of laughter and love.
“A happy marriage is about three things: memories of togetherness, forgiveness of mistakes and a promise to never give up on each other.”