An Indian Wedding
Indian weddings like Indian culture are diverse. While most North Indian weddings are a grand and elaborate affair, the weddings down south are relatively simple. Being a Keralite, I will describe a typical Nair Wedding.
To begin with, the pre-nuptial ceremony includes a brief “Dakshina” ceremony. The bride gives “dakshina” that consists of a betel leaf, a betel nut and a coin, to the elders and gathers blessings from them. The same is carried out at the groom’s end. The wedding ceremony is by day. The venue may be in a temple but is generally done in marriage halls. The “Mandapam” is set on a stage. It is done aesthetically with fresh flowers and silks. The bride waits in a room, dressed in an ornate saree or the traditional white and gold “kasav” saree. She is adorned with gold jewellery. Her hair usually braided is covered with layers of fresh jasmine flowers. Her cousins wait holding “Thalams” (a diya in a coconut half, rice grains etc), in two rows, at the entrance and escort the groom till the “Mandapam.” They then, bring the bride in. Amidst auspicious sounds of the mridangam, garlands are exchanged rings too and then the father of the bride gives her away to her husband. The bride and groom then walk around the mandapam three times. Unlike most Hindu weddings, there is no Pandit and no sacred fire. The groom ties a “taali” (mangalsutra) around the bride’s neck. The marriage is now solemnized. The couple deals with the legal part of the marriage, later. This is followed by a “Sadya” or lunch of fourteen dishes on banana leaf.
The bride leaves with the groom for a blissful life ahead.