Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pakistani wedding celebrations now-a-days!

Even though the Islamic marriage practice is simple, many Muslims plan colorful, multiday celebrations to mark a wedding. The traditional marriage ceremony itself, called a “Nikah” in Arabic, is simple and short activity. It generally follows the process as:
At the wedding, which can take place pretty much anywhere, the bride and groom are separated in different rooms. An officiant, who can be any man familiar with Islamic law, heads to each room separately. There he asks the spouses-to-be if they consent to the marriage and if they are marrying of their own free will. A representative called a “Wali” answers the officiant's questions on the bride's behalf. The couple signs the marriage contract or license, with witnesses observing. The officiant brings the pair together and pronounces them husband and wife.
The wedding traditions for the Muslims will also include an engagement ceremony, called the “Mangni”. In this ceremony, the groom's family provides a dress for the bride, and the Muslim couple exchange rings. The customs of the Muslim culture stresses upon various restrictions when it comes to marriage. The Muslim families supposed to invite all the people they know for the wedding. They have to put extra effort to make this marriage a memorable among family and friends. They have to spend money and bring people from faraway places. They sometimes crossed their limits and they borrow money to conduct a wedding in this showoff manner.
It is important to note that some of the customs followed in Pakistani weddings have no foundation in Islam. Nevertheless, the Pakistani culture has adopted those ceremonies and traditions from the Hindu culture. Such as “Dholki” which is totally based on singing and dancing, Mayun which is the bride entering into the state of isolation seven days before the wedding. She’s made free of all the household tasks and responsibilities around the house. Ubtan that is actually a paste made from turmeric, sandalwood powder, herbs and aromatic oils, which groom's mother brings for bride. She blesses bride and applies “Ubtan’ to the bride's hands and face. Groom's sister also does the same, and a thick string called a “Gana” is tied to the bride’s arm. “Ubtan” is applied to the bride's skin each day leading up to the wedding. Similar ceremony is held for the groom, where bride's mother, sisters, cousins and friends bring “Ubtan” for groom and rub it on his skin. Rasm-e-Mehndi (Henna Party) takes place a day before the wedding. It’s a ceremony mainly of women. They apply Mehndi to the bride's hands and feet, sing, dance, and bless the bride. After the ceremony dinner is organized for the guests. Traditionally, the bride is not allowed to take part in the celebrations and keeps her face hidden in veil. Rasm-e-Mehndi is organized for grooms also. Baraat is procession of family, relatives, and friends of groom that go with the groom to bride’s home for official wedding ceremony. Groom makes his way to the bride's home on a richly decorated car and “Baraat” follows in different vehicles. Groom is given warm welcome by the bride’s family with rose petals. Then comes the “Nikah” time after that “Rukhsati” takes place in which the bride before her departure to the groom's house says goodbye to her parents, close friends and family. The Quran is held over her head as a blessing. It’s a pretty touching moment. Although this practice is un-Islamic but a lot of Pakistani families have come to adopt it.
 Walima is ceremony to announce the wedding to community and friends. It’s a grand reception hosted by the groom's parents. Relatives, friends and community people are invited to the reception. A lot of Western traditions have become a part of Islamic marriages, and they should not make this part of their traditions. One such tradition is displaying the bride on stage. The bride is not meant to be for public display, and she is supposed to be covered well too. She cannot display any parts of her body to the guests who are present at the Muslim marriage. The Muslim bride's family too, must not indulge in spending too much for the feast that they will want to hold after the marriage. It is only the duty of the Muslim bridegroom's family to have a feast or Walima, and invite all friends and family members for the feast.

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