India is a land of diverse cultures and hence plenitudes of traditions and customs; each signifying a pious value and offering a fervour component to the occasion. Wedding times get special and witness the optimizations of such customs. Each culture and religion offers a specific and vibrant glimpse of its matrimonial customs. From Kashmir to Kerala and Bengal to Gujarat, there are distinct celebrations; while the leading faiths – Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and Christianity also import definite religious quotients. A typical Kashmiri Pandit marriage for instance has a blend of the Hindu traditions but which have been offered a feel and touch of Kashmiri cultural attributes. Let’s have a look into the hallmarks of Kashmiri matrimonial and allied fervour that abounds such marriages.
The kasamdry –
The Kashmiri Pandit families do the engagement ceremony that is called as the ‘kasamdry’. The families of the to be bride and groom generally meet at the temple and conduct the ring ceremony which could be called as the modern assimilation; like we find in other sub cultures of India. However, the original kasamdry traditions include the ‘nabad’ or the pot that is sent to the groom’s house and contains the misri and sugar as a symbol of goodness. Fruits, dry fruits and cash are also sent. Var – a special rice pudding is prepared by the eldest aunt of bride and groom in the respective houses. This pudding is then distributed to the relatives and the neighbour. Such traditions mark the distinct fervour at the Kashmiri Pandit engagement.
It is a pre wedding custom that is aimed at the cleansing of the house prior to wedding. It is conducted at both – the bride’s groom’s houses and a specific day is fixed for this. The floor of the house is applied with fresh mud coating as a mark of newness and cleanliness.
This is the home sangeet custom and reflects synonymy with one of the most cherished and integral component of weddings in India. The neighbours and relatives are the part of this music ceremony and they are all offered the pink tea called by its traditional name of sheer chai.
Maenziraat – the henna custom
Maenziraat refers to the application of henna or mehndi at the bride’s hands. It is also distributed to the guests in the house. This is also in fine synonymy of the henna ritual throughout India.
The divagone and kanishran
This ceremony is separately performed at the bride’s and groom’s house. The divagone is meant to end the brahmcharya of the bride and groom as they perform shiva and parvati puja at their homes. Also, kanishran is conducted as they both take bath in a mixture of water, curd, milk and rice and have new attires.
At the arrival of the baaraat at the bride’s place, the guests are greeted with the sounding of a conch shell. The fathers of bride and groom meet and exchange the nutmeg or the ‘jaiphal’ to add a spiritual element for the start of the wedding customs that are done by the purohit. The main custom is that of lagan after the vyoog and dwar puja customs that mark the beginning. Range of traditional dishes are also served and include – Dumaalu, Nadrooyakhni, Chock wangun, Vyath chaman, Nich chaman, Nadroo hakh, Mujchatni, madur pulao, marchwangan pokore, kangach.