Hindu Wedding Traditions: Clothing, Flowers, Food And Decorations

Hindu wedding are colorful and deeply traditional with the emphasis on the merging of two souls and two families.And they can be very long!

Hindu weddings are elaborate celebrations blending traditional elements with the personal style of the couple. There are several different ways to hold a Hindu wedding ceremony. The time span of the wedding can last from a few hours to an entire week. Hindu ceremonies are family oriented and place great emphasis on creativity and entertainment.

Clothing

Hindu wedding attire is defined by the relationship. Hindu brides generally arrive at the ceremony wearing an outfit provided by her parents. During the ceremony, the bride changes into a red, white and gold sari, purchased for her by the groom. This is to symbolize the passing of responsibility from the parents to the groom. Brides are also adorned with gold jewelry and floral garlands, an integral part of the ceremony. The red and white colors stand for fertility and purity. The groom also generally is dressed in a white shirt with gold embellishments and either pants or a sarong. The groom may wear a turban known as a Safa and/or a necklace called a Kantha.

Flowers

Flowers are an important ritual during the Hindu wedding ceremony. In addition to exchanging rings, the couple exchanges flower garlands (called Varmala) to symbolize their love. The garlands are made of brightly hued flowers and are longer than a Hawaiian Leigh. Another tradition similar to the American version for throwing rice is the throwing of flower petals onto the couple during and after the ceremony. These flowers are usually only thrown by the parents or members of the immediate family.

Food

Food is an integral part of the Hindu wedding before, during and after the ceremony. Hindu weddings that are spread throughout a week or a few day span include several food festivities. Meals prior to the wedding ceremony are free of any foods considered aphrodisiacs such as garlic and onion. Choices for this meal are also vegetarian. Throughout the week, guests feast on Indian staples such as curry, creamy rice and bean dishes, pastas, roasted potatoes and breads. Some Hindu weddings serve food during the lengthy ceremony to keep guests from getting too famished. Post wedding, the meals begin to include non-vegetarian items as well as alcoholic beverages. While some are catered, it is not uncommon to have family and friends provide the food for the reception. In replacement of the traditional "˜wedding cake,' it is custom for the bride and groom to feed each other five bites of a sweet food (usually a mixture of honey and yogurt). Guests can then place a red dot on the forehead of the bride and groom to wish them luck.

Decoration

Hindu wedding ceremonies can take place in a temple or at the bride's home. At both locations, the couple is seated on a stage filled with pillars and a decorated canopy, sometimes adorned with the bride and groom's names.Hindu wedding décor is lavish, bold and infused with color. The prominent color scheme is red and gold, which is incorporated into flower arrangements, table settings, tents, and seating. Wedding favors are handcrafted pieces of glass, wood or silver.

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