10 Most Strange but Funny Marriage Rituals in India - India Parenting Tips - To deal with common parenting issues

Friday, October 5, 2018

10 Most Strange but Funny Marriage Rituals in India

Marriage rituals and traditions vary across cultures, religions, countries, and social classes. Some rituals seem fun while others seem absolutely impossible to accept. For example, a crying ritual that exists amongst Tujia people in China or the ritual of blackening of the bride in very old Scottish traditions.

However, in most of the weddings, we find the bride and the groom exchanging marriage vows and declaring and accepting themselves socially in public as husbands and wives. Interestingly the wedding traditions often seem little bizarre or sometimes even scary that seems to be unbelievable.

India is a country where people from various social, religious, cultural, ethnic, linguistic groups live together in harmony and peace. We learn so many things from each other’s cultures and traditions that make us more enrich and more open. Here is a list of some strange wedding rituals that still exists in India.
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10 Most Strange but Funny Marriage Rituals in India

#1. Balance Fitness test of the Bride.

Imagine yourself to be a bride and you just happen to step inside your new home and your mother in law tests your skills in balancing an earthen pot kept on your head!
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If you can balance this pot on your head you can have a steady married life!

Strange but true. In many parts of Bihar in India, the newlywed bride is asked to carry an earthen pot on her head and walk balancing her way taking blessings from everyone. This ritual is said to ensure and test the bride is able to adjust and balance herself in her new house as a good wife and daughter in law of the family. The earthen pot symbolizes the difficulties in life.

#2. Pulling the Nose of the groom.

In Gujrat wedding, there is a playful marriage ritual called Ponkvu or Ponkhana in which the bride’s mother pulls the nose of the groom, her son in law.
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Pulling the Nose of the groom

This way the bride’s family reminds the groom that he had to bend down and come to the bride’s house in order to get their daughter as his wife. So he needs to be humble. 

Isn't there any other better way to convey the same message? I wonder.

#3. Bride’s Mother.  

Not allowed to attend the wedding! – A mother is one of the closest people in our lives. To a bride, her mother seems to be an indispensable person that she always needs her support and confidence as marriage is actually a BIG DEAL.
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I miss my Mom on the most beautiful day of my life!

We all get nervous out of excitement and many kinds of mixed feelings. 

Imagine if your mother is forbidden to attend your own wedding? 

Yes, this is true amongst many cultures in India. Especially in Bengali marriage where the bride’s mother is not allowed to see the wedding ceremony of her own daughter. It is supposed to be a bad omen.

Well, I find this one as strange and crazy. Not funny. But the reason I have this in my list is that it is a really weird and funny ritual of denying the mother who always deserves the best seat for the marriage ceremony of her children, I feel.

#4. Just at the last moment, the Groom has to act to change his mind!

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Well, I have changed my mind now!

Strange but true. In Tamil Brahmin's marriage (Iyer) the groom has to carry out a dramatic scene where he has to stand up and say in the last moment just before the marriage ceremony starts that he wants to remain a Brahmacharya and practice celibacy in order to attain his spiritual missions. At that time the bride’s father has to come and convince the groom and tell him about the goodness of marriage. Common props used in this drama ritual is Bhagwad Geeta (the Holi book of Hindus), an umbrella, sandals, and hand fan.

#5. Tearing off the clothes of the Groom.

Sindhi marriage has a strange and funny way of ending a wedding. The ritual is called ‘saanths’. The priest comes to the respective homes of the bride and the groom before marriage and ties an anklet on the right foot of the couples. After this, they need to wear a new shoe on their right foot and break earthen lamps. This is considered to be a good omen.
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Let’s get nasty and tear off the clothes to ward off evil

After the ceremony gets over the groom’s friends and relatives tears off the clothes of the groom as a practice of warding off evils.

#6. No wedding vows, not even rings, only exchange garlands, and you are declared as married.

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Exchange garlands and you are DONE!

In Assam amongst the Rabha, tribe marriage is really simple. There are no lavish wedding rituals and ceremonies. All you need to do is to exchange garlands and the priests declare you as married. This is followed by a grand feast. However, that being said there lies a test of cooking for the newlywed bride. According to the customs the newlywed bride has to cook the entire course of the meal only for the male members of the groom’s family the very next day after the wedding. 

Sound Sexist! Is n’t it?

#7. Twisting the groom’s ear. 

In Maharashtra, there is a custom wherein the bride’s brother is asked to twist the ear of the groom as a ritual just to warn him to treat his sister with love and respect.  Maybe this is just the initial warning to the groom that he better takes care of their sister! 

Aren’t there any other ways to get this message right?

#8. Permission to marry or not at the last moment.

In Marathi culture, a silk shawl is used known as ‘Antrapat’ which separates the groom and the bride during the marriage ceremony.
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Do you think we should get married?
Once ‘mangalsutra’ which is a marriage symbol is tied around the neck of the bride the shawl is removed between the groom and the bride. They could actually see each other for the first time on that day. After that, it is the ritual and custom for the couple to take the permission of the relatives known as Sankalp ceremony. 

I wonder, what if the relatives say No at the last moment?

#9. How about a tomato welcome? 

There is a small town near Kanpur known as ‘Sarsaul’ where the groom and his family are welcomed and greeted by tomatoes and potatoes (preferably a rotten one as it smashes and splashes better !) It is believed that when a relationship begins with a sour note always lasts with sweet love! 
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Welcome groom with some tomatoes

This ritual actually reminded me of the age-old Scottish tradition known as the blackening of the bride that happens before the wedding. In this ritual, both the bride and the groom get covered with all kinds of crap like rotten milk, leftover food, feathers, and even tar that are poured over to them. This ritual is believed to ward off evil spells.
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Blackening of the Bride

Another similar ritual is called Polterabend which is a German wedding custom wherein the guests who attend the wedding ends up breaking porcelain plates just the night before the wedding. The would-be bride and the groom are asked to clean up the mess. It is also believed that this ritual wards off the evil called “Shards bring luck” Which in German is called Scherben bringen Gluck.

#10. Marrying a Tree on the day of your wedding? 

There is a tradition in India for people who are said to have Manglik dosh according to astrological predictions to perform a ritual called Kumbh Vivah. This is a wedding ritual between the person having a Manglik dosh with a Peepal tree or a banana tree. According to too the belief, people having this Manglik dosha might encounter some negative impacts in their married life which can also be life-threatening and untimely death. That is why this marriage is conducted to cancel the evil effects caused by Manglik Dosha.
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Get married to a tree to get rid of Manglik dosha

These are some of the most strange but funny marriage rituals in India that I could think of. However, that being said let me tell you that there are many more strange marriage customs which have turned into a ritual that makes us wonder even more. One such example which I could think of is the groom's kidnapping custom.

Yes, you have heard it right. You might have heard of Bride Kidnapping practice known as ‘Kyz ala kachuu’ which had been practiced across the world where brides get kidnapped, captured, and then married by the man who wishes to marry her. 

Sounds Sexist? 

Well, then India has an antidote to this. There is a common custom in India called Groom Kidnapping.
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Groom Kidnapping-Marriage at a gunpoint!

Eligible grooms in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar get kidnapped by the bride’s family and are forced to get married at gunpoint. According to the report of one of the most trusted magazines, India Today, it is estimated that marriage by abduction has increased much fold and more than 3000 grooms are made to tie knots at gunpoint as per the data in 2016. The crazy and strange part is that since marriage is considered in India as a spiritual union and something evil to break, often the marriage continues after the groom gets rescued (post-marriage ceremony, of course).

Here it is important to say that the reason for this kind of kidnapping is because of the burden of a huge dowry which often the groom parent’s demands from the bride’s family which could be a mansion, a car and with a bit random. The bride’s parents are not able to meet the growing rate of dowry which although is illegal these days but still works under the cover.
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I hope you enjoyed reading this article on top 10 Strange but funny marriage rituals in India

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