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The Kashmiri wedding starts with the matching of the horoscopes or the teknis of the prospective bride and groom. Apart from the horoscope, the older members of the family take into note that the two families are of the same socio-economic status and the other factors as the marriage is generally conducted between similar background families only. This will ensure that the youngsters can adapt the other family easily and become part of their family. The date of the marriage is decided by the parents of the bride as a custom. The same is communicated to the family of the boy and depending on their consent the marriage is conducted.
The marriage is preceded by the engagement called the Kasamdry, where the boy and the girl meet in a temple and exchange gold rings as a mark of the confirmation of the wedding confirmation. The Livun, which is the ceremony of cleaning the homes of both the boy and the girl, is also done and then, the process for the start of the cooking of the wedding meal is also initiated.
The Wanvun ceremony is also celebrated which is nothing but a musical evening where all relatives gather and sing songs and dance to the tunes that are being played. In a way, this is a joyous occasion where the two families mingle and understand each other and bless the couple with lot of prosperity and happiness.
Rituals Performed in Kashmiri Wedding
Tying of the Gordastar for the Bridegroom
This is the tying of the wedding turban for the bridegroom. Ideally, the uncle helps the groom to wind the turban around his head and get him ready for the wedding. Once the bridegroom is ready wearing his marriage dress, there are two small pouches of money that are given off to the poor. He eats nabad before he leaves his home for the marriage hall and there is a pattern of art drawn with the rice powder and colors in the hall where he stands. After all these procedures, he leaves for the marriage hall.
Wearing of the Pheran by the Bride
The traditional dress worn by the Kashmiri bride is called the Pheran. The dress has heavy embroidered patterns on it and is a traditional dress that makes the bride look very rich and beautiful. There is an elaborate head gear that is fixed on the head of the bride and the entire head gear is decked with golden beads and clips that give a very beautiful look. This is called the tarang and the haligandun is also tied to the waist of the bride and this looks like a belt worn over a pair of trousers.
Just Before Tying the knot
The bridegroom’s party arrive at the place of the marriage ceremony and the family members in the bride’s family give them a warm welcome. The fathers of the couple greet each other with nutmeg, indicating that their children are ready to wed. In most cases, the bride’s mother shows aarti to the bridegroom and she feeds his nabad. The priest in whose presence the marriage is to be conducted then oversees the dwarpooja that is done by the couple before they get on to the mandap.
Lagan or the Marriage Ceremony
The marriage or the lagan is performed in front of the sacred fire. Only then they are made to sit next each other do the bride and the groom sees each other. They are then made to hold each other’s hands, with the bride offering her left hand in the right hand of the groom as a symbol of getting ready to a life of togetherness come what may. The couple then exchange garlands and go around the fire seven times and this has a lot of significance and is called the seven pheras. After the seven pheras, the newly married couple takes the blessings of their parents and other elders by touching their feet. The couple along with the guests is fed a sumptuous 21 course vegetarian meal that has a lot of delicacies and has some specific foods that are made only for marriages and other special occasions.
The Posh Puza is performed for the couple immediately after marriage. They are considered to be Siva-Parvati and are made to sit down and a red shawl is put over them. All relatives then offer flowers to them and perform the pooja which brings the marriage ceremony to an end.