Himachali Wedding Ceremonies

Himachal is the state in India which boasts beautiful mountains with lots of green vegetation. The green belt of Himachal Pradesh consists of palm trees, deodar trees and oak trees. Mountain ranges in Himachal are home to various small villages and tribes. Communities that live in Himachal Pradesh consist of different castes. Basically, every tribe has some rituals which have been based on the old age customs. The people of Himachal are very simple in their living. Away from the maddening crowd and pollution of the cities, people of the Himachal like to live a life which is full of vigor and vitality, and their love and respect for nature is unmatched. Marriage customs slightly differ from region to region. As the boy and girl approach the age of marriage, the search for the suitable partner starts. Marriage within the same ‘gotra’ is not considered good. When a suitable partner is found, horoscopes are matched to determine the match’s compatibility. Generally, a priest is consulted to find a suitable date for the marriage, in accordance with their horoscopes.

‘Tikka’ is sent to the groom’s house and they are invited on tea. In some tribal areas, ‘Chaang’, which is a rice wine, is exchanged. Songs are sung and relatives are invited to take part in the ceremony. In the Kinnaur district, when the groom reaches the house of bride, the bride and her family starts weeping and wailing. People in Kinnaur follow a system where all brothers share a wife. They rear the children as common father. Bride and groom are carried in ‘palanquins’ except in Lahaul. In Lahaul, when the groom is about to take the bride, her friends stop the way of the groom until he promises to take good care of her. At the time of wedding, ‘Suhagi’ jewelry is given to the bride by her maternal uncle and parents. The groom’s family displays their gifts and jewels for the bride to show their status. In some areas, groom is given ‘dhoti’ and a ring and he is made to sit by the groom’s brother at the place where the marriage ceremony is to take place.

The groom and match maker are given wine cups. When the marriage party reaches the groom’s home with the bride, they are welcomed by people holding torches. Goats are sometimes sacrificed and rituals are performed. ‘Haven’ is performed and ‘Kheer’, a special pudding of rice and milk, is prepared by the newly wed couple and distributed to the relatives and friends. The Bride performs ‘puja’ to the family deities. Then she plays ‘gunas’ with the groom and family members. Gunas are a kind of sweet balls which are prepared by flour and jaggery. They are also distributed among people who have gathered. ‘Munh dikhai’ is performed after this. The mother-in-law is the first who looks at the bride’s face. She is given jewels and cash then other aunts and family members follow her. Then the bride pays a visit to her parent’s house. When she comes back to her in-laws house, the couple is welcomed with butter and sweets. ‘Pair Bandai’ is another ceremony which is performed after marriage. The bride offers cash to a family member of the groom and touches his feet by hiding her hands in a sari and gets the blessings to be the loved one of her husband and produce sons.

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