Asian weddings are characterized by an array of ceremonies, occasions and rituals. These marriages are a riot of colours and are fun filled occasions. The weddings are spread over almost a week and are extravagant events. The family members and friends of the bride and groom come together to celebrate this joyous occasion.
Almost all the Asian marriages have certain pre wedding rituals that need to be followed. Some of the most important ceremonies that are conducted before the marriage day are: engagement ceremony (sagaai), musical evening (sangeet) and henna party (mehendi). Everybody participates in these festivities and the occasion is celebrated amidst much fanfare.
While in the Christian weddings the congregation waits for the arrival of the bride, in the Asian weddings the groom’s arrival is awaited at the house of the bride. After the welcoming of the groom there is an exchange of garlands (jaimala) between the groom and the bride. After this, among the Hindus the bride and the groom take seven rounds around the holy fire, the Sikhs take 4 rounds of the holy book and among the Muslims the marriage is solemnized by mutual consent. Among the post wedding rituals is the Vidaai wherein the bride takes leave of her parental home. This is followed by the welcoming of the bride into her new household amidst much joy and cheer.
In Asian weddings the bride and groom are elaborately dressed. Both of them wear the traditional attire complete with jewellery and accessories. The bride is decked in bright coloured sari or salwar kameez or lehenga choli. She also wears choora (Bangles), kalira (silver or gold ornament that is tied to the bangle), mangalsutra (a necklace made of gold that has black beads) and sindoor (vermilion mark applied by the groom on the forehead of the bride). The groom wears the traditional dhoti kurta or kurta pyjama. He also sports a turban with a veil which is called the sehra. It is made with fresh flowers or gold tassels.
A unique feature of an Asian marriage is the canopy (mandap) where the rituals are conducted. The place is elaborately decorated with draped fabric and flowers. The chanting of the wedding hymns and prayers are conducted under this canopy.
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