Kashmiri pandit wedding rituals and traditions are no doubt very simple and easy to perform, yet the wedding celebrations go on for many days due to the increased number of rituals. Starting from the pre-wedding rituals, to the main wedding and on to the post-wedding rituals, the Kashmiri marriages are varied and many.
This is the engagement ceremony in Kashmiri pandit weddings. The members of both the families are required to meet in a temple and the elder members then exchange good wishes and flowers to welcome each other into their families.
In the livun ritual, both the bride and the groom’s own houses are cleaned properly and later the doors of both the houses get decorated with beautiful and fresh flowers, known as the krool khanun ritual.
Maenziraat is the ceremonial bath, where the bride’s mama (maternal uncle) and mami (maternal aunt) washes the feet of the bride. This is one embellished bathing ritual in all the Kashmiri pandit weddings. After the bath, the hands and feet of the bride are adorned with maenz or henna paste in elaborate and intricate designs. In this, other family members can also take part and apply mehendi on the hands and feet of the bride. This is followed by a delicious meal prepared by the Waza.
In this ritual, musical and dance celebrations start at both the houses and a day before the wedding, mehendi is applied to the bride’s hands as well as feet.
In this, the family of the bride sends a total of 51 thaalis, all full of dry fruits, sweets, fruits etc. and two or three days before the marriage, the groom’s family sends ornaments and clothes for the bride.
This is one ritual where the groom’s family sends beautiful jewellery to the bride’s place. The jewellery which they send is made of flowers, which the bride wears on the morning of the wedding. The gift is also inclusive of cosmetics, a make-up box, sindoor, mirror and a betel leaf covered in gold or silver foil. This ritual in Kashmiri pandit wedding is known as snazaroo.
This ritual is like the haldi ritual. The only difference being that on the day of the wedding a mixture of besan, curd and saffron is applied on to both the bride and the groom instead of haldi. In addition to this, flowers are showered during the ritualistic bathing. After the bath, the bride and the groom change their clothes and wear new ones. Now, the bride’s parents shower her with jewellery, clothes, utensils and other household items.
In the first ritual, the family of the groom sends their bride-to-be her make-up box, sindoor and a mirror and in the following ritual, the couple prays to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati for their blessings.
On the day of the wedding, just like any other marriage, both the families greet each other. It’s a grand welcome for the groom’s family. The fathers of the bride and the groom, for a lifelong friendship, exchange nutmeg. Exchanging of nutmeg, symbolises acceptance of this relationship. In addition to this, to let groom step into the house or the wedding venue, conches are blown.
Just like in the Hindu weddings, there are seven pheras in the Kashmiri pandit weddings. The pheras in Kashmiri pandit weddings are known as lagan, which is done as per the normal Vedic rituals. Before ushering in the groom, the priest does some puja at the mandap, which is followed by the dwar puja. Then, the bride is carried to the mandap by her maternal uncle. Both the bride and the groom’s heads are covered, and they are given a large mirror.
The couple then sees each other for the first time in that mirror. Then, kanya daan takes place, where the bride’s father places her hand over the groom’s hands. After this, for the entire wedding ceremony, the groom is supposed to hold her hand tight. A cloth named, athwas, cover their hands. A golden thread named, mananmal, is tied to their foreheads. And then, the saptapadi (seven pheras) takes place.
When these rituals are done, the bride and the groom are asked to sit comfortably. Then a red cloth is placed over their heads. The entire friend’s group and families gather around the couple and offer them flower (posh), while the Vedic mantras are being recited by the priest. On the face of it, the mantras are directed towards the bride and then they are directed towards the groom. Finally, the Vedic mantras are directed towards both of them as a couple. In Kashmiri pandit wedding traditions, the bride and the groom are representatives of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati.
Here, the bride says her goodbye to all her family members and proceeds to her new home for the beginning of a new life. Before the bride leaves, the newly-weds are made to stand on the Vyoog, which is a wooden pedestal. The eldest female member of the bride’s family is then supposed to offer them nabad or rice thrice. Then, the bride throws a handful of rice over her shoulder (just like the way it happens in Hindu weddings).
When the bride and the groom arrive at the groom’s house, they are fed nabad and the exchange of the threads on their heads take place. This ritual is followed by the freeing of two pigeons in the honour of the couple.
In the satraat ritual, the newly married couple and a few children go and visit the bride’s house and the parents of the bride give the couple gifts. They visit the bride’s family one more time and receive gifts again. This is called the phirlath ritual.
After the wedding, on a Tuesday or a Saturday, the bride’s parents send a huge cake decorated with nuts to their daughter’s new house. The bride goes back with the person who gets the cake and then later, someone from her in-law’s house comes to get her back home.
Ghar Atchum is a formal reception kind of ceremony in the honour of the wedding, which is hosted by the bride’s side of the family. During all the wedding rituals, the meals are strictly vegetarian and during the reception ceremony, non-vegetarian dishes are served to the guests.
With all these beautiful rituals, we are sure you agree that Kashmiri pandit weddings and their rituals are as beautiful and serene as the valleys of the city. In case we may have missed on any ritual, do let us know in the comments below.