Sindhi WeddingThe Sindhi wedding is presided over by a special priest known as "Mehraj", specialising in matchmaking and a Guryanni , who presents the horoscopes of eligible boys and girls to those for a match.
Pre Wedding Rituals
Once the prospective bride and groom is selected by the families and their kundlis match to make sure that they have a happy married life, the big Sindhi wedding starts unfurling with its numerous unique rituals.
Janya or the sacred thread ceremony starts with the groom donning the sacred yellow thread while the Mehraj whispers Guru Mantra in his ears. Though this ceremony ritualistically should be performed during adolescence , most Sindhi's now prefer to do this day or two considered incomplete. After this comes the two step engagement ritual called Kachchi Misri and Pakki Misri.
Kachchi Misri is the informal engagement between the bride and the groom , where they are given coconuts and misri that signifies their acceptance into each other's families. The shagun is exchanged by the prospective families which usually consist of numerous gifts (Shagun) to the soon wed couples. Additionally the bride family sends 5kg of sweets, five coconuts , a basket of fruit and a small token amount of money to the boy's family. The groom's sister covers the bride's head with a red duppata and feeds her suji sheera , followed by the other relatives.
Pakki Mishri is the formal engagement ceremony where the rings are exchanged in the presence of the priest , either in a temple or at home. The groom's family gifts the bride , clothes, cosmetics and jewellery , with which she is then adorned by the groom's sister and sisters-in-law. Similarly the bride's family gifts a clay pot of misri. This is followed by a Varmala ritual where the bride and groom exchange garlands while the families finalise the verbal promise of their marriage or shaadi.
The engagement is followed by Berena, performed ten days before the marriage, where is satsang is dedicated to Jhulelal, Sindhi God. Dev Bithani refers to the installation of chakki (stome grinder) in the homes of both the bride and the groom, while a Brahmin priest performs the ritual. After this ceremony, the couple is not encouraged to leave their homes and Ainars (marriage guards ) are appointed for them. During Lada , the groom's family invites the women in their neighbourhood for a musical night where they all sing traditional songs accompanied by dholak beats.
Tih, conducted a day before the Shaadi where the priest sent by the bride's family with a bag of rice , cocunut ,dates ,sweet nibatas (sugar candy), sugar cardamom, cloves and a skien of green silk yarn , prays to Lord Ganesha along with groom and sanctifies the time of lagna. The unique ceremony of Saanth/Wanwas is performed by a brahmin priest who ties a chhalla around the right foot of the groom/bride , followed by oil being poured on their heads by the married women in their families and a house along with her son-in-law , acting as Ainars ,which is later placed inside and worshipped. The bride and groom in their separate houses offers the priest the bukhi with their cupped hands and the entire amount of Bukhi (5Kg) is to be finished within 21 rounds.
The wedding rituals starts with the Haldi ceremony that is done to purify and ready the bride and groom for their union. Haldi and oil is poured over the body and hair by the family members after which they are forbidden to leave their house. During Garo Dhago a red thread is tied on the wrist of the bride and groom and all the other family members involved in the wedding ceremony. In the Sindhi wedding the groom is dressed up in the distinctive way : with a red thread tied to the hair to the ward off the evil eye, a red cloth is place around the neck with a coconut tied to one end and a white cloth is also placed which contains a bundle comprising of Karchi, rice and elaichi. Once dressed the bride's brother and family take him to the wedding venue.
The Baraat is also a wonderful part of the indian marriage. The groom with the sehra tied to hide his face sits on the horse, while his mother holds a lamp lit for the household deity. It is merry ritual when they set forth for the marriage venue along with a band of musicians playing popular tracks, with his relatives groove their way to the wedding. The Swaagat is the ritual to welcome the groom and his entourage by the bride's family. The bride watches the arrival from one window of the house , careful not to gaze upon his face and then comes out to welcome him. At the entrance the groom places his right foot on top of the bride's foot to denote his dominating strength in their future life together. In the Sindhi tradition the groom is seen as the embodiment of lord Vishnu on the wedding day. The couple is seated with a screen separating them so that they cannot see each other while his feet are washed in a bronze thaali with raw milk by the bride's brother and is known as Paon Dhulai. The couple now gets ready for the wedding ceremony and is taken to the wedding platform where the ceremony is to take place.
After the Pao Dhulai, the screen is removed and the couples exchange garlands. The white cloth is taken from the groom's neck and placed around the bride which is tied to the groom's red cloth, while their rights hands are also tied together with a sacred thread as they pray to god for lifelong happiness and strength. As the Sindhi wedding involves only four pheras the couple walk around the holy fire four times. It is followed by Kanyadan, which is denoted through the holy water flowing from the parents hands into the groom's hands through the brides. The last rituals, Saptapadi are performed when the couple places their right foot on seven small piles of rice.
Post Wedding Rituals
During Vidai , the brides brother is entrusted with the couple's care. The Baraat leaves for the groom's house but take different routes and their arrival at the groom's house is announced with drum beats and is welcomed by the women of the family. Datar starts when the new bride is welcomed into the family with her feet being washed by the groom's parents and then she sprinkles milk in all corners of the house. This is followed by the bride placing a handful of salt in her husband's hand and him passing it back three times without spilling. This ritual is then repeated with the rest of the close family member. During Chhanar , the chakki that was placed during the Dev Bithana ritual is removed. The couple prays before the household Gods and fed seven mouthfuls of rice, sugar and milk. The wedding reception is the party thrown by the groom's family to announce the wedding and this usually takes place a day after the marriage.
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