Indian Marriages and Cultural Beliefs
by Soumya G
Being a country with varied cultural differences, a wide range of marriage rituals and beliefs exists in India. The differences in rituals start with the dressing till the ceremony. The north part of country witness a night wedding, the southern India believes in day wedding. Be it north or south, Marriage is considered as an important part of one’s life here.
Youths usually get married between the age of 25-30 and females at 20-25. Arranged marriages are popular among the Indians, though these days love marriages are also getting accepted. A large number of castes exist here. For a couple to end up in wedding, the caste plays a major role. The proposal is accepted only if the couple to be are from the same caste. Indians believe strongly in horoscope match. Along with horoscope match, height match (guys are usually taller to ladies), age match (guys are elder to lady counterpart and usually with an age difference of 4-5 years), matching family background, financial background, same mother tongue, similar food habits, educational backgrounds are also an important factor of Indian marriages. They believe when the relation happens with all these matches, the chances of family conflicts will be minimized or less.
Elder family members or parents themselves take interests in finding a suitable match for their children. The search may at times long for a couple of years too when there is any negative problems with horoscopes. It’s a typical family affair here. A very strong positive aspect of the arranged marriages here are that divorce rates are too less. The proposal for the marriage is usually kept by the groom’s father to the girl’s father. When the later finds the proposal interesting, he handovers the horoscope to the former. If the horoscope match is found suitable, the boy and girl get the chance to meet each other and express their thoughts on their taste of life. If a girl does not get married at the age treated as marriage age, it’s considered as a shame for the entire family. Among some Hindu communities the marriage of a girl takes place with her Uncle (Mothers brother). This is an old tradition but still in practice, while some communities handover the girl to her cousin.
Marriage takes place on an auspicious day in between an auspicious time known as ‘moharath’ or ‘muhurtham’, which is usually selected with the help of a holy calendar or in the presence of an astrologist. It’s a grand event with a wide variety of cuisines (cuisines are pure vegetarian for Hindu and Jain weddings and non-vegetarian for Christians and Muslims), music and grand dressings. The groom ties the knot known as ‘Mangalsutra’ and exchanges rings. This is followed by the girl’s father handing over his daughter to the groom which, referred to as ‘Kanyadan’. Applying henna or ‘Mehendi’ is a tradition followed here from long past.
The wedding stages are decorated with a variety of colourful flowers. Family members and friends gather to shower their blessings on the newlywed couple. Gifts are handed over to the couples, which in these days are not much entertained by the couples and are being replaced by blessings. The wedding is preceded by the reception where a small group of family members exchange visits to the couple’s homes and have a grand lunch. With the modernisation of the society the reception is being replaced with a grand night event as in Western culture. In some communities, some religious rituals also take place after the wedding to bless the couples. After all Indians believe so much in God.
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