Wedding is a universal phenomenon. It is bound to follow so many rules, regulations, and rituals. Pakistan is a land of thousands of faces, a blend of many languages, religions, traditions, and especially a country that is overflowing with cultural richness. In my country, prior to a wedding celebration, an important ceremony is held in which a couple is engaged in presence of senior members of both families. Wedding rings are exchanged between expected couples nowadays. This function proves that they are betrothed and their wedding will take place at a date fixed by both the families.
Traditional Pakistani wedding celebration lasts four days. On the first day, the bride and groom’s families dressed in yellow clothes. They celebrate upcoming nuptials, separately at their homes. The yellow color symbolizes the day of Mayun (an Asian custom of marriage). From this day the bride is kept hidden from the eyes of the groom till the day of marriage. After some formalities, friends, and family bring the bride or groom for the ceremony. With dholak and duff all sit in a circle and sing throughout the evening.
The second day is reserved for a big celebration called Mehndi (an Asian custom of marriage). This colorful event is full of traditional dance and ancient songs. On this day, both the families exchange wedding dresses of bride and groom. The same pattern of Mehndi ceremony takes place in the bride’s house to put Mehndi on her hands. Likewise, in the groom’s house, they put Mehndi on the groom’s hands. Sometimes the families agree to hold a single function in one place and split the cost of the function.
On the third day, the actual wedding ceremony takes place. The celebration is arranged by the bride’s family Baraat (Groom along with his relatives) comes to the bride’s house. The groom wears distinctive clothes and a traditional turban on his head. Whereas the bride’s gown is very elaborate as are her veil and jewelry. Nikah (Wedding ceremony) is held in the presence of a religious scholar. Now the couple is declared husband and wife. Sweets are distributed among all the participants in the ceremony. Then an extraordinary meal is served by the bride’s family. Rukhsutti (Bride goes to the groom’s house) is the last event of this wedding day.
Some customs are performed at the groom’s house as the bride joins her husband’s family on the fourth day. The couple hosts their first lunch as husband and wife. The groom’s family invites all the guests to their home for the feast.
The newly married couple welcomes the guests and then mingles with them through lunch.
In short, the possibilities for marriage are endless. Whatever the preference is, a wedding in Pakistan is bound to be unforgettable as a sign of an important family celebration.