Indian wedding traditions: Clothing, flowers, food and decorations
The traditional wedding in India holds many deeply rooted ideas and styles. This article contains information on the clothing, flowers, decoration and food is important to the traditions of marrying in an Indian style.
The traditions in India for a wedding differ greatly from those held in Western tradition. Besides the differences in performance, there is also a great variety in clothing, food, flower, and decoration.
The brides’ traditional wedding clothes include a certain style. The dress that they usually wear is called a Sari. Underneath the Sari is a blouse with short or no sleeves. The color and pattern of this blouse should match the Sari, which is a nine foot wrap of cloth. A drawstring petticoat is fastened at the waist of the cloth which allows the Sari to stay wrapped tightly and allows the cloth to flare outwards towards the feet. The other type of dress that the bride can choose from is called a choli sharara. This is a two piece dress. The top stops below the chest. There is then a long skirt at the bottom. The choli sharara will also include a scarf that goes on one side of the shoulder and to the bottom of the brides’ feet.
There are several different styles that the bride will pick from. Most have traditional meena, or embroidery work on them. Often times, the embroidery will be with gold pieces on the dress which can weigh up to twenty pounds. The more intricate dresses will also be in silk cloth. The colors of the dresses will always be in red. This signifies life, fertility, and joy.
The bride will always wear a formal bindi or tikka as the jewelry which hangs from her forehead. These are usually a gold, silver, or colorful gem. They also wear bangles, “slave” bracelets (a bracelet attached by a chain to rings on each finger), two to three necklaces, a nose ring, and ankle bracelets. Most brides will also put henna on their skin. This is applied the day before the wedding on the feet and hands in intricate designs.
The groom will wear what is called a jodhpuri. This is a three piece suit, including an outer coat, inner coat, and trousers. It often includes embroidery around the neck and down the suit. It is also usually a silk fabric. Most jodhpuris are black, brown, tan, or white coloring. The men will also often wear a safa or pagdis, both of which are traditional hats or cloth that is wrapped around their head.
The most important flowers to have for the wedding are the garlands exchanged by the bride and groom. This happens towards the end of the wedding ceremony, and symbolizes the marriage as a bond and complete.
The other flowers that need to be included in the wedding are jasmine and roses. These are often thrown at the bride and groom after the wedding ceremony is completed for good luck. They are also often used as decoration in the canopy under which the bride and groom may be married.
The food is a large part of the wedding and is usually eaten at least a day before the wedding at a party to celebrate the occasion. The celebration can last up to three weeks. Each day will include not only entertainment, but also several varieties of food. These types of food, among many others are popular in an Indian traditional wedding.
- Fish fry
- Kathal Biryani, which is a rice dish layered with curried jackfruits
- Dal Khushk Punjabi, a combination of lentils in a creamy sauce.
- Makkai ki Roti – Indian-style corn bread
- Sarson Ka Saag – mustard greens with homemade white butter
- Koi mil gaya. – salad with herbs and cottage cheese
- Mujhse dosti karoge – garden fresh toss salad
- Dil to pagal hai – baby corn and chicken salad
- Main hoon ek sharara – Chicken curry
- Kabhi to nazar milao – Goan fish curry
- Mere khwabon mein jo aaye – A desert of fruit salad
- Saat pheron ke naam – Saffron jalebis with coconut custard
The entrance for the wedding is the first place that is decorated. This usually has flowers or tarans placed around them. They have intricate designs to set up the mood for the wedding day. When one walks into the room, there will be backdrops or vhidi mandhaps placed around the room. These are usually satin cloth, and placed at the entrance, counter table, or mandap canopy. Next, the main place for the wedding will have aisle separators. These are usually elaborate vases, pedestals, or cups. They usually stand from two to four feet high and are painted with intricate decorations. The decoration for the wedding will also have special chairs, dolis, or jhulas which the bride and groom will sit at the front of the room while they are exchanging vows and going through the traditions of their wedding day.