Meenakshi & Rajesh

Traditional Himachali Wedding

Our's is going to be a traditional Himachali Wedding. Normally the groom rides a horse to brides house, but in Himachal the groom goes on a palanquin.

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Marriage is an important event in Himachal Pradesh like any other Indian marriage. The parents as well as closer elder relatives start looking around for suitable matches as soon as a girl or boy is mature enough. At times, to start the matrimony of their son or daughter, parents arrange for a middleman, who is also known a match-maker or Roovary, Dhamu or Mazomi. The match-maker does all the research work on behalf of both the parties, which is of concern to both the parties like social and financial standing. After that, the final decision is taken on the basis of the horoscopes. These people are very superstitious when it comes to matrimony and matches in the same Gotra are not considered very auspicious. When the matches get finalized, the ritual gift called Tika is sent. The groom and his family are invited for tea by the bride''s family as a formal first meeting. On this occasion, families of both the bride and groom distribute sweets and sing ritual songs. In the tribal families, both the parties exchange "Soor" (rice wine) and close relatives and friends are invited to participate in the ceremony. They also distribute sweets among themselves.

After this ceremony, the date for the wedding is decided in consultation with the priest. Some people also take the permission of the deities to commence proceedings of the marriage.

During the wedding ceremony, the Suhagi jewellery (which denotes a girl''s marital status) is presented by the Mama (girl's mother brother) and the rest is presented to her by the parents of the bride and the groom.

In some areas, the bride''s brother presents the groom with a ''dhoti'' and a ring and accompanies him to the place where the marriage ceremony is to take place. In areas like Kinnaur, the groom is presented with a white turban by bride''s father and he ties a sword or a dagger on his waist band to indicate the beginning ceremonies. During this time, the bride''s family presents wine cups to the match-maker and the groom. When the marriage party comes back to home, the bride it is greeted by the fellow villagers holding torches. At this time, goats are sacrificed and special rituals are performed to ward off evil spirits and ghosts.

Different people follow different kinds of customs in Himachal Pradesh. Usually in all areas, the bride and the groom are carried in palanquins. The girl seeks blessings of her father and touches his feet at the time of her departure.