Kashmiri wedding ceremonies are also relatively simple and conducted in accordance with their own customs and sacraments.
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Kashmiri wedding, as the name suggests is the marriage ceremony celebrated in the valley of Kashmir. Just like the lovely surroundings and the innocent citizens of the place, Kashmiri wedding ceremonies are also relatively simple and conducted in accordance with their own customs and sacraments. The marriages cannot be called affluent but do have their own charm and lustre. There are host or rituals observed before and after the Kashmiri wedding and thus make it an elongated event. Some significant marriage rituals are given below.
Full of traditional and ecstatic ceremonies Kashmiri Wedding Rituals offer a time of family union for the Kashmiris. The wedding consists of a list of ceremonies and rituals that are performed with full enthusiasm and enjoyment.
The bride and the groom are dressed up by the close friends and relatives. The groom’s uncle helps him in draping the gordastar i.e. the turban. Before leaving for the bride’s place he is made to stand on the vyog i.e. a pattern made out of the rice flour. The whole wedding ceremony generally takes place at the house of the bride thus adhering to the facts of Kashmiri Wedding Rituals.
Pre Wedding Traditional Rituals in Kashmiri wedding:
Just like any other Hindu wedding, the most significant ritual is the matching of horoscope of the boy and the girl. But before the horoscopes are considered to be matched, the status, fame and moral character of the family and their close relatives are also checked. This is followed by “Kasamdary”, which is a formal commitment on the part of both the girl`s and boy`s families to the wedding.
The first ritual which takes place is Vanna or the engagement ceremony. The seniors of both the families meet in a temple and interchange flowers to formalize the nuptial association. The date of the engagement is fixed by the family purohits. On this day the maid servant of the boy`s family goes to the bride`s house with gifts and presents for the bride and also has to feed cream and dry fruits to her with a silver spoon. On the same day either the sister-in-law or the brother–in-law of the girl, along with one or two children, visit the boy`s house with presents for him. Both families hold a music session in the evening, wherein Kashmiri wedding and folk songs are sung.
Devgon literally mean Havan ceremony. For the girl, this day starts with a holy bath named “kanishran”. In this custom, a veil held by young girls is placed over the bride’s head and a mixture of water, rice, milk and curd is showered along with flowers by the relatives present fully dressed in traditional clothes and headgear, she is draped in the famous Kashmiri shawl. The boy too starts his day with a bath and comes fully decked for the ceremony.
Next is the Livun custom, wherein the whole houses of both the bride and groom are cleaned. Wanwun Ritual: Just few days before the nuptial, the Wanwun custom is held, which is the musical session held at the house of the boy and the girl.
The next is the Maanziraat ceremony, which begins with krool khanun. It is the ritual in which the door of the houses of bride and groom are decorated. This is followed by the ceremonial bathing of the bride, in the beginning of which the maternal uncle of the bride washes her feet. Just two three days before marriage, the bride’s family sends 51 thaals to the groom’s house, which contains sweets, dru fruits, ghee, sugar and gota. Around two days before wedding, the groom’s family sends flower jewellery and tinsel for the bride, which serves as her first ornamentation.
Just one day before wedding, Mehndi is applied to bride’s hands and feet. On the marriage day morning, Diugun is performed, wherein the bride and the groom are applied a paste of curd, gram flour and saffron, followed by a bath. The bride’s parents also give her dijaru, an ear ornament, which is the sign of a wedding. The next ritual is Sanzvaru, in which the groom’s family sends cosmetics, mirror, sindoor and a betel leaf covered with gold or silver foil. After this the Duribat ritual takes place, in which the bride and the groom worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in their houses.
Wedding Rituals in Kashmiri wedding:
All invitees first gather at the groom’s house. The groom normally wears the pheran and his waistband along with a sword, which is adjusted in his waistband and embroidered slip-on shoes on his feet. The eldest paternal uncle ties the turban. A plate of rice containing some money is touched to the left shoulder of the groom while the turban is being tied. The groom rides a horse in the marriage procession to the bride`s house. The bridal procession is welcomed at the venue, wherein the fathers of the couple interchange nutmeg as symbol of timeless relationship. They are greeted and welcomed with the blowing of “shankhs”. The bride`s maternal uncle has to carry her out to the place where the groom is made to stand.
The bride and the groom are fed nabad and a dwar puja is conducted before going to the mandap for bridal ceremony.
The marriage ceremony is initiated with traditional verses shlokas read by the pundit. It is quite comparable to the Hindu wedding and consists of seven pheras in front of the holy fire, amongst mantras. The bride and the groom are told about their duties towards one another. The couple has to cross their arms one over the other and hold hands covered with cloth this ritual is called “Aathwas”. It is believed as a part of tradition that that the first one who manages to pull out the other`s engagement ring plays a dominating role in the married life of the couple. A golden thread (Mananmal) is tied to their foreheads. Stepping on seven one rupee silver coins placed in a circle makes the first round around the sacred fire. The next six rounds are done to the chanting of mantras. The bride and the groom finally feed each other some food. They are considered officially married after this ceremony. As always an emotional ritual of “Bidaai” is performed when the bride leaves her parent`s house to take on her responsibilities to her husband and in-laws.
Post Wedding Rituals in Kashmiri wedding:
On reaching the groom’s house, they are given nabad to eat and the mananmal, the thread tied on their heads are exchanged. Two pigeons are also freed to rejoice the occasion. Then they are led to the kitchen where they have food, fed by the aunt.
The following custom is Satraat, as per which the bride along with groom and some kids visits her parents’ house. Here, the couple is presented with gifts. The same evening of her wedding the bride accompanied by her husband and two children from the groom`s family has to go to her father`s house for dinner. As a part of the “Satraat” ceremony, the couple is presented new clothes by the bride`s parents, which they have to wear before returning home.
Phirlath is the ritual wherein the couple visits the bride’s parents second time and once again they are given presents. “Phirlath” is a tradition where the couple is invited again for lunch or dinner by the girl`s parents.
Roth Khabar Ritual:
The next is Roth Khabar ritual which is held on a Saturday or Tuesday after the marriage. According to this ritual, the bride’s parents send, one meter long and two and a half meters wide cake, decorated with nuts, to the groom’s house. Usually an odd number of cakes are sent. Then the bride visits her parents with the person who brought the cakes. After this, the groom’s family sends somebody to bring the bride back.
The Kashmiri Marriage Customs are full of music and dance programs. The ladies organize a ceremony called Wanvun that is celebrated throughout the night. Some of the families would even invite traditional singers who are known as Bachkots. The guests are served with an array of elegant cuisines like Dumaalu, Nadrooyakhni and Chock Wangun.
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