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Christian Wedding & Ceremony  

In India 2% of the population is Christian Christianity is India's third-largest religion, following Hinduism and Islam. The major centers of Christianity in India are Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Manipur and Mizoram. There is also a big community of Christians in Mumbai. The main division of Christians in India is like in the Christian world, Protestants and Catholic. There are also different denomination among them, Syrian Church, Armenian Church, Anglican Church and others. Most of the India Christians were converted by the Portuguese. There is also an Anglo-Indian community in India.

Although a Goan Christian wedding may vary in some details to a western church wedding, it basically follows the diktat of a catholic wedding. The wedding is attended by friends and relatives of the bride and groom. An Anglo Indian Christian bride traditionally wears a white gown in western style and the groom wears a suit.

Pre-Wedding Rituals:

Find out about some of the most well known and much enjoyed pre-wedding customs of a Christian Wedding.

Bridal Shower

Bridal Shower is one of the major pre-wedding customs of a Christian Wedding. This is basically a fun-filled and entertaining informal hen party, which is hosted by the bride's female friends. It is mainly a female get-together that is enlivened by songs, dance and joyful game sessions. Friends and relatives present gifts to the bride-to-be and give blessings for a blissful married life. Following the tradition, the bride serves a pink cake to all present. Uniqueness of the cake is that there is a thimble hidden inside this cake. It is believed that a girl who receives the piece of cake with a thimble will be the next to get married.

Bachelor Party

Bachelor Party is hosted by the groom for his friends. It is essentially a stag party organized on the eve of the wedding or a couple of days before the wedding where a groom is expected to enjoy his last evening as a bachelor. A Bachelor's Party typically begins by raising a toast before the drinking begins in earnest. It is mostly celebrated to have fun and enjoyment with close friends.

 The Wedding Dress or Saree

The full skirted gown is usually made of around five to seven meters of material but can vary according to pattern. In other sects of Christian community the bride's dress is usually a white or cream saree. Brides head is covered with a white veil and a crown - a tiara or a bunch of white flowers and she holds a flower bouquet in her hand. 

The Ceremony 

Welcoming the Bride

The ceremony of welcoming the bride is conducted on the day of a Christian wedding. Groom sends a car to pick up the bride and waits for her outside the church. Following the tradition, when the bride arrives, the Best Man welcomes her with a kiss on either cheek and hands her a bouquet of flowers. Following this ritual, the couple walks down the aisle slowly and gracefully accompanied by the wedding procession. Inside the church, the couple walks up to the place where the priest stands for the wedding mass. The priest then welcomes them and offers his best wishes.

The Christian Matrimonial Ceremony 

The Christian matrimonial ceremony is simple and involves the exchange of wedding bands and marriage vows by the bridal couple. The proceedings of the marriage ceremony is accompanied by a group of choir singers. 

The rituals are conducted along with the holy mass. The couple walks down the corridor slowly but gracefully till they reach where the priest stands, who welcomes them and offers his best wishes. The priest then commences the procession of reading psalms from the Holy Bible. He then renders a sermon called Homily, which dwells on the sacredness of the wedlock. 

Like in all Indian matrimonial rituals, this community too, has an interesting lecture with an emphasis on the sanctity of marriage given by the priest. The Homily being over, the bride and the groom hold each other's right hand and make the Solemn Promise of lifelong loyalty stating that they will stay together in thick and thin to each other, in the name of God. This is followed by Blessing and the exchange of the wedding rings, which are first blessed by the priest to instill in the bearers an everlasting love and an earnest faith. 

Mangalsutra 

Another common feature of the Indian community, that has been extended to the Christian community matrimonial alliance is the Mangalsutra. In the Roman Catholic Saraswat Brahmin community this is known as Piduk. In the Syrian Christian community the groom presents his bride in church with a sari. This is known as 'Mantra Kodi'. A Taali, a leaf shaped gold pendant with a cross sealed on it, is worn on thread created with strands drawn from this sari by the groom's sister. The priest prays for the couple and the couple renders a thanksgiving prayer to the Almighty. 

The ceremony comes to an end with the priest giving the final blessing to the couple. The gathering, towards the end, shower their blessings on the newly weds. The last formality is the couple then signs the register and walk down aisle, arm in arm. 

Like all weddings in the Indian community, the holy matrimonial alliance in Catholic weddings is followed by a reception for celebration. the ceremony ends with a blast at the reception by a live band. The newly married couple is greeted at the venue with showering of confetti. Following the tradition, the happy couple also cut a wedding cake and feed each other a bite of the first slice. The Toastmaster proposes a toast in honor of the couple. The reception is mostly celebrated with dance and dinner party. 

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