Indian weddings are some of the most lavish weddings out there. The colours, the traditions, the festivities.
Indian weddings are a HUGEEEE deal! Don't believe me?
It's reported that the Indian wedding market is a $50 billion industry annually, far superseding the American wedding market.
I mean it's no surprise given that Indian weddings typically last from 3 days to an entire week. So imagine the amount of celebrations and choreographed dances that need to be coordinated.
Here are some of the commonly known Indian wedding traditions - totally explained...
1) THE RED BRIDAL DRESS
We typically distinguish mainstream brides for wearing a white dress, however, in Hindu ceremonies the bride commonly wears a red bridal lehenga.
Often accompanied with gold embroidery...
The colour red symbolizes fertility and spirituality. Red is also connected with the rising sun according to Indian context.
Generally, Indian weddings are colour-filled with a lot of vibrancy and red makes its way as the bridal gown for an Indian bride.
2) BRIDAL MEHNDI
Indian brides often get henna adorned on them in time of their wedding. Henna (or also known as mehndi) is mixed by hand and applied on the hands, forearms and feet of the bride.
Henna contains anti-stress and medicinal properties, seeing as planning a wedding and moving onto a new chapter of life can be stressful, henna acts a cooling agent to destress the bride.
Mehndi is also associated to myths of having a dark stain leading to a healthier and prosperous marriage. It was seen as a determinant for the mother of the groom to know whether or not the bride is the most fitting suitor for her son.
3) SANGEET PARTY
A bride will have a sangeet party, often joined with the mehndi party, will be held a few days prior to her wedding.
It's like the South Asian version of a bachelorette party bringing together female relatives and friends who get adorned in henna, dance and sing.
Sangeet translates to music or musical party, celebrating the union of not only a couple but 2 families.
I've also created a fun Sangeet party playlist that you can dance to :)
4) THE HALDI CEREMONY
On the morning of the wedding day, both the bride and groom apply 'haldi' paste onto their face and bodies - this is basically turmeric grounded into paste.
This ritual is meant to bless the marriage and ward off evil spirits, bringing them good luck and fortune.
The haldi ceremony is also accompanied by music and dance with friends and family as witnesses.
Often times the bride and groom will also apply the turmeric paste onto loved ones and unmarried siblings or friends, which is believed to lead them to their future life partner.
5) THE MANDAP
The mandap refers to a canopy where the wedding ceremony takes place. Usually held outdoors, if weather or any other variable does not permit, a mandap will be built indoors.
Each of the 4 pillars that hold the mandap symbolizes the support of a parent.
Generally, the ceremony is held by the priest and couple under the Mandap accompanied with a ring of fire.
The fire is meant to represent 'Agni' - the God of fire, which in turn breathes life into the marriage and blesses it.