A traditional wedding dress. Photo Source: Sajeda Vahora, a family friend.
Have you ever been to an Indian wedding in your life or planning on attending one? Fear not! By the end of this blog entry you’ll feel as if you’ve explored every aspect of the festivity and you’ll be more confident. Being an Indian, myself, I’ve probably attended over 20 weddings and each time I am fascinated by the cultures and joy!
Muslim Indian weddings usually consist of three days of constant fun and celebration. First day is a ritual called a “mehendi.” During this festivity, the bride gets henna (temporary tattoo) applied on her hands and feet, consisting of various flowers and designs. Thereafter, the bride and groom typically sit on a swing and each family member comes around and feeds a small bite of mithai (sweet). This is usually a token of love and togetherness.
The second day, called the Nikah, is the actual wedding ceremony, in which the bride and groom get married in a mosque after signing the wedding papers in front of three witnesses. The Nikah usually takes place in the morning or mid afternoon. Later in the evening, there is a second part to this celebration. This is often called the Shaadi (reception). During this joyous occasion, the bride bids farewell to her family toward the end of the night and embraces her in laws as her new family.
The third and final day of an Indian wedding is called the Valimah. While the Mehendi and the reception are cultural, the Valimah is purely religious in which Muslims follow the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) sayings of feeding family members for the joyous occasion.
While many families change the days around and many practice varying cultures, most Indian weddings are more than a day long. Families are known to save up for weddings from the time the child is born; some parents spend over $100,000 in total. It’s every girl’s dream to have the perfect wedding, but in Indian culture, whether it is the perfect wedding or not, the dress, the henna and family members’ love and support is more than enough to feel the perfection.