Friends of TREAD were happy to hear of the recent wedding of Poojitha. Poojitha was formerly one of the youngsters supported on TREAD’s Orphaned Assistance programme. Hepsi tells us about the way Christian weddings are arranged in South India.
“Matching is prevalent in the Indian Christian communities and just like any other community in the Country , arranged marriages are quite pervasive .Once a preferred match is settled ,the families meet and if everyone is satisfied ,then the talks proceed. In some cultures in South India this moment they’ve discussions on dowry and decide on it.
Engagement : The engagement is perhaps the most important pre wedding event in a Christian Wedding After formal proposal comes from the groom’s side , a date is set for the formal Engagement ceremony . It may be a small affair with just close friends and relatives . The groom is to present a ring to the bride and he places it on her left ring finger. This ritual symbolizes the betrothal of the girl to the groom. The rings have to be blessed by the Priest at the Engagement venue. Nowadays , the bride also offers a ring to the groom which he wears on his right hand ring finger. The groom also gifts his bride to be with other gifts such as clothes , perfumes , handkerchiefs etc. On engagement day the wedding date is fixed.
For a typical Indian Christian Wedding , the groom mostly wears a formal Suit. They usually wear a black and white suit or their choice.
Contrary to the popular concept, in most of Indian Christian communities in the South, sarees are preferred as wedding attires . These sarees can be white with golden or silver borders paired with white or golden color blouse. They pair it with a veil. The veil is often pinned to the head. The bride generally carries a bouquet which may have colorful flowers in them.
Welcoming of the Bride : On the morning of the Wedding day , female relatives of the groom visit the bride`s home with her bridal outfits, some jewelry , trays of dry fruits, sweets and fruits . The Priest is to bless the bridal dress before it is handed over to the bride. The bride gets ready in her house and sets off for the church with some of her friends and relatives. Her family follows. She is received at the Church by the groom`s family and escorted into the church with bride`s parents.
The Wedding Service in the Church : In most of Indian Christian Weddings the program starts with an opening prayer. Following the opening prayer, the Bible is read. The Scriptures are chosen by the Priest but the reading can be done by a member of the bride or groom`s family. Next part of the program is singing either by guests or the Church choir. This is followed by the Priest rendering the Sermon.
The Wedding Vows : Then the Priest starts the actual marriage rituals by uttering the opening remarks where he gives a short speech about virtues of marriage and in some cases about the bride and groom . The bride and groom then are asked to utter the vows of marriage . The Priest says the vows and the couple repeats them after him ( during their turns). They essentially promise each other before God that they will be by each other side through all the phases of life till death do them part.
Solemnizing of the Marriage : The marriage is Solemnized by first exchanging wedding rings , then garlands. These are mostly simple gold wedding rings that are place on the left hand ring finger of both the bride and groom by each other. Among South Indians , there is an additional custom where the groom ties a Thali around the bride`s neck. Thali is essentially akin to Mangalsutra , having a leaf shaped pendent with the symbol of the cross embedded on it which is stung on a yellow thread. Later the leaf shaped pendent will be stung on a gold chain. Next the bride and groom are blessed by the Priest and declare Husband and Wife. They hold hands together and march down from the dais to seek blessings from the elders.
Reception : After completion of the wedding Ceremony , the couple exits the Church . The newlywed couple , along with all the invitees, moves to the reception venue for the wedding reception . Hence there is a wedding feast. ”
We wish Poojitha and Prashanth all the best for their future together!