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MUSLIM WEDDING

Muslim weddings have a place of their own when it comes to uniqueness and traditionalism. Among Muslims, it is the family of the groom-to-be which searches for a suitable bride.

Mangni or Engagement Ceremony

In this ceremony, the exchange of rings takes place between the boy and the girl. The outfit worn by the girl is provided by the boy's family. The actual ring ceremony takes place with the serving of sweetmeats like peda to celebrate the auspicious occasion.

The Manjha Ceremony

In this ceremony, the girl is anointed with turmeric paste. The haldi lapetan ceremony takes place at the girl's house one or two days before the wedding day. The haldi and chameli oil are provided by the boy's family. Only unmarried girls apply haldi on the bride-to-be. A symbolic token in the form of a spot of the heena is put on the groom too by the girl's cousins.
The girl's attire: The girl limits herself to yellow clothes, the colour of turmeric, and does not wear any jewellery. After this ceremony, she does not move out of her house or change her clothes till the wedding day.
The musical night (at the girl's place): This festivity takes place one night before the wedding. There is natural gaiety and rejoicing accompanied by traditional songs sung to the beat of the dholak.

The Wedding Day

The baraat (or the procession of friends and relatives accompanying the groom) starts from the groom's place and moves towards the wedding venue, with the groom seated on a horse or in a car. A shamiana is pitched if no concrete covered area is available for conducting the wedding ceremonies. The arrival of the groom is accompanied by the beating of drums playing of musical instruments. Dancing rhythmically to add to the gaiety around.

On arrival, the groom and the brother of the bride exchange a glass of sharbet (or juice) and money. The saalis (or the sisters of the bride) welcome the guests by playfully hitting them with a phoolon ki chadi or a stick wrapped around with flowers.

The wedding attire

It is customary for the boy's family to send the wedding attire, jewellery and cosmetics for the girl. She usually wears the outfit as per the norms of the state she hails from; for instance, a gharara or a zari sari or salwar kameez. The groom normally wears a sherwani or an achkan.

Both the bride and the groom don a sehra or a veil of flowers around their foreheads.

The wedding Ceremony or Nikaah

Traditionally, the men and women have to be seated in separate rooms or have a purdah (or curtain) separating them. The amount of meher or gift is decided upon by the elders of the two families. (The meher is the compulsory amount of money given to the bride's family by the groom's family.) It is either fixed at an affordable price for the boy or fixed according to traditions in their gharana or amily.

Next, the uakeel or an eminent person with two male persons as witnesses and the maulvi or the officiating priest ask the girl personally if she is happy with the arrangement and whether she agrees to marry the groom. The boy'' asked the same question. In case of assent from boy, the maulvi then makes the boy read a selected piece of the Quran, the holy book of the Muslims.
The nikaahnama: This is a documents wherein the marriage is registered. First, the groom and the two witnesses sign and later the bride does so.

The Accompanying Ceremonies

(a) After the nikaah the groom is taken to the zenana (ladies' section). At the threshold, he gives money and gifts to the sisters of the bride. The groom receives the blessings of the elder women and offers them his salaam or salutations.

(b) Dinner is served separately to the ladies and the gentleman. The family of the boy is given a feast separately.

(c) After dinner for the first time, The groom and the bride are seated together and a dupatta is used to cover their heads while the maulvi makes them read some prayers.

(d) Aarsimashaf: The Holy Queen is kept in between the newly weds and they are allowed to see each other only through reflection by mirrors.

(e) Misri, dried dates and batasha are distributed to the guests. The dried dates have a religious significance.

(f) A half-eaten laddoo (a sweetmeat) is given to the girl by her cousins.

(g) The groom stays overnight in a separate room at the girl's house with a younger brother. In the morning, he is given clothes, money and fifts by the bride's parents.

(h) The relatives of the boy come to accompany the bridal couple to their home in the afternoon.

Rukhsat (or farewell)

The father of the bride gives her hand to her husband and asks him to protect her always. The last farewells are said and the bride departs for her husband's house by car or palki (palanquin).

The bride's first entrance

The bride first enters her new home under the cover of the quran held by her mother-in-law and the groom follows.

Chauthi

The bride is taken back to her parents' place on the fourth day after the wedding.

Valeema or the reception

The husband brings back his wife and her family to attend the reception hosted by his family. Thus, the two families unite to become one.

 

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