When we hear ‘Indian wedding’ we think of horses, elephants, a beautiful bride in red drapes, a handsome groom in a turban. Though that isn’t a wrong depiction of a typical Indian wedding, but many don’t know that there are various types of marriage in India. There are different types of Hindu marriage, different types of Gujarati marriage, and many different types of South Indian and North East Indian marriages.
Many communities in India have become increasingly progressive about the way people live their lives. But when it comes to a wedding, people love to hold on to their traditions. There are some ancient types of marriage in Hindu mythology and Indians still abide by the rituals mentioned in the mythology. They want to feel like they are in touch with their roots when they are about to embark upon a vital new journey that is to last a lifetime. The different types of marriages in India uphold various traditions and beliefs of the Indians. These types and unique ideas of wedding ceremony are fun and full of laughter too.
Progress Within Tradition
It might feel weird that Indian beliefs are so rooted in mythology, religion, and ancient traditions even today. But thankfully, most parts of the country are progressive enough to keep those rituals limited to the wedding days only. The usual Indian couple lives life freely just like they want to.
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Things are getting better for the Indian youth as far as acceptance in families is concerned. Inter-caste and interstate marriages are becoming more popular. This is why the traditions are also evolving to incorporate rituals and customs from different traditions into a single wedding. Nothing speaks secular like an elaborate Indian wedding.
Different Types of Indian Marriages
When we think of an Indian marriage, even as an Indian we tend to generalise and think of typical Hindu weddings, Bengali weddings, Marwari weddings, and Gujarati weddings. Punjabi and Sikh weddings are popular too. South Indian weddings have an entirely new list of types on its own. They are all different from one another. Let us take a look at some lesser common Indian weddings. It is fun to find out about the customs and rituals that are lesser known.
- Parsi Weddings
A Parsi wedding or ‘Lagan’ follow all traditions and customs of the Parsis. These rituals are very different from a typical Hindu wedding. The customs and rituals are simple but interesting because we don’t often get to attend a Parsi wedding. Bollywood too does not throw enough light on Parsi weddings. But that is better because you don’t want to develop misconceptions about something special. The Parsi wedding rituals span about a week. The wedding takes place in an agiary or in a baug. It is the fire temple, the holy temple of the Parsis. The groom goes on to the stage where the bride’s mother performs achumichu. It is a ritual where the bride’s mother circles raw eggs, rice, coconut, dates, and areca nuts and throws it over the groom’s head. She takes water and throws it on both his sides. This is a typical ritual of a Parsi wedding. This ritual follows the rest of the wedding which is unique in itself. The wedding attire of the Parsi bride and the idea of the groom dresses are different along with the unique cuisines to give treat to your taste buds. The feast is lavish and there is a lot of music, dancing, and fun.
- Malayali Weddings
Malayali weddings are short and simple. There is a lot of fun and chatting and rendezvous with family and friends. The weddings are fun. But the rituals are simple, which is very different from other Indian weddings. Let’s not mistake all South Indian weddings to be similar. Tamil weddings are probably the most elaborate of all Indian weddings, with the maximum number of short and long rituals to follow.
But the Malayali weddings are simple. The ceremony is called ‘velli’. The wedding takes place in the morning, contrary to most Indian weddings being held in the evenings. The groom ties a ‘thali’ around his new bride’s neck at the end of all the rituals and blessings and that is wrap up of the rituals. The fun and frolic continues.
- Buddhist Weddings
Buddhism is one of the most accepting religions. It is the religion of peace and simplicity. Of course, not every Buddhist sect realises the purpose of Lord Buddha’s teachings. But the simplicity reflects in a typical Buddhist wedding. This is the least extravagant of all Indian weddings. Yet, the charm of a Buddhist wedding is unparalleled. It is the very simplicity that makes it so special. Just some prayers, simple rituals and vows are enough to tie two lives together if that is their intent.
Not only does a Buddhist wedding not involve a lot of money, or jewellery, and extravagant expenses. It also does not involve elaborate rituals or fixed rules. There are a few rituals like khachang and Nanchang but there is no dictated way to perform them. The bride and groom get married at a monastery. Buddhist temples are licensed to legalise marriages. So, the wedding is done quickly and that is it. There is no dictate on the wedding attires or the reception feast either.
- Jain Weddings
Jain weddings have the typical Indian wedding structure in its rituals. There is a lagan lekhan, a lagna patrika vachan, and a sagai. For the wedding, there is baraati, phere, granthi bandhan, and there is kanya daan. The wedding follows ashirvaad and swah graham agaman. All these terms are self-explanatory because other Indian weddings also have them. But what sets the Jain wedding apart from everything else is the ritual of Jina Grahe Dhan Arpana. This is a custom where the families of the bride and groom offer donations to the poor after a prayer at the temple. Many people offer food and clothing to the needy on special occasions, but it is because they decide to. But a Jain wedding is incomplete without it’s after wedding rituals and the generosity and philanthropy is a part of the Jain wedding ritual.
- Oriya Weddings
Oriya weddings are simple and have common rituals. But there are some distinctive rituals like the pre wedding ceremony of Jayee Anukulo. This is simply the ceremony of distributing invitation cards for the wedding. Most Indian weddings don’t involve the invitations as part of the wedding rituals. Then there is the Baadua Pani Gadhua ritual where the bride takes a holy bath before the wedding. The rest is mostly all similar. Oriya weddings are quiet and simple.
- Assamese Weddings
Assamese weddings begin with the bride and groom’s mothers fetching holy water on the morning of the wedding day for the bride and groom to take a holy bath. The Assamese wedding too is simple. Traditionally, the feast used is as simple as a meal of rice, curd, and jaggery. But now, a lavish and elaborate feast is served. In a typical Assamese wedding, the feast comes before the wedding.
- Kannada Weddings
The unique ritual of Kannada weddings comes when the bride is accompanied to the mandap by her sisters. Her face is covered by a peacock feather fan. This is typical to a Kannada wedding as the betel leaf is typical to a Bengali wedding. The rituals of Dhare Herdu and Satapadi are important wedding rituals. Kannada weddings are lavish or simple, depending upon what the families involved chose to have.
- Kashmiri Weddings
Kashmiri weddings are elaborate and the rituals are pretty unique. The Kasamdry or engagement ritual follows Livun, which is a ceremonial cleaning of both, the groom’s and the bride’s houses. Other pre-wedding rituals include krool khanoon, wanvun, thaal, maenziraat, snazaroo, kanishran, and some more. The wedding involves a lavish welcome to the groom, followed by lagan and posh puza. Post wedding rituals include the bride’s vidaai followed by a warm welcome for her into her new home. Other post-wedding rituals typical to a Kashmiri wedding include phirlath, roth khabar, and ghar atchum.
- Marwari Weddings
Marwari weddings are extravagant throughout. The pre-wedding ceremonies, the wedding, the post-wedding ceremonies are all elaborate events in themselves. The Pithi Dastoor ritual sets the Marwari wedding apart from other Indian weddings. It is a pre-wedding ritual that continues till the wedding day itself. The usual sagaai, phere, kanya daan, are all there. In addition to those, there are mehfils and paanigrahan. Marwari weddings are marked by extravagant jewellery covering both, the bride and the groom.
These were 9 lesser popular types of marriage in India. They uphold the Indian marriage traditions but each of these weddings have a unique touch to their own rituals.
There is a lot more to know about each of these types of Indian weddings. There are lesser-known facts about each tradition. They make these traditions interesting and worthy of carrying forward.
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