Colourful pandals, flamboyant decorations, bright lights and the sound of dhols and taashas… the perfect ingredients for the big, fat Sindhi wedding. If you have ever been to one, we know you’d agree with us. The lavishness will lure you in, while the warmth of family members will make you never want to leave.
Now you might think that Sindhi weddings are no different from the traditional Punjabi wedding; but they definitely are. From the welcoming of the baraat to the vidaai of the bride, every little element will make you fall in love with the Sindhi wedding. It’s a pompous affair, apart from being one of grandeur; and it’s a whole lot of fun thanks to the fun-loving Sindhis who won’t stop dancing and living it up! Don’t believe us? Ankita Wadhwani shares some beautiful moments from her big day that she enjoyed every bit of.
A Sindhi wedding usually begins with Kacchi Misri ceremony. A coconut and misri (crystallised sugar lump) is given to the bride and groom as a symbol that they going to be one. Then a week prior to the wedding, the Pakki Misri ceremony takes place, which is like a formal engagement of the couple by the exchange of rings.
For Ankita, her big day turned out to be quite a surprise as it rained throughout and that too in the month of March. Excited and anxious, Ankita had a gala time with friends and family cheering her on as she took the pheras.
Her day began with the Santh ceremony where nine married woman from the family apply oil and milk to the bride. It’s like having a bath in milk and oil, just to bring on that beautiful glow! While this is done, the bride’s mother asks for forgiveness from her daughter if at all she has been unfair to her and wishes her the best for her new life.
All this and a lot of traditional wedding boliyan takes place in the background. The old ladies of the family sing wedding songs while the traditional ceremony takes place.
Haldi and mehendi ceremonies are the ones celebrated with lots of fun and vigour. Every family member comes one by one to apply haldi to the bride. And it doesn’t end there. Relatives and guests turn the haldi ceremony into a fun affair as they start applying haldi to each other too. “As per Sindhi tradition, the groom also applies mehendi but my husband is not fond of mehendi at all. Nevertheless, he applied just a bit. Maybe for the sake of our love, like he says,” recalls Ankita, beaming while sharing this memory.
No one misses the cocktail and sangeet ceremony of a Sindhi wedding. And for Ankita it was extra special because Vishal-Shekhar graced the occasion and made it melodious by lending their voice!
A traditional Sindhi bridal outfit has blossoming red, white and green colours. In keeping with the tradition, Ankita chose a glittering red and green Sabyasachi lehenga along with a green blouse with gold motifs and embroidery. “You get married only once and I wanted to make sure I looked my best on my special day, therefore I picked a designer outfit. The rest of my trousseau, though not designer, was carefully put together by me from some of my favourite stores.”
As per Sindhi tradition, gold is auspicious and since Ankita also personally loves gold, she picked out gold temple jewellery. “You may wear your wedding outfit once or twice after wedding, but jewellery lasts forever. Therefore I didn’t rent any jewellery but picked some trendy temple jewellery pieces instead.”
Like every other Indian wedding, the Sindhi groom arrives with his baarat to take away his bride. But before he can even get a glimpse of his beloved bride, there is a purdaa, which doesn’t allow the bride and groom to see each other until the pandit chants some mantras. It is then that the bride’s mother removes the purdaa and they both get to see each other. Cute, isn’t it?
Unlike other weddings where pheras take place in the wee hours of the morning, the Sindhi wedding pheras happen during the day. Like the Gujarati wedding, the bride and groom take four vows. Yes, four because according to Sindhi rituals there are only four pheras. Talk about a short and sweet affair! The bride and groom sit across a table where the havan kund is kept. The bride is given a white dupatta that is tied to the pink dupatta or shawl of the groom. This ritual is known as Gathbandhan in other weddings but as per Sindhi tradition it is called Hathialo ceremony. Their right hand is also tied together with a red scarf while the prayers are being offered to the Almighty for their union.
Ankita’s wedding was a blend of traditional and modern day rituals. After the pheras, the guests were served an exquisite lunch spread with exotic Sindhi delicacies in the royal ‘pangat’ style along with traditional Rajasthani and Gujarati cuisine.
After an emotional vidaai, a lot of fun rituals await the bride as she is introduced to the whole family and given a warm welcome. Datar (rock salt game) is played, which requires the bride to hold the salt in her hands and give it to the groom. The same has to be repeated by the groom and they both have to make sure that none of it spills while doing so. This defines the relationship of the bride with the groom and the family and how well she will be able to hold the family together.
While this salty affair is a laugh riot, a silver coin is dipped into a bowl of milk and both the bride and groom have a task to find it. Whoever finds the coin, will be the one dominant in relationship. “Who do you think found the coin?” chuckles Ankita with that victorious smile.
Last but not the least, the newly wedded couple is invited to bride’s house. This Sataurah ritual welcomes the groom to the family.
While people say that a bride can never enjoy her own wedding, Ankita had a splendid time throughout. “I danced, I sang and I was one happy bride. Maybe I was lucky, or maybe I just knew how to make the most of it,” she says.
This article is part of The Ethnic Soul’s series called the Real Brides of India. If you would like to share your wedding story and photos with us, do mail us on email@example.com with the subject line Brides of India. We would love to feature you on our blog and social media.