A Pakistani Wedding
They say marriages are made in heaven. They may be right. But before the heaven is experienced by the people who are in it together, it has to go through a couple of rituals which are entirely made on Earth. Like everywhere else, weddings are highly anticipated and celebrated in Pakistan as well. Although the whole wedding business has evolved, many things are still done traditionally.
The main thing about a Muslim wedding that makes the bond between two people is called Nikah. It is like a contract that binds two people together. After the Nikah is finalized the bride and groom are pronounced Husband and Wife. The Nikah is usually held in a mosque in a very simple way.
But till the Nikah is finalized there are a few pre-marriage ceremonies. The Mayoon takes place at least a week before the wedding. This ritual is a traditional one and is anticipated on the bride’s part. The girl is not allowed to go shopping or step outside the house or even work inside the house when she “sits for mayoon” so she can get the maximum amount of rest and take care of herself. The groom is not allowed to see the bride to be during this time because it is a function of privacy.
Older ladies apply Henna, oil and Ubtan (which is a yellow facial mask) to the brides face and hair. The bride is dressed in a yellow dress which is a strict tradition. The bride is also not allowed to change her mayoon dress till Mehndi. It is the traditional way of mayoon but now mayoon and mehndi functions are merged into one event.
A day before the Mehndi, a function known as Dholki takes place. In this function friends and cousins practice dances and sit together and sing and play special tunes on the Dholak, which is a small drum.
Mehndi is a prominent and outstanding function in any eastren wedding. This function is more of a traditional one than a religion based. Mehndi is the most bright, colourful and happy function in the entire wedding. In the old days the Bride’s family and the Groom’s family performed this function separately but with the change in times this function is now celebrated together with full furvour.
The day of the Baraat is a very emotional and special one for the family of the bride and for the bride herself. This function is hosted by the Bride’s side. Red is the color of this occasion because it is the color of love. The dress of the bride is red and decorated wih heavy stones and embroidery. Although now the trend has variated a bit. Pinks, purples are also preferred now.
Most families perform the Nikah before this function, but even today many families prefer to perform the Nikah on this very day. The Bride’s family lines upp and sprinkles flowers on the arrival of the Groom and his family which is collectively termed as Baraat.
After the groom is seated on the stage amidst decorations done with roses, comes the bride. After both are seated they get their pictures taken and congratulated. They are given presents or money as a blessing on this auspiscious day.
Young cousins and friends from the Bride’s side gather and indulge in a custom of giving milk to the groom called Dhood Pilai and get money from the groom. They usually mix salt or spices in the milk just for the sake of fun. Another such custom is the hiding of the groom’s shoe called Joota Chupai. Both of these are for the sake of fun.
Unlike the westeren weddings which take place mostly in the afternoon, Pakistani weddings are accustomed to take place in the evenings. After serving dinner, which comprises of mostly traditional dishes, the family of the bride gives her away. This is called Rukhsati or Vidai. The bride is finally given away and becomes a part of the groom’s family. This departure is an emotional one.
The final day is the Walima, which has more religious value. This is basically the reception which is hosted by the groom’s side. The main purpose of this event is to give dinner to the guests as now the bride is the part of another family. This is a somber and happy event.
And thus concludes the Pakistani Wedding and the bride and groom live together. A perfect blend of colors and traditions, it is full of festivity and happiness like weddings anywhere around the world. But since times have changed many things about our weddings have changed as well.
Written by Amna Javed