A beautiful, musical, colorful and lively function of Mehndi is one of the most important Pre-wedding ceremony, having deep belief in Indian wedding culture. It is said the darkness of the mehndi color on bride’s hands represents deep love between the would-be-couple. The mehndi’s color also shows the love and understanding between the bride and her mother-in-law. The longer the mehndi retains its color, the more auspicious it is for the newly weds.
Mehndi is also deemed to be a symbolic representation of fertility. Mehndi represents the bond of matrimony and is therefore, considered a Shagun (sign of good luck).
Mehndi is also known for its medicinal properties. Its herb called ‘Heena’ is also very beneficial for the growth of nails. Its has a cooling effect that aids in soothing stress, headache and fever. Mehndi is applied not just to the bride but also the groom to relieve wedding stress. It also protects them from any viral diseases before the wedding. The bride and other females in the family get beautiful mehndi designs tattooed on their hands and feet.
Bride is not allowed to move out of her house after this ceremony till the wedding day. It is one of the Shringaar for ladies out of 16 shringaars in Indian culture.
It is an occasion for both the parties to have some fun, mixed with dance and songs. Elderly ladies of the family sing local traditional songs related to the occasion.
In the intricate designs of the bride’s mehndi, the groom’s name is hidden. During the post wedding ceremonies, the groom has to find his name in the bride’s hand. This is a fun and ice-breaking game for the couple.
The Hindu tradition of ‘Vagdanam’ dates back to Vedic ages and it involves the groom’s family giving their words to the bride’s family that they will accept their daughter and will be responsible for future well being. It is a sort of an exchange of pledges between families and a chance of getting to know each other’s customs & rituals. In historic times, this ritual involved elaborate announcements in case of royalties.
The engagement ceremony being an important pre-wedding ritual is uniform across most of the religion and ethnicities across India, where the would-be-bride and the bridegroom-to-be come face to face and exchange rings with sacred chants of mantras performed by the priest.
The ceremony marks the formal announcement of the betrothal & determination of the official date for the wedding.
In some cultures the engagement precedes the actual wedding by as much as a year, whereas in others it is one of the starting ceremonies of four day celebration of the wedding.
The most talked about Pre-Wedding event “The Sangeet”, is a celebration of coming together of two families in the union of their children.
The ceremony offers respite from all the hectic seriousness of the wedding preparations.
Previously, women of the family used to get together several days before the wedding day with dholak, spoons and harmonium. Surround the bride and sing traditional wedding songs. Subjects of the songs range from about daily life of women to teasing the bride about her upcoming wedding and her groom.
Ladies of the family will prepare the bride for her wifely duties through simple songs, at the same time conveying to her their love.
In changing time and busy life now days, this ceremony is mostly celebrated for one day and sometime only an evening.
Earlier sangeet function was mainly for women singing songs & dancing and was just brides family affair, but now it is celebrated by both the bride’s and the groom’s family together at a common venue. With a grand setup, sometimes it is also a cocktail party with pre-prepared dance performances.
The function of sangeet presents an exciting and fun filled concept for the two families about to be joined in matrimony to let loose and get to know each other in a less formal setting, plus it adds a lot of fun and colors to any marriage ceremony across the culture.