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5 Top Indian Wedding Customs
Indian weddings are loud, colourful affairs accompanied by lots of shopping, eating, singing, dancing, general exorbitance and some very strange and hilarious customs that probably had some significance in the past but now remain as fun versions of their original selves. Here are five interesting customs you can look forward to if you're invited to an Indian Hindu wedding:
The Bride's hands are adorned in elaborate patterns using henna tattoos. The patterns are usually floral or geometric and the husband's name is written in a cryptic way somewhere in the patterns. There is a fun ceremony called the "Mehendi" wherein the bride, her sisters, girlfriends and her female relatives, sit and get their hands and feet tattooed in a red henna dye. The girl is supposed to look for the name of her husband in her bridal "mehendi" amidst the cheers of the other women present, and lots of singing and dancing. It is said that the deeper the colour of the henna the next day, the more the husband will love the wife.
Stealing The Groom's Shoes
During the wedding ceremony, the bride's sisters attempt to steal the groom's shoes while the groom's brothers and friend's attempt to thwart this plan. However if the ladies succeed, then the groom is expected to cough up a princely sum of money to get his shoes back!!
In traditional Indian weddings, the groom arrives to the venue, usually chosen by the bride's family, on a white mare who is decorated gaudily. The groom himself is often veiled behind a curtain of flowers and all his friends and family dance in front of and around his mare, creating a loud and merry procession known as the "baraat". When the baraat reaches the venue, members of the two families greet their counterpart and garland them. At this point, there is a cute custom where a member of the bride's family lifts up the groom's veil for a quick peep at his face, to symbolically "check" that it is indeed the right man coming in as groom!
Nose catching, Ear twisting etc
There is a funny custom in the Gujarati community, wherein the mother of the bride tries to catch the groom's nose when the Baraat arrives to remind him that since he is now taking away her daughter, he will be responsible for her well-being and happiness. She then blesses him in a small ritualistic ceremony. Amongst the Maharashtrians too there is a similar custom, wherein the brother of the bride twists the ear of the groom to warn him to take care of his sister during the years ahead.
The Ring Game
Once the wedding is over and the girl goes back to the boy's place, the fun and games continue. One of the games includes a ring and a bunch of coins put into a silver dish that is filled with milk and vermillion. The bride and groom dip their hands into this dish and whoever manages to locate and fish out the ring first is said to be the partner who will "control" the relationship.