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Weddings in India

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Weddings in India vary according to the region, the religion, the community and the personal preferences of the bride and groom. They are festive occasions in India, and in most cases celebrated with extensive decorations, colour, music, dance, outfits and rituals that depend on the community, region and religion of the bride and the groom, as well as their preferences.[1] India celebrates about 10 million weddings per year,[2] of which about 80% are Hindu weddings.

A daughter's marriage can often be the most costly event in the life of an Indian family, with some estimate indicating that families spend more than six times a family's annual income on the wedding.[3] Most of these costs go towards dowries and the wedding celebration.[3] Scholars have characterized these expenditures as being strongly shaped by social norms and by desires to signal social status.[3]

Hindu marriage ceremony
A fancy Indian wedding taking place in Puducherry
Bengali Hindu wedding in Kolkata

Ceremonies in Hinduism


While there are many festival-related rituals in Hinduism, vivaah (wedding) is the most extensive personal ritual a Hindu undertakes in his or her life.[4][5] Typical Hindu families spend significant effort and financial resources to prepare and celebrate weddings. The rituals and process of a Hindu wedding vary depending on region of India, local adaptations, resources of the family and preferences of the bride and the groom. Nevertheless, there are a few key rituals common in Hindu weddingsKanyadaan, Panigrahana, and Saptapadi; these are respectively, giving away of daughter by the father, voluntarily holding hand near the fire to signify impending union, and taking seven steps before fire with each step including a set of mutual vows. After the seventh step and vows of Saptapadi, the couple is legally husband and wife.[5][6][7] Jain and Buddhist weddings in India, share many themes, but are centered around their respective religious ideas and texts.[8][9]

Other religions


Indian Sikh marriages are through a ceremony called Anand Karaj. The couple walk around the holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib four times, and then do an Ardaas, a traditional Sikh prayer.

Indian Muslims celebrate a traditional Islamic wedding, with rituals including Nikah, payment of financial dower called Mahr by the groom to the bride, signing of marriage contract, and a reception.[10]

Indian Christian weddings following traditional Christian marriage customs. Among Protestants in India, the betrothal rite celebrates the engagement of a couple, with prayers being offered for the couple and engagement rings being blessed by a pastor. A day before the wedding, the Haldi/Ubtan/Mayun ceremony (as it is known in northern India) or the Roce ceremony (as it is known in Goa and Mangalore in India) is held, in which "haldi or turmeric paste is applied on North Indian Christians and coconut paste is applied on South Indian Christians." After some time, Indian Christians are married, during which, the couple meet in the presence of a minister, often in a church or place of worship. Readings from the Bible take place. The bride and groom take their marriage vows. The bride and groom often exchange rings symbolising their endless love.[11]

Interfaith marriages in India, especially between Hindus and Muslims, have been the subject of legal constraints in some states, vigilante harassment, and fears of violence.

Marriage age


In the past, the age of marriage was young.[12] The average age of marriage for women in India has been increased to 21 years, according to the 2011 Census of India.[13] In 2009, about 7% of women got married before the age of 18.[14] Arranged marriages have long been the norm in Indian society. Even today, the majority of Indians have their marriages planned by their parents and other elder family members. Recent studies suggest that Indian culture is trending away from traditional arranged marriages.[15] Fewer marriages are purely arranged without consent and that the majority of surveyed Indian marriages are arranged with consent. The percentage of self-arranged marriages (called love marriages in India) have also increased vastly, particularly in the urban areas of India such as Mumbai and Delhi.[16]

Wedding industry


Weddings are a major business in India. According to a report by KPMG in 2017, the Indian wedding industry is estimated to be around $40–50 billion.[17] It is the second largest wedding market after the United States, which is at $70 billion.[18] While the industry is very unorganised with small and medium scale businesses, there are also corporate entities who are trying to tap this industry. The prime factors for growth in the industry are the rise of middle class in India, an overall booming economy and use of social media.[19] It is estimated that the cost of an Indian wedding ranges from ₹500,000 and ₹50 million (from US$6,747.14 to US$674,743.50). Indians are likely to spend one-fifth of their total lifetime wealth on a wedding.[20]

Destination weddings

Wedding mandap for Hindu ceremony. This is made by local artisans in Rajasthan by using a technique called thikri.

Many Indian celebrities choose destination weddings,[21] and the masses take inspiration from them. Both domestic and international destinations are popular for weddings in India. The destination wedding industry in India was estimated to cross ₹450 billion in 2020.[22]

Wedding photography


Pre-wedding shoots along with wedding photography have also become a big stake in Indian weddings. Average wedding shoots can cost from ₹15,000 to ₹100,000 per day.[23][24]

See also



  1. ^ Sari nights and henna parties Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine, Amy Yee, The Financial Times, May 17, 2008
  2. ^ India's love affair with gold Archived 2013-08-08 at the Wayback Machine, CBS News, February 12, 2012
  3. ^ a b c Bloch, Francis; Rao, Vijayendra; Desai, Sonalde (2004). "Wedding Celebrations as Conspicuous Consumption: Signaling Social Status in Rural India". The Journal of Human Resources. 39 (3): 675–695. doi:10.2307/3558992. ISSN 0022-166X.
  4. ^ Hindu Saṁskāras: Socio-religious Study of the Hindu Sacraments, Rajbali Pandey (1969), see Chapter VIII, ISBN 978-81-208-0396-1, pages 153–233
  5. ^ a b The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: A-M, James G. Lochtefeld (2001), ISBN 978-0-8239-3179-8, Page 427
  6. ^ History of Dharmasastra, Vaman Kane (1962)
  7. ^ P.H. Prabhu (2011), Hindu Social Organization, ISBN 978-81-7154-206-2, see pages 164–165
  8. ^ Natubhai Shah (1998). Jainism: the world of conquerors. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 203, 263. ISBN 978-1-898723-30-1.
  9. ^ Axel Michaels (2015). Homo Ritualis: Hindu Ritual and Its Significance for Ritual Theory. Oxford University Press. pp. 102–104, 266–268. ISBN 978-0-19-026264-8.
  10. ^ Three Days of a Traditional Indian Muslim Wedding Archived 2020-02-21 at the Wayback Machine, zawaj.com
  11. ^ Das, Debomitra (21 June 2021). "Meanings of rituals in Christian weddings". The Times of India. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  12. ^ Heitzman, James. "India: A Country Study". US Library of Congress. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  13. ^ Women and men in India 2012 Archived 2013-10-12 at the Wayback Machine CSO/Census of India 2011, Government of India, pp xxi
  14. ^ K. Sinha Nearly 50% fall in brides married below 18 Archived 2019-07-30 at the Wayback Machine The Times of India (February 10, 2012)
  15. ^ Manjistha Banerji; Steven Martin; Sonalde Desai (2008). "Is Education Associated with a Transition towards Autonomy in Partner Choice? A Case Study of India" (PDF). University of Maryland & NCAER. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2017-01-01.
  16. ^ David Pilling (June 6, 2014) Review – 'India in Love', by Ira Trivedi; 'Leftover Women', by Leta Hong Archived 2014-09-28 at the Wayback Machine The Financial Times
  17. ^ "The recession-proof Big Fast Indian Wedding just got more corporatised". cnbctv18.com. 5 October 2018. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  18. ^ Pandit, Virendra (7 April 2017). "Big fat Indian wedding market has foreign 'suitor' Zankyou lining up". @businessline. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  19. ^ Urs, Anil (22 April 2019). "Destination wedding industry to reach market size of Rs 45,000 crore by 2020". @businessline. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  20. ^ "The Big Fat Wedding Industry in India: Recap of 2015 and outlook for 2016". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  21. ^ "Indian celebs who married outside India". 26 August 2019.
  22. ^ Behrawala, Krutika (2019-08-02). "Interactive rituals, GIF corners and VR: the story of 2019's small Indian weddings". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  23. ^ "A 34-year-old Indian photographer's income has grown over 42 times in 15 years — thanks to big, fat Indian weddings". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  24. ^ "One wedding photo shoot..Make it viral please! - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2019-08-27.