Kashmiri weddings are very glamorous. The matching of the horoscopes of the prospective couple is given utmost importance at Kashmiri weddings.
Pre Wedding Rituals
Livun and Wanwun: This ceremony takes place at both the bride and the groom’s home where the entire house is thoroughly cleaned. Waza the family cook arrives on this day and places a mud and brick oven known as war in the backyard of the house. All the meals for the wedding ceremony are cooked here. A music function known as Wanwun is organized in the evening where all the family members part-take in the celebrations.
Maanziraat Ceremony: This ceremony takes place a week prior to the wedding. It involves decorating and beautifying the door of the homes of the bride and the groom. In the evening the bride is bathed where her maternal uncle washes her feet. Post this, the bride’s eldest aunt applies heena (known as maanz) on her hands and feet. This is followed by a musical session known as Wanwun and dinner is served at this occasion.
Devgon and Duribat: This signifies that now both the bride’s and groom’s status will change from single to married. This ceremony marks this transition. A fast is observed by close relatives of both families before performing this ritual and this takes place in front of the fire. The gifts which the bride’s parents wish to give her are displayed at this ceremony. Also the couple is bathed with a mixture of water, rice, milk and curd and flower petals are showered on them. Post this they change to new traditional clothes and the Duribat ceremony takes place. It involves exchange of gifts and is attended by maternal relatives of the bride and the groom.
Welcoming the Marriage Procession: The groom’s relatives and friends are given a warm welcome at the bride’s home on arrival. The blowing of the conch shell marks the arrival of the wedding procession. The bride’s maternal uncle then leads the couple to the vyog (place specially created for the couple to stand). The couple receives nabad (sweets) from the eldest family member and two pots of rice are given as alms to the poor. Post this the dwar puja is performed by the pundit at the entrance of the hall and then the couple proceeds to the wedding mandap for the rest of the rituals.
Pheras: The wedding rituals are performed in front of the sacred fire. A ritual known as aathwas takes place which involves crossing of arms and holding each other’s hand to try and remove the partner’s engagement ring. While the couple does this, their head is covered with a cloth. According to an old belief, whoever manages to remove the ring will rule the household. Post this a golden thread is tied to their foreheads and the couple place their right foot on a grinding stone known as kajwat. This is followed by the pheras where the couple steps on seven one rupee coins as they circle the sacred fire and they take seven rounds. The wedding ceremony ends with this and the couple feed rice to each other.
Vidai: The newly wedded couple stand on the wonderfully decorated vyog (place specially created for the couple to stand) and the eldest female member from the family will offer the couple nabad (sweets)three times and kiss them on the forehead. Post this the bride sits in the doli and departs for her new home.
Welcoming the Newly-weds: The couple is taken to the vyog (place specially created for the couple to stand) where the groom’s eldest aunt offers nabad (sweets) to them and kisses them on the forehead. A pair of doves is set free to make the joyous occasion. The couple then exchange the golden threads tied on their foreheads and are led to the kitchen where the aunt will serve them food. The bride then changes to an outfit gifted to her by her in-laws.
Satraat Ceremony: As a ritual the bride visits her parents’ home in the evening and is accompanied by her husband and a few kids. The newly wedded couple receives clothes on this occasion.
Phirlath Ceremony: It is the same as Satraat ceremony but takes place when the couple visits the bride’s home for the second time. This time too the coupe is presented with new clothes by the bride’s parents.
Roth Khabar: As a part of this ritual, the bride’s brother carries a homemade cake to her new home on the immediate Tuesday or Saturday post the wedding. The bride returns to her parent’s home with her brother and stays there for a few days until someone from her in-laws family comes to take her back.
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