Guide to Asian Weddings
Leicester has a thriving Asian community and of course we want to list as many venues for their wedding events as well. Most Asian weddings will take more than a day so special care must be taken when booking dates and some venues specially cater for these types of wedding.
The main features of a Gujarati wedding which are very similar to Hindu weddings involves parties and music and dancing and weddings can go on for days.
As an example of a typical Gujarati wedding we have the rituals and ceremony below.
Your Guide to an Asian Wedding
Rituals on the wedding day are usually heavy. Gujarati weddings are very similar to the Hindu weddings, especially in the way and steps used to sanctify them. A Gujarati wedding usually begins with the welcoming of the groom to the wedding venue. In Hindu Gujarati weddings, the mother in law of the groom welcomes him by doing an ‘Arati’, which mainly signifies blessings of Lord Agni. An interesting part that does not really appear in most other weddings plays a unique presence even in modern Gujarati weddings. While the groom is being welcomed at the wedding venue, the mother of the bride playfully grabs the nose of the groom. This is done to mean that the boy is coming in nose-rubbed as he asks for the bride’s hand in marriage.
The formal introduction of the bride and the groom on stage is called Jaimala. This part of the ceremony signifies the couple’s role towards each other and is based on two garland exchanges. The first of them happens while the groom stands on a platform higher than that of the bride. Then both are positioned at the same level for the second round of garland exchange.
Another ritual that follows in the Gujarati weddings involves stealing of the groom’s shoes, called Madhuparka. As a fun event, children and young ladies customarily participate in the event. However, this mischief is not the only feature of Madhuparka. The groom’s feet are washed with honey as he drinks milk. This is meant to make the groom feel superior as well as welcomed in the house of the bride.
Before Saptapadi, a number of different rituals also take place in Gujarati weddings. The Kanya Daan is the ritual where the bride’s father allows her to join the ceremony and, in effect marry the groom. Kanya Daan precedes Hasta Milap where the couple’s garments are tied to each other, making it difficult for them to separate physically. For this, it is usually the groom’s shawl, and the bride’s scarf that come into use.
In order to complete the procedures before Saptapadi Gujarati weddings complete the seven rounds in the ritual called Mangalpheras. Saptapadi in Gujarati weddings is about the bride touching seven beetle nuts in a row. She must touch them with her toe, while the groom is supposed to help her.
The wedding, as in other Asian weddings conclude with a grand feast and much music and dancing.
Photographs courtesy of NCD Photography Coventry.