Marriages in Sunni Culture

Muslims are an important part of the Indian tradition; they are the ones who fill the colours of joy and happiness in the Indian culture with their rich customs and traditional values. Though are supposed to be growing modern, but still some sects of the Muslim religion are there, who follow the orthodox traditions of the Muslim culture, one of which is Sunni’s. Sunni’s are defined as the orthodox Muslims, who took birth before the Shia’s.

The marriage rituals in the Sunni’s start days before the actual nikaah, the ceremonies are very traditional and full of rituals. The dresses of the Sunni bride and groom are very beautiful and define their cultural values and believe. Starting from the formal engagement of the couple to their marriage, following are some of the rituals celebrated in a Sunni marriage:

Nizbat: It is the formal announcement for the engagement of the couple. The groom’s family fully loaded with gifts and sweets visits the bride’s house, where close relatives and friends are invited to attend the ceremony, the alliance of the couple is then announced to the society. The groom is not present in this ceremony. The groom’s family is served with snacks and sweets, after which the date for the marriage is decided.

Mangni: It is the engagement of the bride and the groom, in which the groom along with his family and friends goes to the house of the bride and the bride is gifted with clothes, jewellery and sweets by her future mother- in- law and formal meeting of the bride with the groom is made in front of the society.

Milaad Sharif: Its is also called thanksgiving ceremony, where the ladies of both the houses come together as a part of religious gathering and spirituals books and prayers are read in taranum. This ceremony is done in Sunni’s to thank god for granting the auspicious occasion of wedding.

Mayun and Uptan: the ritual is performed 8- 15 days before the actual wedding ceremony. In this the would- be Sunni bride is made to go under mayun, i.e. in a seclusion state in which her few actions are restricted till the day of marriage, the bride’s mother do some ritual to protect her from the evil’s eye, after which she applies her with uptan, a mixture of turmeric powder, sandalwood power and aromatic oils. This is to beautify the girl’s looks and to add glow on her face for her D- day of life. A yellow cloth is also spread across her room, the area under which has to be considered as the bride’s home until marriage.

The uptan is applied almost every day till the marriage to the bride by one of the middle aged women of the family. The same ceremony is also witnessed at the groom’s house, where he is applied with uptan, by his mother and sisters.

Mehandi: a day before the marriage, the Sunni bride is applied with heena paste on her palms by seven married women of the family. The mehandi is sent by the groom’s mother along with fruits and sweets. Same ceremony is also observed in the groom’s house.

Sehrabandi: It is a ceremony where the groom is tied with a string of golden threads or flowers on his turban, after which he leaves for the bride’s house for the wedding ceremony or nikaah, accompanied by a number of his men friends and relatives called baratis. A band of musicians lead the baraat, playing all the popular songs of the season with the family members dancing with the tune.

Nikaah: The matrimony ceremony in Muslims is called Nikaah, and a mutual agreement is signed called the nikahnama. After the baraat reaches the wedding venue, the bride’s family welcomes the guess with great respect. A qazi, or the vakil, is made to read the nikahnama loudly to both the bride and the groom, which after their acceptation by saying Qubool hai, is signed by them. Sunnat, the announcement of the marriage is done immediately after the acceptation, post which the dry fruits or sweets are distributed.

Aarsi Mussahaf: After the Nikaah ceremony, the mother and sisters of the groom sees the bride as a part of muh- dikhayi and gifts her cloth and jewellery, which are weared by the bride and she comes out with the attire, marking the sanctity of a newly wed- bride, with her face fully covered with the dupatta. Now the newly wed sunni couple is made to sit together and the groom wears an ‘aarsi’ on his thumb, which he positions in a way, that he can see his wife’s face in it. Gifts and sweets are presented to the groom by the bride’s family, following which a huge meal is served to the guests.

After the wedding ceremony and the feast the bride is made to leave her maternal house as a part of the vidai ceremony, which is the most emotional moment for the bride as she leaves her childhood house with all the precious memories and heads towards her husband’s house in a new life with a new beginning.

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