Traditionally, weddings in India were arranged marriages, where the families involved would consult a priest for a suitable day.
The Pre-Wedding Ceremony includes a bangle-ceremony, a few days before the actual wedding date, where the family of the Groom goes over to the Bride’s home with bangles for the Bride. Now, the hands of the Bride are decorated by Henna.
Next is the smelting of gold for the Thali, which is the pendant that is one of the most revered symbol of marriage along with the red pottu, a red dot / Bindi on the lower forehead of a woman to signify that she is married.
The positioning of the bindi is significant. The bindi is always worn on in the middle of the eyebrows, this is believed to be the most important pressure point of the human body. This point have various names such as Ajna Chakra, Spiritual eye, Third eye meaning ‘command’, is the seat of concealed wisdom. It is the center point where all experience is gathered in total concentration. According to the tantric cult, when during meditation the latent energy rises from the base of the spine towards the head, this ‘agna‘ is the probable outlet for this potent energy. The red ‘kumkum‘ between the eyebrows is said to retain energy in the human body and control the various levels of concentration. It is also the central point of the base of the creation itself, symbolising auspiciousness and good fortune.
The smithing of gold is performed by a goldsmith, and it is done as close to the wedding day as possible since according to customs, the Bride and Groom cannot meet again until the wedding day. A small nugget of gold provided by the Groom is melted and used to form part of the Thali. A few days later, prayers are held at the Groom’s home with the Thali. A similar henna-decorating ceremony takes place for the Groom.
Weddings in North Indian customs, like Punjabi weddings, are fun-filled events with lots of dancing, music, rich food and alcohol.
However, weddings in South Indian customs, like Tamil weddings (very commonly seen in Singapore, in the Singapore Tamil community) traditionally tend to be more sober affairs.
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