No Kashmiri wedding ceremony India can be solemnized without first matching the horoscopes of both the prospective bride and the groom. Along with the horoscopes, the backgrounds, status and reputations of the families of the groom and the bride are also matched, although these are not compulsory. Once all these factors are found to be suitable, the alliance is fixed and a date for the wedding is proposed by the groom’s parents in consultation with some purohit or priest.
Once everything is finalized, the Kashmiri pre wedding rituals begin.
Vanna or Formal Engagement
The first pre wedding ceremony in a Kashmiri wedding is that of the Kashmiri wedding engagement ceremony. This ceremony generally takes place in some temple in front if an idol. The elders of both the families meet at the temple and exchange flowers, symbolizing their happiness over the alliance. The bride’s family also serves and prepares a special meal for the groom’s family. As per the Kashmiri wedding traditions, a special dish called Var is prepared by the eldest aunt of both the groom and the bride in their respective houses. This dish is distributed amongst the family members and neighbors. Gifts like cash, dry fruits, sweets, etc are sent by the bride’s family to the groom’s family.
As per the Kashmiri wedding rituals, another important Kashmiri wedding custom is that of Devgon (Havan). This ceremony basically marks the conversion of the wife-to-be and the groom from the brahmacharya ashram to grihastha ashram. The ceremony is performed separately in both the houses of the groom and the bride. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are worshiped by the groom and the bride and a havan is performed by the parents of these bride and groom in their own homes. This is followed by the kanshiran ceremony. In the case of the bride, young girls of her family hold a veil over her head, while the elders shower her with a mixture of rice, water, curd, flowers and milk. She also receives gifts from her maternal uncle, which mostly comprise of new clothes and jewelry. The same ceremony is held for the groom as well at his place.
Maanji Raat Ceremony
This ceremony takes place almost a week before the Indian Kashmiri wedding. A ceremony called the krool Khanun is performed, in which the door of the houses of the groom and the bride are decorated. This is done in the morning and in the evening the bride is given a bath in an elaborate ritual. Once the bride has been bathed, her hands and feet are then decorated with maanz or henna by her eldest aunt. The guests for the ceremony are served tasty Kashmiri food and all this is done amongst lively music called wanwun.
Besides the above three pre wedding ceremonies discussed, there are many other ceremonies which are done before the wedding day like Livun, bariyan, sending of thaals, phoolon ka gehna, diugun, sanzvaru, mehendi, etc. Only after all these ceremonies have been completed, does the actual wedding take place.