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. A traditional Kashmiri wedding begins with the matching of the prospective horoscopes or teknis of the bride and the groom. An official wedding date is fixed by the purohit (priest).
A marriage procession carried out by the groom and his friends and family reaches at the bride’s house or the wedding venue. Before this ceremony the groom is made to stand on a vyoog (rangoli). He is given nabad to eat, a conch shell is blown to signify his departure, and two rice pots containing some money are given to the poor.
On the arrival of the marriage procession, they are warmly received by the bride’s family and their arrival is signified by blowing a conch shell. This is followed by an exchange of jaiphal or nutmeg between the fathers of the bride and the groom. This is done to solemnize the relationship. Thereafter, a pooja is performed with lamps made of wheat flour and the bride and the groom are fed nabad. Two rice pots with money are given to the poor. The couple is then escorted by the family purohit to the door. Here, the purohit performs a small ceremony known as dwar pooja before taking them to the lagan mandap.
The wedding ceremony (Lagan)
The wedding rituals are performed by a purohit in front of holy fire. This is when the bride and groom see each other for the first time through mirror images. After this, they are made to hold hands of each other so firm that it does not get loosened with time. The groom uses his right hand to hold the left hand of the bride and the bride does the same. Their hands are covered with a cloth. This is called Athwas in Kashmiri. According to Kashmiris, the first of the two to be able to pull out the engagement ring of the other will be the dominating one in a relationship. A golden thread called Amananmal is used to tie their foreheads together. This is followed by a total of seven pheras taken by the couple in complete circles around the sacred fire. There is a vegetarian dinner after the wedding ceremony. The bride and the groom eat from the same plate.
Once the saptapadi is completed, the bride and the groom are covered with a red cloth over their heads. All the guests then offer them flowers (posh) with pandit shloks being chanted along. The couple is worshipped with flowers as the two are considered to be Shiva and Parvati.
After completion of this pooja, the bride prepares to leave for her maternal home. While leaving that venue, the bride throws a fistful of rice over her shoulder, facing backwards to the house. This is done to ensure that the bride remains prosperous in her wedded life.