India Wedding Ring Traditions for the Newly Married Couple
The country of India includes a rich history of religious and cultural traditions. Many of these traditions can be found throughout an Indian wedding. There are more than 500 languages and 6,000 dialects to be found in the country along with its rich history, so depending on the region, you may find different rituals used during the ceremony. It can also be a long ceremony, with festivities lasting over several days.
Wedding rituals can begin up to 15 days before the wedding itself as the groom and his parents tie a piece of thread, known as the Mauli, to their hands to humbly request a safe wedding day from the gods.
The next step is known as Mayara, which is where the maternal uncle brings gifts for both the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom that includes the dresses they will wear to the wedding. The Tilak ceremony is where the groom receives a red turmeric powder, known as Kumkum, on his forehead and it is applied by male members of the bride’s family. Gifts are also given to the groom at this event.
One of the most important events is when the Indian bride gathers with her female family members to apply henna. It is said that the deeper the color, the stronger the bond between the couple and the better you will get along with your mother-in-law. The names of both the bride and the groom are hidden in the artwork and it is up to the groom to find them.
Northern Indian couples also participate in what is known as the Sangeet. Think of a less formal setting where friends and family members perform different skits, dances, and songs for the couple, similar to a talent show. This gathering is hosted by the bride’s family but also gives the entire family an opportunity to meet and get to know each other better.
In Gujarat, couples are joined by family and friends to celebrate Garba Raas, where guests eat and dance with the couple on the night before the wedding. Women dance in circles during the first part of the evening, and later, men and women take part. After the wedding, the Bou Bhat is held and the bride is formally invited into the family with the groom pledging to be responsible for her food and clothing. During this gathering, the groom serves his bride food and gives her a new sari.
All of these traditions are not even the actual wedding ceremony, which for Hindus is supposed to take place outside. Each of the four pillars of the bridal canopy, known as a Mandap, is meant to represent the four parents. A typical ceremony will also include a priest, a fire, and a Mandap. One tradition that has remained is the walk around the fire that includes four circles around. Each turn represents what is a major goal in life, mortality, prosperity, personal gratification, and spirituality.
Another ritual is the seven steps, with each step representing one of the vows between the couple. The priest also offers blessings for the couple. A ring exchange was not part of the traditional ceremony, but over time, it has been added.
The celebration is full of food, toasts, and special gifts between the couple. Friends and family will also throw money at the couple as they dance to wish them prosperity.
Wedding rings for Indian couples reflect the colorful aspects of their culture and traditions. Rings can reflect the couple and be customized to fit their unique tastes. Depending on the area, men and women will wear rings, but not every religious sect follows that custom. In the Hindu community, the wedding ring is worn on the third finger of the right hand.
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