Marriage in South East Asia
Marriage Ceremonies in South Asia
It is interesting to note how different countries, religions and cultures celebrate weddings in different ways. The ceremony in South Asian countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh usually last a week or so. They are spread over several days as there are several traditions that need to be observed both on the grooms and brides side.
It is a big deal as dating is usually frowned upon. Many marriages are arranged or at least partially arranged and at least in conservative sections of India and all of Pakistan, it is the first time the bride and groom will become intimate with one another.
Therefore, there is a big deal about the ceremony and the wedding night in that respect.
Marriage ceremonies in this part of the world is not just two people tying the knot, it is the coming together of two families and by that it is implied that a 1000 people will be invited, fed and entertained even if the groom and bride can't afford it.
Parents pay most of not all of the wedding expenses in these cultures and therefore they also have a big say into what goes where and what happens when.
One of the most popular things that take pace during Indian preparations is the singing and dancing by all family members and the application of henna for the bride as well as her friends a day or two before the wedding.
The more affluent echelons of society hire professionals to come and grace the occasion with their song and dance routines while others just rely on cousins and friends to liven up the party until the wee hours of the night.
Lots of customary things take place such as putting a turmeric paste on the brides body to make her skin fairer and freckle-free and asking seven married women to bless her so that her husband too has a long life.
Pakistani events are similar except that they have an Islamic aspect to it as far as the 'nikah' is concerned which is a contract which the bride and groom sign in order to get married.
It gives the girl and the boy the option to divorce while Hindu (Indian) cultures do not technically have that option.
Both cultures usually have the newlyweds be invited to several parties on both sides of the family soon after the wedding.
They usually have such feasting for weeks in a row so that everyone is introduced to the new couple. Many families have the newlyweds live with the in-laws in a joint family system.
More forward thinking people prefer them to start their new life in their own place.