via : Andy Linn
There are a lot of similarities between Punjabi and Sindhi Weddings, and some of the rituals overlap. Sindhi wedding celebrations also stretch for a week and are quite elaborate.
Pre Sindhi Wedding Rituals
Kacchi Mishri: This is the first formal ceremony after both sides have agreed for the marriage. It is an informal engagement between the bride and the groom and they are given coconuts and mishri (sweets) to signify their bond. Gifts known as shagun are exchanged between the bride and the groom’s family on this day. This ceremony is also known as ladki rokna (engaging the girl).
Pakki Mishri: This is the formal engagement which takes place a week before the wedding where the couple exchange rings in presence of the priest. The girl is gifted a basket full of fruits, clothes, cosmetics and ornaments which is placed on her lap. This signifies that she has been accepted by the groom’s family. The groom’s sister and sister-in-law put on some make-up for the bride-to-be with cosmetics specially bought by them. The bride’s family brings five kilos of mishri (sweets) in an earthen pot which is opened by the groom’s mother. Post this, seven married ladies draw a picture of lord Ganesh on the pot using red powder. This is a way to request god to bless the couple. The bride’s family also sends all the wedding clothes and accessories for the groom to his house. Lastly the couple exchange garlands and the grooms family feeds sweets to the bride’s family and confirms the engagement. At this time the priest matches the bride and the groom’s horoscope and fixes the exact time for the marriage.
Dev Bithana: This ritual marks the starting point of all celebrations. It usually takes place five to six days prior to the wedding. A Brahmin priest installs a chakki (stone grinder) as a family deity which is worshipped till the end of the wedding. This ceremony takes place individually in the bride and the groom’s house. A few sacred objects are placed on this chakki and a thread is tied around them while family members apply tilak on them. Post this ceremony, the bride and the groom are not allowed to leave the house till the wedding is completed. The respective brother-in-law of the bride and groom act as guards and cater to their requirements. They are known as Ainars which means marriage guards.
Lada: This is similar to the Sangeet ceremony which is performed at Punjabi weddings. According to the tradition the grooms family hosts this musical night where women from the neighbourhood are invited to participate in the function. Traditional folk songs known as Ladas are sung to the beat of the dholak and thali and guests dance and rejoice the occasion.
Tih: This ceremony takes place one day prior to the wedding. The priest of the bride’s family takes some goods to the groom’s house which includes a small bag of rice, a coconut, nine dates, twenty one sweet nibatas (sugared candy bars) sugar, cardamom, cloves, a green silk yarn and the lagna of the marriage (the auspicious time fixed for the wedding) written on a piece of paper. The priest then conducts a small puja where he worships lord Ganesha and then places the piece of paper which has the wedding time written on the grooms lap. The groom then takes blessing from all the elders present during the ceremony.
Saanth: This ceremony is held a day prior to the wedding separately in the house of the bride and the groom. A priest conducts a puja in the bride’s house and seven married women pour oil in the center partition of her hair. The ceremony is also performed at the groom’s place and it ends with the tearing the bride and the groom’s clothes. This signifies getting rid of old stuff and bringing in the new along with warding off any evil spirit.
Mehendi: This ceremony is held a day before the marriage at the bride’s house. The bride’s hands and feet are decked with lovely heena designs.
Banwa: A grinding stone is installed as a temporary household deity as a part of this custom. The priest carries out this ritual.
Baraat: This is the groom’s wedding procession. The groom arrives on a horse back accompanied by his friends and relatives.
Swaagat: This ceremony involves welcoming the groom and his family by petal shower, garlands and gifts. As a tradition, the bride is supposed to get a glimpse of the groom while he is getting off the horse.
Sindhi Wedding Rituals
Jaimala: This refers to the exchange of garlands between the bride and the groom. This takes place after the groom’s feet are washed.
Pheras: This takes place at the auspicious time set at the time of the engagement ceremony. Though Hindu weddings have seven pheras, only four pheras are conducted in a Sindhi Wedding. . The first three rounds are led by the groom while the last one is led by the bride. This completes a Sindhi wedding ceremony but there are some smaller rituals which need to be performed and only after the removal of the Dev installed at the bride’s house the ceremony is considered as complete.
Post Sindhi Wedding Rituals
Vidai: This is usually a sad ceremony as the bride has to part from her family. The bride’s father showers her with a lot of gifts. The bride is welcomed with great poise by her new family.
Datar: This marks the entry of the bride to her new house. The bride sprinkles milk in all corners of the house and places a handful of salt on her husband’s hand which he then carefully passes back to her without dropping any of it. This ritual is repeated thrice and then done with all the members present.
Chhanar: It involves the removal of the temporary deity installed for worship during the various ceremonies. This is conducted a day after the wedding.
Sataurah: The newly wedded couple visits the bride’s house at a time fixed by the priest.
Gadjani: This is a very informal kind of reception where in the couple is introduced to close friends and relatives of the groom’s family.
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