Friday, 31 July 2015

Sindhi Wedding Rituals

Today's post is one of the longest wedding story posts, and it comes from a very dear friend of mine..Jaya.
Jaya is married to my husband'd best friend, and in no time she turned out to be my best buddy too. I had the privilege to attend their wedding. And what a wedding it was. Almost like a fairytale. I had been coaxing Jaya to pen down her story, and today I am sharing it with you.
Thanks so much Jaya. You guys make a lovely couple and God bless you always.
Over to you....
I have been a big fan of “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge” movie since the time it was released. At the time, I was only 9 years old and I started dreaming about my Dilwala to come and take his dulhaniya ;) I belong to a Sindhi family in which we have an opposite tradition where Dulhaniya goes to Dilwala to get married that is the bride’s side of family goes to the groom’s side to get married. Sounds weird, right? But, on the brighter side, if the groom resides in a different city, it is a destination wedding for the brides family. ;)

As a child I used to dream about grand traditional weddings! I was very much influenced by Rajshri films like Hum Saath Saath Hain and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. A few years later in my late teenage, I started to dream about beach weddings and American style weddings. But when it was my turn to get married, I thought of doing a simple traditional wedding in a Gurudwara. I wanted to save the expense from the wedding celebration and instead travel around the world with him. This thought remained in my mind only. After going back and forth, we finally decided to get married in Fariyas resort in Lonavla! I was super excited and nervous about my dream come true wedding :) 
We had a couple of events in Baroda and then a series of events in Lonavla.

Kachimisri and Bherana (Jan 4th 2013)
This is the first ritual in any Sindhi wedding and is similar to Gaud-dhana that Gujarati’s have or Roka that Panjabi’s have. It is an agreement between both the families to conduct the marriage. Both the families pray together to the Kuldevta Jhulelal to bless the couple with a blissful marital life.
The bride’s and the groom’s family presents nicely decorated tokras (hampers) of goodies to each other. Primarily, the bride’s family need to give five coconuts and misri (crystallized sugar) wrapped in a new towel/cloth. Depending on the preferences additional goodies could be dry fruits, chocolates, gheni’s (gold coins)  etc. A great deal of thought and effort is put into making these beautifully decorated gifts, in fact plenty of families these days prefer to have a specialist manage this for them.
After the Kachimisri in January, we spent almost an year planning for our wedding in December. The planning part of the year was also the best part of our wedding ;) We used to spend hours coordinating with photographers, decorators, event planners during this entire year.

Anandpurdarbarsatsang (Dec 22 - 2013)
We were all set to begin the celebration. Nervousness and excitement were at the peak. We started the celebration with the Anandpur darbar satsang which is the guru that my grand parents had been following since a very long time. Sindhi weddings are generally a large-scale, razzle-dazzle affair with lots of good food, the best of designer labels, diamonds and lots of dance. There was Satsang (bhajan), prasad, dinner and dance during this event which was held in darbar itself. This was for getting blessings from the Anandpurdarbar’s guru.

Mehendi evening
: Mehendi is primarily a ceremony for women, where the bride and the women from both sides of the family and friends get henna applied on their hands by a professional. Popular belief is that, the darker the color, the more her husband will end up loving her!  All the women in my family got their henna applied during this event. I chose not to get mehendi applied on this day as it was too early for the dark color to stay till the wedding day ;) And I decided to get it applied on the day we leave for Lonavla ;)

Akhand path (Dec 23 - 2013)

Akhand path means continuous recitation without a break of the holy scripture “Guru Granth sahib” from beginning to end, (all 1430 pages,) lasting about 48 hours by a team of pathees (readers). This ritual is considered a very holy practice and is said to bring peace and happiness to the participants and the listeners of the recitation. At its completion, there is a ceremony called Bhog. Bhog in sanskrit means to conclude. It is accompanied with bhajans/ (laadas as we call it in sindhi) and dance to celebrate the completion of the recitation of the “Guru granth sahib” and also to shower blessings on the family.  
As a part of the traditional dance during bhog, we keep matki (an earthen pot) on the heads’ of every family member starting with Bride’s Mom and Dad and make them dance. The sindhi laada that plays during this dance form is (Hindi translation - rakhke matki sir pe, dulhan ki mummy nachegi… Rakh k matki sir pe, dulhan k papa nachenge ….) To give the best analogy, this is very similar to the song “BaariBarsi” from the movie Band BaajaBaraat where every family member is introduced and made fun of by the lyrics in the song. Akhand Path is a tradition followed by sikhs but staying amidst so many diverse religions we have adapted to rituals from different religions. In my family, this is one of the most important events of our weddings.

On the same day evening, we had Matakichauki. Our wedding is incomplete without MataVaishnodevi’s blessings. On this night Prayer is performed to gain blessings from Goddess Durga. Religious songs and hymns are sang by all members taking part in the chowki.One of the best parts of this ceremony is we dress up one of the cute little girls from the family as mataji and everyone takes blessings from her in addition with mataji’s idol. My favorite mataji’s song is “Maa murade puri karde, halwa batungi …”


Dec 24 - 2013 On this day we were traveling to Lonavla by train so there were no ceremonies on this day. I got my mehendi applied on this day. There were songs and laadas sung by my aunts while we were traveling to lonavla. It was a lot of fun :) 


Mehendi and Sangeet (Dec 25 - 2013) We had mehendi ceremony for the groom’s side of family on this day. I wanted to have sangeet in my wedding as I was inspired by all my gujju friends. To me, it’s a gujju tradition. Sangeet ceremony as the name suggests is all about dance and music! Sangeet is not a Sindhi tradition. Traditionally, Sindhis used to have Ladies Laadas (i.e Ladies sangeet) which is exclusively for women wherein all of them sing folk songs dedicated to the bride. It is accompanied by Dholak and spoon, for the tune and beat. After this, all the girls perform dance on different songs.Amidst the celebration, women crack jokes, tease the bride, merrily reminisce their youthful days and bless the girl for a prosperous married life. The environment quite often becomes emotional as the bride and her mother experience the pangs of separation from each other. After all the dance and singing is done, its time for refreshment. It mainly contains a variety of snacks and sweet dishes. Women enjoy themselves to the fullest, making the environment light. But with changing times, it has now become Sangeet where men and women both participate. Today this ceremony is all about dance performances from the bride and groom’s side of family.


 

Ring Ceremony, Cocktail and DJ
After Sangeet, we got a few hours to get ourselves dressed up for the Ring ceremony. This was the evening of my dreams :) On this evening, we exchanged our rings amidst the yay’s and aww’s of all our family and friends :) After the cake cutting ceremony, we had the BEST MAN and the MAID OF HONOR do the speech. Our party was a western themed party. This is referred to as the Cocktail Party because as the name suggests there is a free flow of alcohol at this ceremony. There was DJ, Drinks and everyone on the dance floor. Manoj and I had a dance performance on the song “Tum Mile” from the movie ‘Tum Mile’. This is the party that everybody was looking forward to and the dancing went on until the wee hours of the night.

 

Saath and Soond - Bride

This ceremony is done for the bride on the morning of the wedding, at the wedding venue. But in our case we did not have that time in the morning so we did it right after ring ceremony at 12:30 am. ‘SathSuhaginyu’ (seven married women) first rub off their luck on her by applying oil on her hair and then join in to help the bride to grind some wheat in the ‘jandd’ a traditional rotating grinder.

This symbolizes her initiation to household chores. A red thread is tied to one of her ankles and everybody applies oil on her head. There are some rituals done with the bride’s mother holding an earthern-pot on her head. There is another ceremony where the bride breaks a small earthenware diya with the same pair of jooti (or sandals) that she is going to wear for her pheras. The destruction of the eastern pot symbolizes end of her current life. She will be beginning her new life after she gets married to the groom. From this time until the wedding, she is not allowed to be alone and is accompanied by her sister or aunt wherever she goes.

A little portion of kutti (wheat flour sindhi recipe) is made and fed to the bride and the remnants are fed to eligible girls and boys, since it is believed to increase their chances of quick matrimony. This is also called the Vanva ceremony. After taking shower the next day, the dress I was wearing for ‘vanva’ was given away in charity. This also symbolizes giving away the old for the new.


Dec 26th
Dikha Ceremony is also called the Saathsoond in Sindhi. During this ceremony, all the relatives put oil on the groom’s head and tear off his clothes. Apparently, this signifies casting away the old life and moving into the new. This is a fun ceremony and mostly the groom tries to wear 3 layers of clothes to protect himself that are mercilessly torn away by all his cousins and friends.

The ‘bochhini’ (a white big stole like garment with a big pocket at one end) is draped on him. The groom’s mother stitches this beforehand and gets it embroider with seven large sequins. This embroidered part comes over his head. The priest then does a puja and places the ‘mukut’ on his head. The groom’s mother plays an important role in this ceremony. The misri-phala (crystalized sugar and dry fruits) are dropped into the pocket of his bochhini, first by his sisters, followed by maternal grandparents’ side and then the others. There are some rituals done with the groom’s bhabhi holding a pot on her head. There is another ceremony where the groom breaks a small earthen pot with the same pair of jooti (or shoes) that he is going to wear for the pheras. The destruction of the eastern diya symbolizes end of his current life. He will be beginning his new life after he gets married to the bride. From this time, the groom is considered as form of Lord Vishnu. Post this ritual which is between his two lives, he is not allowed to go alone anywhere and is accompanied by the aenar (his sister’s husband) carrying a knife in his hand all the time for the grooms protection.

   

Baraat:
The groom’s entourage of family and friends come to the venue dancing and rejoicing on the beats of a live dholak, in a colourful procession. The groom is dressed like a Prince who rides off on a horse in all royalty. The bride’s family welcomes them with garlands. In our case, Manoj and I were located in the same resort, so they took him 1/2 km away from the resort and brought him back on horse ;)Manoj wanted to make an entry on an elephant but unfortunately we were not able to make arrangements for one in Lonavla ;)


Vedi (The wedding) :
Pheras: The bride and the groom go around the sacred fire four times. The seven sacred vows are exchanged in the presence of the sacred fire. These vows with Agnideva are considered to be unbreakable! Each round signifies a purpose. With these pheras, the bride and the groom pray for a life of understanding, loyalty, unity and companionship not only for themselves but also for peace of the universe.
Kanyadaan: Kanyadaan literally means giving away the daughter to the groom. Placing their daughter’s hand in the groom’s, they hope that he will honor and protect her dignity. After this, they also do the Gau(cow) daan and the tulsidaan. Which is giving away the idol of a cow and tulsito the couple.
The groom then fills the parting in bride’s hair with Sindhur and makes her wear the ‘Mangalsutra’.
Jaymala : This ceremony is exchanging of garlands between the bride and the groom.  The bride’s parents offer sweets to everyone and give gifts to the aenar and groom’s family members. The priest matches their horoscope and then announces the alphabet with which the bride’s new name should start with. I was given an opportunity to chose my name and after listening to a couple of recommendations from everyone who was googling around, I picked the name Dhriti for myself. And then I was announced to be DhritiHarpalani starting that moment and then everyone started cheering !!!

 

 
Salt Shagun  is a ceremony after the wedding at the groom’s place where the new Bride exchanges salt with the Groom & his full family to ensure they have good relationships. This is the first time bride meets the grooms family after wedding. So she is showered with lots of blessings and lots of precious gifts ;)

Reception
This post marriage ritual is mainly for the bride and the groom to meet and greet their guests. On our reception, we had a grand entry where I was in a doli/palkhi and Manoj was walking in front while the song “Azim-o-shah Shehenshah” from Jodha Akbar was playing in the background. I truly felt like a queen. This was the best and the most unexpected part of our entire wedding. This entry was a surprise to both of us. Once we were on stage we had ceaseless hand-shaking, photo-clicking, indiscrimate hugging and re-uniting moments with our family and friends :)
 
 


Bidai:
Bidai is a ceremony in which the bride’s family bids her goodbye and see-off the newly married couple. Manoj had an idea to run away and marry, which we could not do, so we thought of running away and eloping after the reception. I was so happy after our reception that in the Bidai, I was left without any tears in my eyes.
 
After the Bidai, we were so tired and finally decided to run away to our hotel room.

7 comments:

  1. Such beautiful pics! Jaya looks so gorgeous and they make a stunning couple! Funny how some rituals are so similar to ours...I used to think they would be different!
    <3
    Shreya
    Bric-A-Brac.A fashion and lifestyle blog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow, so much that goes into a sindhi wedding. Never knew, in fact never attended one too. Jaya looks so gorgeous.
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  3. Such a beautiful post...
    Thanks for sharing :)



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  4. The bride looks brilliant <3 Love these pics, wish them luck for the rest of their lives!!

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  5. Thank you very much everyone for your cute comments and special thanks to Aditi for giving me an opportunity to write a post for her blog!

    ReplyDelete
  6. The post is exceptional. I've never attended a Sindhi Wedding so far.
    Adithi, thanks for bringing Jaya in.
    Jaya, you look spectacular... I got married a month before you.. :)
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  7. Simply be there with each other. All things considered, that is what truly matters to a commemoration.best anniversary gift

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