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Though very similar to any other Indian Wedding, Sindhi wedding is similar yet different in the names and the order of the events that are conducted here. Most Sindhi marriages are arranged and the parents of the boy and the girl give the horoscopes of their children to a Guryyani who acts as a professional match maker and helps in exchanging the horoscopes of the prospective groom and the bride. The groom has to have the holy thread without which the marriage is never considered to be complete, therefore, the Janya becomes one unique custom for the Sindhis.
Mishri – Kachhi / Pakki
The Kachhi Mishri is the pre-engagement activity while the Pakki Mishri is the actual engagement. The bride and groom accept each other as an integral part of each other’s life’s and the families exchange gifts on this day.
Berana is the first satsang that kicks off all the following marriage ceremonies. This is a specific prayer offered to Jhulelal, a god held in high reverence by the Sindhis. The Ghari puja has a long procedure and is performed in the homes of the both the bride and the groom by the respective mothers. The priests come over to perform these poojas and giving away 5 kg of wheat in 21 equal scoops is an important part of the pooja. The Ganesha Pooja and Navagraha pooja are also done in the houses of both the groom and the bride to invoke the blessings of the Gods for a peaceful and long married life of the couple.
Other than these specific rituals, there are many other similar rituals that one can see in normal North Indian weddings like Mehendi, Sangeet, etc. Until the eve of the marriage, people gang up in groups pertaining to gender or type of relations and their only purpose is to have fun at the marriage ceremony.
Rituals Performed in Sindhi Wedding
Haldi and Garo Dhago
The groom and the bride go through a session where oil and turmeric is applied to their body and they have a bath after that. The bride, groom and all the relatives wear a red thread around their wrists to ward off evil and to attract good things.
Baarat and Paon Dhulai
The groom and his party get ready to leave for either the bride’s home or the place where the wedding is going to be held. While the groom sits on a horse in full suit and he has a turban with closely knit pearls or flowers such that his face his shielded from others, the others in the party follow him on foot singing songs related to marriage. Once he reaches the venue of the marriage, the brother of the bride, washes the feet of his future brother in law, indicating giving him due respect and welcomes him and his family into the hall. The groom is looked upon as a manifestation and the feet of the bride is also washed with milk by placing her feet on the bronze plate. The priest measures the feet of the couple using a thread.
When the Paon Dhulai is in progress, there is a white cloth that acts a shield between the bride and the groom and they do not see each other. In earlier days, only when the cloth is removed, the bride and the groom see each other’s face. However, now the traditions have changed, but the ritual still remains, and the cloth are removed and the couple sees each other. The cloth that was until now on the shoulder of the groom is now transferred to the bride’s shoulder and their shawls are both tied in a knot.
Pheras and Saptapadi
The couple in a Sindhi marriage takes only four pheras as against the seven pheras in most other marriages. The parents of the bride then hold her hand and hand it over to the groom amidst the chanting of verses and pouring holy water in their hands. The couple then exchanges garlands and the groom ties the mangal sutra around the neck of the bride and marks her forehead with sindoor indicating that the bride is now married.
Saptapadi is the placing of the foot on seven small rice mounds, indicating prosperity and the bride take seven steps together indicating that they were two separate individuals until now, moving forward they are one and will stand with each other through the tests of time. The grand marriage feast follows, after which the bride goes to her new home.