Rituals in a Sindhi Marriage

Marriages in India are done according to the traditions and the rituals of a particular community or religion. The marriage ceremonies in away, reflects the caste or the creed one belongs to. The matrimony methods and the rituals practised vary from community to community and hence become the trademarks of a particular area. Every caste or area would witness a slight difference in their methodologies, which would credits to the existence of ‘n’ number of marriage forms and rituals.

People of a particular region hail their names or recognition from that particular area, like people belonging to Punjab are known as Punjabis, Gujarat people known as Gujaratis, Tamil known as Tamilians and Hence people belonging to a river area are known by the name of that river. Sindhis are the people who belong to Sapt Sindhu, an area near Sindhu River, also known as the Indus River. Due to the use of river for trading purposes, these people mainly got involved in the trade business and hence have their networks all over the world. Due to the nature of their business, Sindhis are mainly located in the metropolitan cities of the country, with a prevalence of business and trade opportunities.

Sindhis are Sanatani Hindus and hence follow the Vedic rituals for the marriage ceremonies of their children. They do not follow the hard and fast traditional Hindu rituals, for the reason them being a blend of Hindu and sufi culture. Earlier sindhis used to offer goat meat to god before marriage to ensure a successful and happy marriage, but with the evolution of science, this superstitious practise came to an end. The date for the marriage ceremony is decided as per according to the astrology, which is mostly an auspicious day such as on a new moon day or if there are no dates available according to the astrology, then any day, after the dawn, the Sindhi matrimony ceremony can be performed, which is called Gudhuro marriage.

Sindhis as in all other religions, prefer marrying their children in their own caste and religion. The Sindhi marriage Ceremonies can also divided into pre, during and post marriage rituals.

Pre- marriage rituals:

Kachhi Mishri: This ceremony marks the foundation stone of the life long relation between the Sindhi bride and the groom. In this, the family of the Sindhi bride visits the house of the groom and gifts him with mishri, a token of accepting the Sindhi boy as the groom of their daughter. Cash is also given with the gifts, to the Sindhi groom; this ritual is also called as Ladki rokna.

Pakki Mishri: this is the formal announcement of the marriage ceremony, in this the Sindhi bride and the groom exchanges rings and is hence called engaged from then onwards. The Sindhi groom is also gifted with the clothes and the accessories he needs to wear on the wedding day with a sacred thread, coconut and sweets along with them. the time and date of the marriage is also with by a priest on the same day.

Dev Bithana: this ritual involves the making of a Gundro, a totemic idol, which is worshiped in all the marriage ceremonies. The ceremony is done six to seven days before the actual marriage ceremony. After the completion of the Gundro making, 7 Haris, 8 Patras (sons), and nine Bublans (covers) are worshiped by the family members by placing them in front of the Sindhi bride and the groom.

Tih: This ceremony takes place a day before the marriage, where the Priest from the Sindhi bride family visits the house of the groom along with some gifts and goods like coconut, rice, nine dates, 21 sweet nibatas, sugar, a green silk cloth, and then worships lord ganesha. The priest then also presents all these gifts in the lap of the Sindhi groom and a paper on which the timings for the marriage is write, which is accepted by the groom and he takes blessing from the priest and his family members.

Mehandi Ceremony: mehandi ceremony is a ritual performed at the house of the Sindhi bride, where mehandi or Heena is applied on the hands of the bride. A lot of traditional songs and dances are also performed at this time.

Banwa: This is a very traditional ceremony performed in Sindhis, which involves the grinding stone, being installed at the house for a long time. After this ceremony, the Sindhi bride is not allowed to step out of her office, till the time of the marriage.

Baraat: Baraat is a group of the Sindhi groom’s relatives and friends, who walk along with him to the bride’s house or to the venue of the marriage, traditional songs and dances, are performed while heading towards the venue.

Marriage Ceremonies

Swagat of the baraat: the baraat is then welcomed by the Sindhi bride’s family with a lot of respect and gifts are given, mainly sarees and sindur are given to the mother of the groom and other ladies from the groom’s side. The groom is then taken inside the marriage hall.

Jaimala: after the entry of the groom, the bride is brought, and they exchange garlands with each other known as the jaimala ceremony.

Phera Ceremony: this is the final ceremony of the Sindhi marriage, which marks their togetherness for life long. In this, the couple takes four circles around the sacred fire, with the priest reciting religious scriptures.

Post- marriage rituals:

Vidai: it is the ceremony, where the Sindhi bride leaves her maternal house and heads towards her new house i.e. the house of her in-laws or husband.

The new bride is then welcomed by her in- laws by a lot of dhol and nagadas (drum beating), to her new house. Lots of celebration is done to mark the happiness and grandness of the occasion.