10 Wedding Rituals in India That Need to Be Discarded

A wedding is always a cause for excitement, joy and celebration. Of course, Game of Thrones and Mirzapur fans might disagree. In our normal lives, you need a wedding sometimes to spice things up. However, what about the rituals that go into a wedding? Modern weddings mix and match as per their preference. You might even have a cocktail party after a traditional ceremony in a single day. The types of rituals that are conducted during an Indian wedding are different. Based on where the wedding is happening, you’ll see different rituals all throughout India.

Most Indian wedding rituals today are benign, and seek to appease the deity the family believes in. We have also had shocking rituals like Sati in India which were later outlawed. Child marriage, too, cannot be legally undertaken in India. However, did you know that there are still some weird, primitive rituals that are performed in today’s day and age?

Wedswing brings you a list of weird rituals in India that need to be discarded for good. While some rituals just have a weird reason, some of them are just sexist, oppressing both men and women So think of these as rituals to avoid at all costs!

Entry Barred for the Mother

This custom is mostly undertaken in Bengali weddings, where mothers from both, the bride and the groom’s side may not be allowed to see the wedding. The bride’s mother may just cast a bad gaze on the wedding, so she is removed. The groom’s mother may not come due to a myth involving Durga and Kartikeya (the son of Shiva). Durga was gouging on food before Kartikeya was leaving for his wedding, and when asked why, she said: “The daughter may not let me eat too much, so I’m eating all I can now”. This led Kartikeya to cast aside the marriage entirely, so the groom’s mother may just be told to keep to herself during the wedding. Of course, this is sad for both families involved – you’re no god, so might as well avoid it.

Kanyadaan

The ‘giving away’ of the bride is another problematic ritual. Earlier, when young brides (think children) were given away, the logic was that the bride is the ultimate offering to a husband. The husband here is supposed to be Vishnu himself during the sacred ritual. This obviously objectifies women, treating them as property and not as a human being. Add to that, the father is supposed to always be gifting his ‘virgin’ daughter, which patronizes the bride to another level. When times change, rituals should also change to reflect them – and this ritual is just too old fashioned.

The Feet-Wash

The bride’s family (including the mother, or the father-in-law), or the bride herself, may indulge in washing the groom’s feet because of tradition. Again, the husband is supposed to be Shiva, and the bride his faithful Parvati. This is a no-brainer in terms of how sexist it is. Not only that, it’s quite insulting for the bride’s family. Do we ever see the groom extending the same services to the wife and her family? Of course not. Discarding this should be an obvious choice.

Haldi

A lot of people think of Haldi and don’t really see the implications. Or they just go “whatever” and do it anyway. Traditionally, the haldi has to have touched the groom’s body – which then is used by the bride to bathe. Some Bengali weddings even have the bride sit below the groom’s hands as the haldi trickles down on her. We don’t know about tradition, but there’s a pretty big issue of hygiene involved. Again, no husband is so pure that we should use the water he’s washed in – so kindly do away with that.

The Kashi Yatra

This one is funny, but also has some weird undertones. In this custom, the groom will suddenly announce that he does not want to go through the marriage. He’d rather go to Kashi on a pilgrimage, to pursue higher learning and other interests. Now, all in ritual mode, the father-in-law’s task will be to beg, and plead him to stay so that the wedding goes through! By the way, this is supposed to happen bang in the middle of the wedding. We wonder, why doesn’t the wife get similar privileges? Also, isn’t it humiliating for the in-laws? Doesn’t seem like a ritual we’d want to keep around.

Marrying a peepul tree (Or a dog, take your pick!)

In all these cases of classic sexism, this one takes the cake. If a bride is ‘inauspicious’ because of her star chart, something needs to be done to remove her bad luck from infecting the husband. So well, might was well marry her off to a peepul tree, right? Here, the tree functions as her first husband and absorbs all her bad vibes. In some cases, it’s a poor dog. What’s intriguing is that the husband never seems to suffer from any bad luck that needs this – he can just get by with a quick prayer ceremony!

The Balancing Act

Bihar seems to take things to another plane altogether. After the wedding, when the bride enters her husband’s house, the mother-in-law puts a pot on her head. She then continues to do chores with this pot – and more pots are added with time. This continues for a set duration, but she has to balance them all! While this seems like a fun game, it’s quite a cruel thing to do. Especially considering that when the pots break, she is deemed unworthy by the husband’s family too.

Mangalsutra Wearing

While we don’t always see this in the urban Indian context, the Indian bride gets no relief when it comes to ‘showing’ that she is married. If she doesn’t wear a mangalsutra, especially, then she is characterized to be an unmarried, ‘eligible’ woman. Oh, and if they find out that she’s married and not wearing it? Then she becomes a ‘loose’ woman who wants to entice men. Not only that, there’s an entire set of things a woman should wear – bangles, thaali, sindoor, toe rings – where does it end? Treating the bride as property seems to echo for most of these customs, and the husband? He can be as he pleases, of course!

Cooking for the Men

In a typical Rabha wedding tradition (from Assam), the bride has to do a lot of work from the moment she enters the house. The first task, in fact, is to cook a meal for all the men in the house – alone. This food cannot be tasted by her, but can only be served. To add to that, the food for the women and children in the family is made either by the help, or by her again! Seems to be an unfair amount of work for her, considering that a warm welcome should be the only thing she gets in her new home.

Bidaai

Again, this is another custom that has taken a comfy spot in the modern Indian wedding – without the meaning behind it being understood. The bride is ‘given’ to the husband because she now becomes paraya dhan (literally, the wealth of another!). In some traditions, she is also supposed to thank her parents for bringing her up as she leaves the house, only to become the property of her lawful husband. This really undermines the value of another human being – particularly the woman, who is just made to feel like she’s been passed around from one place to another.

While we understand that rituals are sacred, and shouldn’t be mocked, every ritual had it’s own time where it was socially enforced. Today, the walls of sexism, racism and other discrimination need to be destroyed because we have human rights, which don’t discriminate. So whenever we decide to have Indian wedding rituals at a wedding, let’s all pledge to think about what is harmless, and what needs to be discarded.

 

 

About the Author

Monica

Monica is a moniker for our relationship expert. She's been working as a relationship counselor for over 10 years, and over time, has sharpened her personality. Unlike typical counselors, Monica is not afraid to use a harsher method to resolve certain issues that demand it. Even if she's a virtual entity now, she can still see into your soul.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us

Address

Dibon building, Plot No. 2,
Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, 160062

Phone Number

+91 6283 698 793

Email ID

contact@wedswing.com


FOLLOW US