West Indian Wedding Traditions The Gujarat Naagar Brahimin is a prominent community in West India. The Naagar Brahimin weddings observe deep-rooted traditions that start with the families of the bride and groom approving of the wedding alliance in a ceremony known as Chadlo, which is followed closely by the wedding rituals and then the Gujarat dance. The wedding couple is then decorated with flowers, after which a canopy is constructed. The bride then sits on the canopy as she receives gifts from an uncle. This is followed by the wedding ceremony, where his friends and family escort him to the wedding platform. The couple then exchanges garlands and the bride’s mother gives small sticks to the groom. After this ceremony, the wedding party recites verses praising Lord Ganesha. After this, the bride is given away to the bride by placing her hands into those of the groom. Their hands are tied together with a piece of cloth.
The Naagar Brahimin traditions require the bride and groom to walk around a sacred fire for seven times while repeating their marriage vows. Before leaving the parents home, both the bride and groom soak their hands in vermilion paste and imprint then on the exterior wall of the parent’s house. The Gujarati Patel Community observes similar rituals with the Naagar Brahimin community except that they include a henna ritual, usually between members of the bride’s family. During this ritual, henna artists make fine henna patterns on female relatives of the bride on the feet and hands. Patel weddings also include a harmony invoking ritual, where participants pray for peace and harmony during the wedding day. The priests give coconut sacrifices to the gods. The Patel traditions require the wedding couple to circle the sacred fire for four times, before taking seven more steps around it. When leaving the parents home, the bride’s mother breaks a coconut as a sign of blessings to the couple.
Weddings traditions in the Maharashtrian Konkanastha Brahimin community involves matching the bride and groom’s horoscopes to gauge if the two are compatible. A ritual meant to invoke harmony between planets follows this closely. The bangle ceremony is held thereafter, during which the groom receives bangles from the bride’s mother. In a different ritual, the bride’s mother washes the groom’s feet as a sign of honor. Accordingly, the families must seek blessing from their respective family deities. In the Brahmin community, the bride must pray that goddess Gauri blesses her with a lifelong marriage. She does this while sitting on a low stool. This community offers seven handfuls of rice sacrifice to the sacred fire, and the couple is then showered with rice as they recite hymns. Meals are served on green banana leaves.
The Maharashtrian Maratha wedding rituals are similar to the Konkanastha Brahmin’s except that they have additional rituals whereby bracelets are tied on both the bride’s and groom family member. One day after the wedding, both families hold bracelet-untying ceremonies, during which each family member gets rid of his/her bracelet. Minority Jewish communities also deep rooted wedding traditions, which include the recitation of the marriage blessings, and the couple signing of the marriage contract presided over by a rabbi.
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