There are so many things about weddings that we love. Whether it’s the vibrant clothes, the tasty food, traditional music or just the general all-round buzz of people, there are so many things to look forward to. But what make Indian weddings really great, are some of the rather quirky traditions that have been passed down for generations.
1. The nose grab
This is one of the first traditions that will probably make you burst into a fit of laughter. Prior to the groom and his baraat (brigade) entering the mandap, it is customary for the bride’s family to welcome them. The bride’s mother will welcome her soon-to-be son-in-law with an aarti and will then try to grab his nose. If she succeeds it means she will have full control over him from here on in. It’s quite funny to watch as you’ll often see the groom trying to move his head back or the best man placing his hand near the groom’s nose in order to protect him.
This is the first competition between both sides and you’ll probably get to hear plenty of banter and cheers in between.
2. Stealing the shoes
One of our favourite parts of an Indian wedding is the ‘Joote Do Paise Lo’ tradition. Ok, we’ll admit it’s not strictly called this but there is a famous Bollywood song (from the film Hum Aapke Hain Kaun) that made this particularly popular.
When the groom steps inside the mandap to begin the religious ceremony, he needs to take his shoes off. Traditionally the bride’s younger sisters will try to steal the shoes at this very point and then demand money for them at the end of the night, while the groom’s family look to hide them. It’s all fun and games really and a way for both sides to get to know each other. The amount of money exchanged can range between £5 per shoe to £100!
3. Who sits first?
The phera (walking around the fire) is one of the most important parts of the religious ceremony. To make the whole process a little less intense, once the final phera has finished both the bride and groom are asked to stand still and then sit down abruptly by the priest. As the saying goes; whoever sits down first will be ‘wearing the trousers’ in the relationship.
Again, this is just something for the family to joke about and use to ease the pressure off the couple during the ceremony. If you’ve got a funny priest – he may have the guests in stitches with a few hilarious comments at the end.
4. Hold the car
Once everything has been completed the bride and groom will depart and head to the groom’s house or to the temple. But, before they can get their happily ever after started, the bridesmaids will be guarding the car to ensure the bride is unable to leave until the best man pays them off.
Again the amount of money can vary largely, and the number of girls depends on how large the family is. One thing is for sure though, that car is not moving until they say so!
5. The ring game
This is typically played at the groom’s house once the wedding is completed, however, it is now becoming a common trend for couples to play the game in the wedding mandap before the vidaai, simply because there is usually an evening reception which follows. Usually, a ring is placed into a steel dish and filled with a mixture of milk, water, kumkum (red powder) and small pebbles or shells (just to throw the couple off).
The bride and groom are then asked to compete to find the ring. The first one to find it is naturally the winner, with a best of three usually taking place. If you’re lucky, then some families will actually buy a brand new band for the game, which is kept by the winner.