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Wedding Traditions in Pakistan

Bride holding the hand of Groom - Pakistani Marriages

Marriage is the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision of two people to live as a married couple, including the accompanying social festivals. Actually Marriage, Wedding, Nuptials are terms for the ceremony uniting couples in wedlock. 

Pakistan is a Muslim country in south Asia and has good culture rich customs and traditions and also religion is the most essential factor of Pakistani weddings. Pakistani weddings are celebrated with great fun and exciting events with glamor, people's wearing fancy clothes, merriments, a tasty wedding food menu, music, families get together and everyone is in the mood to party. Pakistani marriages are a mix of different rituals, the lengthy process from pre-engagement festivities to the Walima.

It is important to know that some of the customs followed in Pakistani weddings are not found in Islam. It is adopted from Hindu culture because Muslims and Hindus lived together for many years before the partition of Pakistan, in 1947.

List of Cheerful and Fantastic Events of Pakistani Weddings

Engagement Ceremony ( Mangini)

It is the first step in getting married after a proposal acceptance. It can be small or large family gathering depends on the choice of groom and bride families. In this ceremony rings are commonly exchanged between the couples, it is the symbol of the acceptance of the proposal. It is a formal party in which religious quotes from the Holy Quran and prayers are recited for the couple and the date for the wedding is decided. A formal dinner or maybe tea party are arranged for the guests according to the ceremony timings.

Dholki and Uptan

Dholki is taken from playing an instrument dholak means drum beating. Dholki is an event in which women would gather during the week of wedding days in the Groom's and Bride house separately for preparing the dance for the mehndi event, playing dholak and to sing old traditional wedding melodies.
Uptan is a paste that is made from turmeric, sandalwood powder, herbs and aromatic oils, which the groom’s mother brings for the bride, nowadays mostly uptan and dholki happening the same day.

Nikah - Essence of Pakistani Marriages 

Nikah ceremony is the major and the virtuous occasion in the marriage process, without nikah marriage is not considering a marriage. Nikah is an Islamic act, where the bride and groom sign a marriage contract known as nikah naama ( documents of contract ) and forms an everlasting relationship between two people on the basis of two words, “I accept”, said three time by each of them, followed by the recital of Quranic Surahs and man takes a woman in his nikah and accepts as his soul mate in the presence of Almighty Allah, Dua for the married couple’s future . Walis or witnesses on both sides must be present during nikah, and the fathers of the bride and groom act as walis.
Nikah usually takes place at the bride’s home. It is attended by close family members, relatives, and friends of groom and bride. Mostly, the men and women are made to sit separately, in a different room.Nowadays nikah ceremony is preferred to old before mehndi function and other pre-celebrations or sometimes according to old tradition before the Barat ceremony.

Mehndi

Bride's Hands and Other woman rubbing ubtan on them
Yellow, green and combination of rainbow colors dress or Mughal tradition themed are the trend in mehndi functions. this event takes place a day before the wedding. In old tradition, only female members of both the families can join at bride's home and apply traditional mehndi or henna on bride's hands but now the trend has changed mostly urban side functions are organized at wedding hall or hotel, in which both side females and males participate in celebrations. 
The most popular quote about mehndi I heard that according to south Asian grandmother '' the darker your mehndi is, the more your mother-in-law loves you '' It's about henna designs. 

Now a days the groom’s family then brings henna and sweets to the stage and applies a bit of henna on both bride and groom's palms. In order to prevent couple hands from being stained, a napkin or leaf is placed on the palm, upon which henna is squeezed from a tube. A tinge of oil is also dabbed into bride's hair after this bhot is fed Asian sweets. Relatives present her with money soon after, which symbolizes the warding off of the evil eye. 

Barat or Rukhsati

Barat is another major function of the wedding, in this event procession (janj) travel toward the bride home or where bride family organized this event. Before going off to the bride’s home, the groom’s close relatives would get together at his parents’ house and help him tie the flower veil called “sehra” on his head. This ceremony was called ''sehra bundi''. Groom arrive at the ceremony on a horse carriage or in a flower decorated car with a relatives, friends, and family or a band playing song or with dhol.The bride family gives a warm welcome to the groom family and throws rose petals. Bride mostly wears a red color on a barat day, and groom wears a shirwani a traditional dress of Pakistan. 

Different traditions are performed on barat day like joota chupai (Shoe Hiding) is a playful tradition where the bride’s sisters and bride's friends ‘steal’ the groom’s shoe, and demands money in return.Another funny and cute tradition is dhood pilae (Feeding Milk), In this, the sister of the bride feeds the groom milk again for money. After the groom drinks the milk, he’s supposed to fill up the cup of milk with money and give it back to his sister-in-law. These all tradition makes a wedding ceremony colorful and joyful.
The important part of barat is rukhsati. Rukhsati will take place once the dinner or lunch has been completed.  The bride will leave her home with the family of the groom and the groom himself. this becomes a very emotional moment as the daughter is moving from one family to another. The Quran is held above her head as a blessing. Although this practice is not in Islam, a lot of Pakistani families have come to adopt it. 

Reception (walima) - Post Marriage Feast

This event is organized by the groom's family and invites all of the bride's family and their guests to their home for a feast. It is a sunnah and the second of the two traditional parts of an Islamic wedding.The Groom normally wear formal Western suit or Tuxedo on this event and the Bride will wear a dazzling dress with Jewellery provided by the Groom. The wedding officially ends after walima. At this ceremony bride and groom are formally and publicly show case as a married couple.

Pakistani Wedding Food

Foods is a very dominant element in Pakistani weddings. Mostly in Pakistani weddings, guests often judge the success or failure of a wedding by the quality of the food.Wedding arrangements make sure write down each and every detail before events i.e how much guest are coming, a number of serving waiters, food menu, food quantity. Mostly wedding dishes are biryani, kebabs , fried chicken, korma and the menu should include raita/salads, desert, cold drinks and tea. Some sweet dishes are firni, pudding, custards, fruit trifle, kheer, gajar ka halwa , kulfi falooda, gulab jamun are also included.


Wedding customs and traditions in Pakistan give them a chance to entertain guests in bulk.The majority of the population in this universe getting married only once in their lifetime but the Pakistanis sure know how to celebrate a wedding.

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