Wedding traditions in my country, Pakistan
Wedding traditions in my country, Pakistan
Wedding ceremony in Pakistan is full of striking, sensational and eye-catching traditions. It continues for several days. Normally, arrange marriages are in practice but love marriages are also becoming acceptable. Pakistan has vast variety of cultures and traditions, which varies town to town. Here I am trying to elucidate some common traditions being practice in wedding ceremonies in Pakistan.
Everybody is familiar with term engagement, as it’s the exchange of rings between would be husband and wife. This is stated as Mangni in Pakistan. This ceremony has also some unique traditions to be followed here in Pakistan. It is a small ceremony. The families of both, would be bride and groom, get together at same place, mother or sister of would be bride, places the ring on would be groom’s finger and mother or sister of would be groom, places ring on would be bride’s finger. Then, they are bestowed with gifts and blessing. After that wedding date is decided.
This a tradition in which bride goes into the state of solitude. She is not allowed to see his would be husband until the wedding. Same is for groom. Some, rituals and traditions of prettifications of bride get started. The mother, sisters and cousins of groom bring Ubtan, which is a paste of turmeric powder, sandalwood powder and aromatic oil, for bride in a decorated tray. They rub it on the face and hands of bride. Similarly, bride’s mother, sisters and cousins bring Ubtan for groom and rub it to his face and hands. While performing this ritual, some traditional songs are sung. This continues for eight to fifteen days till wedding.
Mehndi or Rasm-e-Hina
This tradition is stated as both, Mehndi or Rasm-e-Hina. It takes place just a day before wedding. Bride wears yellow dress and floral ornaments. Mother, sisters and cousins of groom bring mehndi(hina) for bride. It is applied in beautiful floral way on her hands, sometimes, groom name is also written in her hand by Mehndi. In some parts of Pakistan, mehndi tradition is carried out for groom also. But mehndi is not applied on his hands. Dinner is served after that.
Barat is the tradition of groom, taking his way to bride’s home, to bring her to his home and life. Traditionally, groom used to sit on a decorated horse, but now this tradition has been replaced by a decorated car. The whole family, relatives and friends of groom accompany groom in this beautiful journey of his life. Bride’s family welcome barat by throwing flowers on them, usually rose petals are used.
Nikkah is the legal bounding between the bride and groom. Traditionally this ceremony of wedding takes place after the arrival of barat, but now a day’s nikkah is held before barat. Islamic Imam, called as moulana saab, recites some verses from Qura’n and performs the Ijab-o-Qabool, which is proposal and acceptance. Moulana saab and witnesses goes to bride, who sits in a separate room along with her female family members and friends, read nikkah namaa(a legal document) to her, she accepts nikkah by saying “qabool hai” and signs the nikkah namaa. Same process is performed with groom. Fathers of bride and groom act as witnesses (walis). Alongwith bride and groom, witnesses and moulana saab also sign the nikkah namaa. An amount of meher is written on nikkah namaa by mutuall agreement of both the families; this amount is due on groom to pay his bride. This is an Islamic compulsion on groom and considered to be a financial security for bride. After nikkah, dinner is served to theguests by bride’s family.
After nikkah and dinner, groom and his family leave with bride. This tradition is called Rukhsati. Usually, this is the most emotional moment as bride says goodbye to her parents, brothers and sisters. At the time of departure, eyes of bride and her family becomes wet with emotions, traditional emotional songs are played.
This is last and compulsory ceremony of Pakistani (Islamic) wedding. Groom and his family throw a dinner party to all relatives and friends as an announcement of his wedding. This is a grand reception. Usually, walima is performed the next day of rukhsati but sometimes it is held after few days. After walima bride and groom leave for honeymoon.