Kashmiri marriage, as the name suggests is the wedding held in the land of Kashmir. Kashmiri weddings are pretty simple and follow their own set of rules and customs. The weddings are usually modest but have their own charm and beauty. A Kashmiri wedding is held in three stages namely- pre-wedding ritual, wedding rituals and post wedding rituals. A traditional Kashmiri wedding begins with the matching of the prospective horoscopes or teknis of the bride and the groom. An auspicious wedding date is fixed by the purohit (priest). The traditional wedding attire of a Kashmiri wedding is pheran. The groom adorns a cashmere pheran and traditional jootis whereas the bride’s pheran is made of aari or hook embroidery.
Several interesting and amusing ceremonies are held as a part of the pre-wedding tradition. The first ritual which takes place is Vanna or the engagement ceremony. The elders of both the families meet in a temple and exchange flowers to formalize the alliance in front of an idol. Next the houses of the bride and the groom are cleaned in a ceremony called Livun. Following this is the Wanwun ritual in which a musical session is held at the house of the boy and the girl. This is followed by a ritual in which the door of the homes of bride and groom are decorated. After this a ceremonial bathing of the bride is done. If the Janayu or thread ceremony of the groom was not conducted previously, it is done a few days before wedding. Following this is the Devgon ceremony, wherein the bride and the groom offer prayers to God Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Havan is conducted in the respective homes of the bride and the groom.
A day prior to the marriage, Mehndi is applied to bride's hands. At the dawn of the wedding day, Diugun is performed, wherein the bride and the groom are applied a concoction of curd, gram flour and saffron.
After Diugun, a pooja is held in the respective homes of the bride and the groom wherein the parents of the bride giver her jewellery, clothes, household items, etc. An essential item of the jewellery given by bride’s parents is the dijaru. Dijaru is an ear ornament, which is the sign of a married Kashmiri woman.
The bride’s family sends cosmetics, mirror, sindoor, shawl and a betel leaf covered with gold or silver foil. This is known as Sanzvaru. The bride uses these cosmetics to dress up on her wedding day.
Following this is the barat (marriage procession). The groom wears a traditional turban and a plate of rice containing money is touched to his right shoulder. The barat leaves for the bride’s home. On arrival of the barat, the groom’s family is warmly received by the bride’s family and there is an exchange of jaiphal or nutmeg between the bride and the groom’s fathers. A Dwar Puja is performed by the bride’s mother with lamps made of wheat flour. With this, the wedding rituals begin and the couple takes seven complete circles around the sacred fire.