Customs of Pakistani and Indian Marriage Cultures
Generally, in Pakistani and Indian marriage cultures the Muslim family of a groom searches for the bride. Quran and Islamic marriage jurisprudence does not accept a marriage conducted without free consent of the parties. But the families used to ignore consent of the parties for one reason or the other. However, the advent of information technology and developments made by the media has been forcing the elders of the families to take a back seat.
Now, in most of the case you can dictate your terms as an adult. But you still can’t avoid the customs and traditions of your society if you are from the sub-continent. And I don’t think that there may be some good reason to avoid these traditions. They may not have any importance in Islamic jurisprudence but they can make your marriage extremely colorful.
The marriage customs in Pakistani and Indian Muslim marriage cultures are similar. You can observe such similarities in followers of different religions with their individual religious flavor. But in case of Muslims the marriage customs are akin across the borders.
In Pakistani and Indian marriage cultures the ‘Mangni’ is essential not only in the Muslim families but also in non-Muslim ones. It equates to the ceremony of engagement in North America with all out local colors.
It is exchange of rings between the marriage partners.
Generally, groom’s family visits the house of bride first and puts a ring in her finger. Then it is turn of the bride’s family to do the same. Now the modern families are allowing their children to exchange their rings in a single ceremony but most of the people are still going with the tradition.
Mangni, in Pakistani and Indian marriage cultures and Islamic laws does not allow the marrying parties to have any kind of relationship. It neither creates any right nor duties. It is only after valid Nikah that they become legally husband and wife. If engagement is broken by any of the party, it does not affect the parties anyway. However, the parties prefer to return whatever they have got as gifts.
When the date of marriage is fixed, in Pakistani and Indian marriage cultures, the marriage ceremonies start 2-3 days before the wedding date.
One day one, the bride’s family goes to the house of the groom carrying ‘Mehndi’ paste and burning candles while singing songs.
Next day evening the same custom is observed by the bride’s family. The women sing teasing songs and the host offer dinner on each day.
On the third day, the ‘Manjha’ ceremony takes place. The prospective bride is seated on a small square table and anointed with turmeric paste provided by the groom’s family. She wears yellow clothes without any jewels and her friends put turmeric paste on the whole body of the bride before she takes bath. The women from the both sides make the event colorful with their singing and dancing. The ‘Manjha’ ceremony takes place at the house of bride.
The order is not fixed. The families may decide to change the order of observing the customs as for their convenience. When the ceremony has to be completed within two days, the groom’s family enjoins the ‘Mehndi’ and ‘Manjha’ ceremony.
Traditionally, in Pakistani and Indian marriage cultures, only unmarried women apply Mehndi and turmeric pastes to brides. The Mehndi is also applied to groom’s hands. After this ceremony the bride is not allowed to leave her house until the wedding takes place. She can go to beauty parlor on the wedding day along with women of her family.
The engagement ceremony is called ‘Mangni’ in Indian marriage cultures. The Mangni or engagement ceremony is an exchange of rings. The dress and ornaments for the bride is given by the Groom’s family. But the engagement has no legal effects. Other famous Islamic marriage ceremonies are Manjha, Mehndi, marriage procession, Nikah and Valima etc.
The wedding ceremony takes place at bride’s place. The groom goes to the bride’s place with a happy procession. The men and women in Pakistani and Indian Muslim marriage cultures are seated separately. The bride goes to female section and the groom to the male section. Then the traditional ‘Nikah’ is recited by the Imam or Nikah registrar. Sweets and dry dates are distributed by the groom. The bride’s father offers refreshment which may be a cold drink or dinner/lunch.
Rukhsati means farewell to the bride. It is generally performed by the bride’s father. He asks father of the groom to take care the bride as if she is his own daughter. The Mother of the bride says the same kind of words to the mother of the groom. The groom’s father and mother promise that they shall look after the bride and treat her always as one of their daughter. In some families the father of the bride gives her hand in the hand of the groom.
When the bride moves from her father’s house, her mother holds Quran over her head until she is seated in the vehicle to move to her new home. In some places, when bride enters her new home her mother-in-law holds Quran over her head for blessings of God and her protection from evils. Many colorful customs are observed. Some people claim that these customs have roots in Hindu culture. But if they don’t harm your faith, there is nothing wrong in having colors in your life.