Sindhi wedding - many shades of rituals like any other traditional Indian weddings
The Sindhi wedding takes place in the same way like any other Indian wedding. It is filled with lots of rituals and loads of fun. There are different types of rituals in which some are pre marriage and some are post marriage. The whole occasion comprises of a lot of rituals before, during and after the marriage.
Janya and Misri- in Sindhi weddings, if the thread ceremony is not done during grooms adolescence, it is done before marriage and it’s known as Janya. The Misri or engagement can be kachhi or informal in which the grooms sister puts red dupatta on the brides head and feeds her the sweet halva made from wheat or pakki which is a formal engagement in which the family of the bride offers 5 kg of sugar to grooms family and 7married women make Ganesha on a pot which symbolizes good luck and prosperity. Sweets are exchanged in both the houses on both the occasions of Misri.
Banwa and Tih- in Banwa, a stone grinder or chakki is installed in the houses of both bride and groom-to-be and it starts the celebration of marriage. In Tih, the priest of the bride’s house visits the groom’s house with twenty one sugar candy bars, nine dates, rice, coconut, and green silk yarn and spices a day before wedding. A crown is presented to the groom. It marks the fixing of marriage officially.
Lada- in this ritual, the women from the neighborhood and other women friends are invited by the groom’s family at a fun event of music, song and dance to mark the happy event of the wedding. It follows the ritual of Banwa.
Sath wanwaas- in this, an anklet is tied to the right legs of bride and groom at their own houses and seven married ladies pour oil on their heads and the two try to break an earthen pot. The clothes are torn at the end of the ritual and the shoe which is used to break the pot is worn on the day of marriage. Clothes are torn as a symbol of breaking off from past and ward off evil.
Mehendi, sangeet and the pujas- as any Indian wedding, the bride and other female members of the house gets their hands decorated with mehendi. A get together is also arranged to make the families know each other and the bride and groom are also showered with petals and gifts on the ritual of Saagri. The Ghari puja and Navgrahi puja is also performed at both the houses before the marriage. In Ghari puja, a pot of water is worshipped. This whole ritual is based on the pot of water and is done simultaneously in both the houses. In Navgrahi puja, all the Hindu Gods of the Solar System who can influence the destiny are worshipped. It is done first at the house of the groom and the house of the bride.
Wedding day rituals
Haldi and Garo dhago- the bride and groom is applied oil and turmeric paste on their bodies. It acts as an antiseptic and makes skin farer. After this ceremony they can’t leave their own houses. In Garo dhago, a red thread which is considered holy is tied on the wrists of both the bride and groom.
Baraat- the groom sets off for the bride’s house on his horse which is decorated. He is accompanied by bands and musicians who sing and dance all along the way. The groom has a veil on the turban which keeps off the evil sight.
Swaagat and paon dhulai- it is sort of a welcome from the bride’s family. The male members come up and introduce themselves. The bride welcomes the groom-to-be and places his foot on her own. In paon dhulai, the brother of the bride washes the feet of both the groom and bride. They are separated by a screen. After the ceremony is over, the priest comes up and he then measures the feet of both the bride and the groom.
Jaimala and Hathialo- in Jaimala, the bride and groom exchange the flower garlands by facing each other. In Hathialo, the bride carries a red cloth and the groom carries a white cloth. They are tied to each other. Along with this, they are also tied red threads on their right hands.
Phera- It’s the heart of the Sindhi wedding and in this, the bride and groom walks around a holy fire or yagna by making promises to each other after the priest reads out the prayers or mantra to all the Hindu Gods and Goddesses starting with Lord Ganesha. The Hindu weddings have seven Pheras or going around seven times while the Sindhi weddings have 4pheras in which the groom leads the first three and bride leads the last.
Kanyadan and Saptapadi- in Kanyadan, the bride’s father hands over her daughter to the groom. He also pours water in his new son-in-law’s hands. In Saptapadi, the couple places their right feet on seven piles of rice and they seek blessing from the elders by touching their feet.
Vidai- the newlywed couple leaves the bride’s house. The bride’s father gives the gifts to her daughter as she leaves for her husband’s house where they are welcomed with drums and band.
Datar- the bride’s feet are washed with water before she does enter house of her husband. Then she sprays milk in all four corners of her husband’s house and then places salt in her husband’s hands which he returns by handing back to her. The ritual is repeated three times.
Chhanar- the stone grinder which was installed in Banwa is unveiled by priest after the day of wedding. The couple is now fed seven mouthfuls of milk, sugar and rice.
Reception- it is the marriage reception. Nowadays in most of the Sindhi weddings, it is held on the same day of the wedding.
Sataurah- it’s the first time visit by the newlywed couple to the bride’s house. It is the last ritual of the Sindhi wedding.