When we talk about Christian Weddings, our conception of a typical Christian wedding centres on corseted white gowns, an abundance of flowers, and adorable flower girls. Christian weddings are a vision of monochrome subtlety and elegance. However, the situation is slightly different when it comes to Christian weddings in India. A variety of ethnic Indian traditions have influenced practically all groups across the nation, despite the fact that their fundamental elements are the same as those of a typical Christian wedding. Contrary to Hindu marriages, Christian marriages are brief and pleasant, but no less lovely.
So readers, in this blog we are decoding all the holy and divine wedding rituals and traditions that are followed by the people of the Christian religion.
Arranged marriages are very common in Indian Christian groups, just like they are in every other community in the nation. Matchmaking is also very common in these communities. South India, North-East India, and sections of the Konkani coastal areas are where the majority of Christians live in India. Matches are typically made within the particular Christian denominations that the bride or the groom belong to. Roman Catholics, for instance, will choose a match with a Catholic family above one that is Protestant, Presbyterian, or Lutheran Christian. The families meet once a preferred match is decided, and if everyone is happy, the discussions move forward. There is almost always a courtship phase during which the bride and the husband get to know one another. If they are compatible, a formal proposal is made, usually by the family of the groom. This occasion is marked in various south Indian cultures by talking about dowries and exchanging betel leaves and betel nuts. The ritual is referred to as- badalchen.
In a Christian wedding, the engagement is unquestionably the most important pre-wedding occasion. A date is selected for the official engagement ceremony when the groom's side makes a formal proposal. It may be a solemn, intimate gathering of just close friends and family, or it might be a big party where acquaintances are welcomed for a jam-packed, exhilarating evening of fun. A ring is traditionally given to the bride by the husband, who places it on her left ring finger. This ceremony represents the girl's engagement to the groom. Either in the church or the location of the engagement, the priest must bless the rings. Nowadays, the bride sometimes occasionally give the husband a ring to wear on his right ring finger. In addition, the groom gives his future wife other presents like clothing, perfumes, handkerchiefs, etc. Following the procedure, there is a party when the two families mix. Before the wedding day is set, there is typically a wooing phase after the engagement. Additionally, the engagement is announced at nearby churches and occasionally in the local press.
The family of the bride hosts a bridal shower for her after the proposal. Most often, the bride's young cousins and friends choose a day and take her out for a fun night. They frequently throw a party where they play various games, give the bride gifts that she could find beneficial in her forthcoming marriage, and let her sing and dance all night long. It is customary for the bride to hide a silver thimble inside a pink cake that she serves to her guests. The next person getting married is rumoured to be the girl's friend who was handed the cake with the thimble. It's the day before the bride embarks on a highly committed partnership and a life of putting the happiness of others before her own that she gets to do all of her favourite things with her girlfriends.
The groom is given a similar celebration to the bridal shower by his male friends and cousins. Despite being a wholly western idea, it is slowly gaining appeal in India. Typically, it happens the day before the wedding. The idea is for the groom to relish his final day of singlehood. The men of the family could deepen their male bonds at a party where women are strictly prohibited. In the weeks before the wedding, it is becoming more and more common to plan a getaway for the bachelor. Adventure sports like hiking, climbing, or trekking are typical favourites. There are activities like bungee jumping, skydiving, surfing, and even diving for the traditional adrenaline addicts. In other cases, the group might travel to a beachfront residence to unwind for a few days in the sun and surf away from the wedding commotion. Before the wedding, you can keep the groom entertained by taking him fishing or taking him to his favorite winery.
In some Indian Christian communities, such as those from Goa or the Konkan, this resembles an anointing ceremony. It occurs the night before the wedding and is comparable to the Hindu Haldi ceremonial. It entails the bride and husband taking a ceremonial bath in their own houses. The participants, who are typically family members, dip their fingers in the oil and make the sign of the cross on the forehead of the bride or groom as the bride or groom is anointed. After applying coconut juice or roce to the head, face, hands, and feet, oil drops are placed in the ears and on top of the head. The bride or groom is then given a water bath.
The groom typically dons formal attire at a traditional Christian wedding in India. Typically, they dress in a black or white suit, depending on the theme. of the wedding. He has a boutonniere on the left lapel of his jacket and is sporting a white shirt.
The bride doesnt necessarily wear a fluffy white gown. Sarees are preferred as wedding dress in the majority of Indian Christian communities in the south as opposed to a gown. Christians from Goa and Konkan prefer to wear gowns rather than sarees. These sarees are typically made of silk and feature intricate gold zari embroidery. They are frequently worn with gold brocade blouses. The colour of these sarees can be white, gold, or beige. Simple white Kasavu sarees with wide golden borders and white or golden blouses are popular wedding attire for Christians in Kerala. They might or might not wear a veil with it. Gold and frequently diamond jewellery are worn with the exquisitely pleated sarees. If the bride choose to wear clothes, they do so in long, white veils and dresses made of silk, satin, or taffeta with crochet work. The bride typically wears an up do and a tiara, and the veil is frequently affixed to her head. Typically, the bride wears a wedding bouquet that may be entirely white or may contain colourful flowers. The bridesmaids may wear sarees or dresses in various colours, most of which are not white, just like the bride. The majority of the time, their attire matches the bride attire well.
WELCOMING THE BRIDE
The wedding attire of the bride, some jewellery, trays of dried fruits, sweets, and fruits are brought to her home by female relatives of the groom the morning of the wedding. Before giving the bride her wedding dress, the priest must bless it. The bride gets ready in her home before leaving for the church with some of her friends"typically bridesmaids"in a car provided by the groom. Her family is next. The bride is greeted by the groom's family as she arrives at the church, and the best man of the groom leads her inside.
THE WEDDING MASS
In most Christian weddings in India, especially those in Roman Catholic orders, a wedding mass is held prior to the ceremony itself. The priest leads hymns and prayers during the mass. The programme begins with an invitation for guests to participate in the opening prayer. The Bible is read from both the New and Old Testaments after the introductory prayer. A member of the bride's or groom's family may read the verse, which is chosen by the priest. The Psalm will then be sung, either by the church soloist or by the visitors. The sermons are then delivered by the priest.
THE WEDDING VOWS
Following the wedding mass, the priest begins the marriage procedures by making the Opening Remarks, during which he briefly discusses the benefits of marriage and, in some cases, the bride and groom themselves. The marriage vows are then said by the bride and groom. In India, the priest mostly determines the vows, and the couple merely repeats them after him. In essence, they commit to support each other through every stage of life till death do them apart.
PERFORMING THE MARRIAGE
The exchange of wedding rings precedes the formalisation of the marriage. Most of the time, the bride and groom place these straightforward gold wedding rings on their respective left ring fingers. Another tradition practised by South Indians is for the groom to wrap a thali around the bride's neck. The Thali resembles the Mangalsutra in that it has a leaf-shaped pendant with the cross symbol engraved on it that is suspended from a gold chain. The husband gives the bride the matrakodi, or wedding saree, which she must cover her head with. The priest then blesses the couple and pronounces them husband and wife. They march down from the dais while holding hands to seek the elders for their blessing.
Following the marriage ceremony, the guests enthusiastically applaud and throw confetti at the newlyweds as they leave the chapel. All of the invited guests and the bridal couple move to a banquet hall to attend the wedding reception. Here, a wedding feast is customarily served, and the guests make toasts to the happiness of the happy couple. The best man and maid of honour may or may not give remarks, but the bride and groom always cut the wedding cake and share the first two pieces with each other before serving the rest to the guests. To encourage the guests to dance, a live band or DJ may occasionally be present.
India truly is a country of diverse religions and traditions, and here Dulhaniyaa is explaining one of them.