Indian Marriages: Blend of Traditional and Western Culture
by Saloni Maheshwari
The celestial knot of a wedding is the most sacred essence of Indian society. Every Indian wedding is celebrated in the most splendid fashion which makes the term “Big Fat Indian Wedding” all the more appropriate. All the fairy tale fantasies of the couples are materialized and this regal occasion is celebrated no less than a festival.
The most enticing aspect of an Indian wedding is its claim to be global yet with Indian delicacy as it brings together the Western and Indian culture completing the wedding experience.
The wedding journey starts with the planning of the most looked-for event of the wedding “Sangeet”, hiring of choreographers, deciding the wedding theme and return gifts/goodies then comes the wedding invitations, where some people are “Environment-friendly” that they are extremely not in the favor of printing the invitations while there are people who go for luxurious ones!
The next step is to decide about the destination. The Destination weddings have become really popular these days. Many families hustle to get the best heritage property as venue plays a very important role in Indian weddings. The most popular cities for destination weddings in India are Udaipur, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Pushkar.
The Indian wedding events include traditional ceremonies and rituals like Haldi, Mehndi, Mayra, Sagai as well as few westernized events such as cocktail parties, bachelor/bachelorette parties and grand reception with three-tiered cake.
The Haldi and Mehndi ceremony is actually supposed to involve only close family members but these days we see these two ceremonies as a music fest!
The Indo-western fusion is best illustrated in the array of lavish food ranging from International cuisines to golgappas and kulfi. The assortment includes all the International and Indian cuisines like Mexican, Chinese, Lebanese, Italian, Arabian, North Indian, South Indian, Punjabi dishes reaching the palate of all the guests.
The other important part of the wedding is the bridal apparels. We have seen red as the basic color for the Indian weddings but nowadays, brides are often seen experimenting with different colors. As mindsets of the people have changed, the modern brides and grooms have started looking for different stylish wedding outfits.
Many non-traditional colors such as royal blue, mint-green, magenta are becoming increasingly popular among the fashion designers. The traditional attire for the weddings was supposed to be either Lehenga or Saree but today’s brides prefer the western styled gowns basically embroidered with ethnic designs. Even the saree these days comes in many forms, like pre-stitched, pre-draped and the most common one lehenga cum saree. With all these bridal styles, it has become quite easy for the brides to give a western touch to their traditional clothing.
Don’t you think Indian fashion has undergone a vast change with these latest trends?
Yes, now talking about the actual system in the Indian wedding, the practice of Dowry. The practice of giving dowry has also changed to an extent. I have seen in the Indian weddings that the groom’s family is given a car, cash, and other expensive gifts, and there is firmness especially by the father of the bride to treat these as gifts and no dowry. Ultimately, dowry is accepted as a muted presence, hidden in the pretentious display of wealth and generosity of gift-giving.
The Indian weddings cannot be seen simply as a series of glitzy events but it’s a phenomenon for a lot of effort and money that is put into creating a whole experience.
Due to the familiarity between these two cultures of the world, friends, and family involved in the wedding are not just acquiescent but enthusiastic about organizing their clothes, jewelry and orchestrate into a more coordinated riot of color.
The Indian wedding, therefore, is a grandiose celebration involving an unabashed display of money and taste. However, we need to remember that wedding is not a competition or an opportunity to project our overstated status. Let’s just not diminish its beauty and meaning!
But yes, an Indian Wedding is a Big Fat Wedding in the true sense! ***