Most people in the western world have relatively similar views of traditional weddings. There are certain elements of weddings that people from this part of the world expect, due to experiences they’ve had, and the images they’ve seen in magazines and on television and films. Things such as white wedding dresses, gorgeous engagement rings from 77Diamonds, sharply dressed groomsmen in uniform suits, flower girls sprinkling rose petals down the aisle, etc. are the standards. But what some don’t realize is that these standards are quite different in various parts of the world. For instance, an Indian wedding can be a beautiful and spectacular occasion, and still feel very different altogether for a foreigner.
Observing something as celebratory and significant as a wedding in a different country or region can be a great way to glimpse some of that region’s culture and values. With that in mind, here are some of the most traditional aspects of Indian weddings that you may see if you are ever fortunate enough to attend one.
Also known as the Saat Phere, the Seven Vows are a very important portion of any Indian wedding. Essentially, they are a ceremonial ritual not unlike tradition western wedding vows through which the bride and groom make seven separate pledges. These pledges include:
- Earning a healthy living.
- Asking for peace from God and a healthy life.
- Earning wealth through an honourable means.
- Establishing lasting love for each other and each other’s families.
- Having children to be responsible for.
- Praying for a lasting marriage.
- Promises of commitment to each other.
A sacred practice that follows the Seven Vows, the Kanyadaan represents the transfer of the Bride to the Groom’s family. The Bride’s father places the Bride’s right hand in that of her new husband, after which the mother of the Bride pours water over the newlyweds’ palms.
Resembling other wedding feasts around the world, Indian wedding feasts feature delicious foods, abundant cocktails, and extravagant decorations. The food in particular tends to be a highlight, and specific menu items often reflect the respective backgrounds and homes of the Bride and Groom.
Specific games vary, but are often performed during or after the feast as a part of the reception. The games are designed to be light and fun, as well as to foster a sense of unity and friendship between guests. Specifically, the games are meant to help the Bride’s and Groom’s respective families to enjoy and embrace each other quickly and joyously.