Asian weddings are known for their vast amount of rituals and traditions. The colourful and cultural extravaganza can last over a week and it is typically divided into three parts, the pre-wedding, the main ceremony and the post wedding. Here we explore the intricate and beautiful wedding ceremony that symbolises the sacred union between the bride and groom.
The Traditions and Rituals
When it comes to the wedding ceremony, it can usually last for around three hours as it includes a vast amount of rituals and special traditions that not only symbolises the sacred union of the bride and groom, but it also celebrates the coming together of their families. The families are heavily involved throughout the wedding, playing key roles in many of the ceremonies and traditions that flow through this extravagant and important affair.
The ceremony proudly begins with the arrival of the groom; this section of the wedding is called the baraat. Alongside the groom are his close friends and relatives, singing and dancing as they make their way to the venue to be greeted by the bride. It’s a joyous occasion as the bride and groom meet and exchange flower garlands. The flower garlands symbolise their happiness and willingness to be accepted into each other’s families.
One of the most important parts of the wedding ceremony is the kanyadaan, during this ritual the father of the bride will give his daughter away to her future husband by placing sacred water in her hand and then placing her hand onto the grooms. This is a request for the groom to accept the bride into his family as his equal partner, symbolising unity, prosperity and happiness.
Following from the kanyadaan, the priest will light a small fire in a copper vessel known as Agni, the God of fire. The commitments that the bride and groom make to each other will, therefore, be made in the presence of God, further signifying their dedication to each other. The bride and groom will then circle the fire seven times vowing to support each other and confirming their eternal friendship. With each step they take as a married couple, they are taking a sacred vow in which they must live by.
The wedding ceremony concludes with the groom offering the bride lifelong protection by placing a mangalsutra, a gold and black necklace around her neck, which is a token of love. Finally the groom will apply a red powder to the centre of the bride’s forehead. The two offerings signify the groom’s devotion to his new bride and showcases her as a married woman.
Although, these are just a few special rituals that are apparent at an Asian wedding, there are a vast amount of meaningful, culturally, extravagant and colourful celebrations that make an Asian wedding such a wonderful and special affair.
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