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It is quite common to come across terms or words in a wedding and not knowing their meaning. These terms are not only important if you are getting married but if you are just attending a wedding as a guest. This knowledge helps you understand what rituals are going on because unlike western weddings, guests are expected to participate in Indian wedding rituals before, during and after the nuptials.
Here is a mini glossary for Indian wedding terminology.
A Hindu ritual of worship where prayer is accompanied by fire from candles, camphor or a Diya ( lamp with an oil-soaked wick).
Piece of cloth (curtain) that separates the bride and groom at the beginning of a Hindu wedding ceremony.
The Hindu god of fire and an essential part of Hindu weddings. Couples promise their love to each other in the presence of open fire and to Agni during a Hindu wedding ceremony.
Indian grooms and their best friends and male family members process with flourish and dancing to meet the bride or groom during the baraat. It’s not uncommon for the groom to be on horseback during this procession.
The vehicle on which the bride leaves for her husband’s home.
The first time the newlywed couple enters their house.
A pre-wedding ceremony where a paste known as Ubtan containing turmeric, herbs, and Chandan (sandalwood) is applied on the face, arms, and feet of the bride and groom in their respective homes.
A vessel in which fire is lit for Puja (Prayer). A Vivaah Havan is the sacred fire around which a wedding takes place.
A ritual in which the father of the bride’s hands over all his rights and duties towards his daughter to her prospective Groom.
Receiving the groom and his family at the bride’s home/Ritual where the bride’s family welcomes the groom’s family.
Sacred necklace that the groom ties around the bride’s neck signifying their marriage.
Special prayers that are recited during the wedding ceremony by the pandit (priest).
A Hindu almanac which provides wedding dates for most communities of India.
This is traditionally a ladies-only party that occurs before a Hindu wedding with women from both sides of the family. In modern times, guys are sometimes invited to these joyous occasions as well. Unlike the haldi or mehendi, this isn’t about blessing the couple or warding off evil, but it’s really an excuse to sing and dance before the official wedding singing and dancing.
A recitation of wedding mantras at Hindu weddings as the couple walks around a fire seven times, just before they are officially married.
Vermillion applied along the parting (Maang) of a married woman’s hair.
Wedding garlands exchanged by the Bride and Groom.
Sometimes spelled bidai, this literally means “good-bye” and it’s a tearful farewell to the bride, who will be leaving her family to join her new spouse’s family.
So, these are some of the common terms that you will come across in a Hindu wedding ceremony. Have given the easiest way to describe them so that you don’t get confused.
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