Birth and marriage are the two greatest events in the life a person. Their ‘oneness’ makes them unique. One is born once, and generally marries once in life. They are celebrated with great solemnity and pomp and show.
Wedding is a part of people’s culture. As we see, in western society the young persons, boys and girls woo or court. one another before marriage. Love marriage is common practice with them. On the other hand, in oriental societies like that of Pakistan and Bharat, marriages are arranged by the parents and the guardians, no doubt with the approval of the girls according to the Islamic Sunnah among the Muslims.
The wedding ceremony is generally preceded by betrothal or engagement. It the beginning of the marriage contract. The nuptials. or the wedding takes place after some gap of time. During the interval, the parents of the boy and the girl make the necessary preparations for the great function and send invitations to the relatives and friends.
A few days before the marriage, the girl generally sits in Manyou’. The bride would-be is treated like an important person. She generally puts on yellow clothing. Her body is rubbed with a fragrant paste called Chiksa. In conventional society, both the boy and the girl remain within house till the day of the marriage. Special dishes are brought and served by sister cousins of the two.
The actual event begins with Mehdi. The ceremony is full of rejoicing and feasting. First bride’s relatives carry Mehdi (Hina) to the groom’s house. Then the groom’s party pays the return visit. The parties decorate and illuminate their houses. The ladies sing marriage-songs and dance round the queen and king of the marriage. Relatives and friends from far off places are special guests who arrive a few days earlier.
Nowadays most of the marriages are held at marriage halls and gardens. Ladies generally sing in chorus in spare time during days and nights. The Barat or wedding – march is generally accompanied with fireworks and musical bands. In some cases people also shower rupees and notes on the bridegrooms. The bridegroom rides on a decorated Auto horse; but in the interior, he rides a horse. A flower veil or ‘Sehra’ is tied our the groom’s face who behaves in a shy way.
The Barat is received by bride’s people at the marriage hall. Both the guests and the hosts turn up in fine clothes. One can not fail to praise the sartorial sense of the fair sex who turn up in most colorful and scented garments. When all are seated, the ‘Nikah’ ceremony takes place. The Qazi fills in the forms of the bride’s, Wakeel (guardian as per Islamic rules) and the witnesses from both the sides. They have to sign on four marriage forms.
The appointed Wakeel seeks approval of the girl before two witnesses. They report to the Qazi who recites verses from the holy Quran. Then the groom is publicly asked to accept the bride as his wife along with with the Mehr (money payable to the bride according to Islamic law). After prayers and blessings, the two are united in the life long journey called marriage. The Nikah ceremony is followed with congratulations by friends and relatives and embracing of relatives of the two sides, Cameras click and films are made.
The Nikah is followed with feast and sumptuous dinner. After the dinner the bridegroom becomes a party to the ladies gathering. The sister-in-laws play jokes on the boy. One of the important feature of Pakistani wededing is the Dowery or the Marriage portion given by the girl’s parents to the bride. The bride and the groom or the couple is the merriest of the lot.