Sindhi Marriage Rituals are somewhat similar to a Hindu
wedding, but set on a highly enthusiastic and lavish
scale. Amongst the Sindhi community, there are special
priests known as Mehraj who specialize in matchmaking
and a Guryanni whose main job is to carry horoscopes
of eligible boys and girls from house to house.
PRE WEDDING SINDHI RITUALS
Janya refers to the sacred thread ceremony where the
groom wears a yellow thread and a guru mantra is whispered
in his ear by the priest, or the Mehraj as he is generally
known in the Sindhi community. Though it is supposed
to be conducted in adolescence, most Sindhi men prefer
to have this done a day or two before the wedding. A
marriage is considered incomplete if the groom has not
had the thread ceremony.
The Kachchi Misri refers to the informal engagement
between the groom and the bride, where they are given
coconuts and mishri as a symbolic acceptance that she/he
is the one who belongs to the other family. On this
day, shaguns (token gifts) are exchanged by the groom
and the bride's families. Generally, the shagun consists
of five types of fruits and kharchi (money) for the
bride and groom. Additionally, the girl's family sends
five kilos of mithai (sweets), five coconuts, a basket
of fruit, some kada prasad, and a small token amount
of money to the boy's family. On this day, suji sheera
is cooked that is later served as prasad. During the
main ceremony, the boy's sister covers the girl's head
with a red-coloured duppata and feeds the suji sheera
to her future sister-in-law. This is followed by other
relatives feeding suji sheera to the prospective bride.
This refers to the formal engagement ceremony where
rings are exchanged between the couple either in a temple
or home, but in the presence of the priest. First Ganesh
Puja is conducted, which is followed by an Ardas. The
groom's family places a basket full of fruits, clothes,
cosmetics or ornaments on the girl's lap to signify
that she has been accepted and to wish her happiness.
Then the groom's sister and sister-in-law put on the
girl's makeup with the new cosmetics that have been
specially brought by them. Similarly the girl's family
also brings five kilos of misri in a clay pot that is
opened by the boy's mother. Afterwards, seven married
ladies use red powder to make a Ganesha sign on the
pot as a way of requesting Lord Ganesh to bless the
couple. The ritual of Varmala takes place as the prospective
husband and wife exchange garlands while the groom's
family gives a verbal promise of marriage and feeds
misri to the girl's family to confirm the engagement
Berana refers to a satsang that is held in the name
of the Sindhi God, Jhulelal. It signifies the start
of the ceremonies for the forthcoming wedding and is
usually organized ten days before the wedding.
Dev Bithani refers to the installation of a totemic
deity of chakki (stone grinder) in the homes of both
the bride and the groom during which a Brahmin priest
perform a ritual called Banwa. Tilak is applied to the
chakki by the family members. After this ceremony, which
is usually conducted five-six days before the marriage,
the couple is not encouraged to leave their homes and
ainars (marriage guards) are appointed for them who
are generally their brother - in- laws.
This ceremony involves the groom's family inviting all
the women in the neighborhood to for a night of fun
and merriment where they all sing and the traditional
wedding songs to the accompaniment of dholak beats.
The ceremony of Tih is conducted a day before the marriage
where a priest, sent over by the girl's family and carrying
a small bag of rice, a coconut, nine dates, 21 sweet
nibatas, which are bars of sugar candy one to two inches
in size, sugar, cardamom, cloves and a skein of green
silk yarn with him, conducts puja along with the groom
to pay obeisance to Lord Ganesha and all the planets.
He also ratifies and sanctifies the time of the lagna
by chanting some holy verses.
Conducted separately in the homes of the bride and he
groom a day before the wedding, the Saanth ritual involves
a puja performed by a Brahmin priest who ties a a challa
or anklet around the right foot of the groom/bride.
Later seven married women pour oil in the center of
the head of the groom/bride after which they are supposed
to wear a new shoe on their right foot and try to break
an earthern lamp with it. If the groom/bride succeeds,
it is a good omen. The ceremony finally comes to an
end with their respective families tearing off their
clothes as a symbol of bringing in the new and warding
The mehndi night is an occasion for party and merriment
where the ladies of the bride's house sit together and
beautify the bride. Professional mehendi artists are
called who apply intricate designs in henna on the hands
of the bride and other female members. Sounds of music
and dancing fill the air.
It is like a like a bachelor-cum-maiden party that is
usually celebrated after the mehendi night. Professional
entertainers are called to regale the guests with great
music and dance. It is generally followed by cocktail
This ritual involves showering the bride with flowers
as a form of blessing. The groom's family members- usually
married sisters, cousins and small children go to the
bride's house with jewellery made of mogra and adorn
the would-be-bride with them who wears a silk saree.
The purpose of the ceremony is so that the bride and
her new family get acquainted. In the night, the groom
visits the bride's house, where he is showered with
This puja, quite a long procedure, is supposed to be
held simultaneously at the respective homes of the bride
and the groom. During the Ghari puja, a prayer is conducted
by the priest who uses rice, coconut, wheat grains,
oil, betel nuts, turmeric, and a number of other spices.
Simultaneously, the married women of the house grind
wheat that is a symbol that the home will always remain
prosperous. The mothers of both the bride and the groom
dress up and carry a clay pot full of water outside
the house assisted by her son-in-law. The role of the
son- in- law is that of an ainar who is supposed to
protect his mother- in-law. After the clay pot is brought
back in the house, everyone offers garlands to the parents
of the bride/groom while the clay pot is placed in the
place of worship. The son-in-law, or ghor as he is now
addressed, gives money to the priest after circling
it around the pot of water and the bride or the groom.
For the bukhi, five kilos of wheat is brought, which
the bride and groom (separately in each home) cup in
their hands and offer to the pujari 21 times each. The
entire quantity of wheat should be finished within the
stipulated 21 actions.
The Navgrahi puja refers to the worship of Ganesha Puja,
Omkar Puja, Lakshmi Puja, Kalash Puja followed by the
nine planets. The gods are welcomed as guests in the
houses of the couple; they are offered milk, food, water,
and light. Performed on the morning of the day before
the marriage, this Sindhi ritual requires the presence
of the maternal uncle, paternal uncle and brother of
the bride. And these pujas can only be conducted in
the girl's house after the navgrahi puja gets over at
the groom's house.
WEDDING DAY SINDHI RITUALS
A ritual followed by both the bride and the groom, this
involves the family members pouring oil and haldi all
over the groom's/bride's bodies and hair as a form of
purification. After the ceremony, the couple cannot
leave the house.
A red thread is tied on wrist of the bride/groom, their
parents and all the family relatives would take part
in the wedding ceremony later on.
Preparing the groom
A ribbon is tied to the groom's hair by the priest to
protect him from the evil eye. Then a red cloth is placed
around his neck that contains a coconut tied to an end.
Another white cloth is also placed whose one end is
tied up in a bundle comprising of with karchi (lucky
money), rice, and elachi. Afterwards, the bride's brother
and other female relative go to the groom' s house to
accost him and his family to the wedding venue.
The groom is placed on the horse and a sehra is tied
to his forehead. The groom's mother holds a lamp lit
for the household deity, makes oblations of grain to
the crown worn by the groom. Then they set forth for
the marriage venue along with a band of musicians.
Swaagat refers to the welcome accorded by the bride's
family to the wedding entourage. As the barrat is being
received, the bride gazes at the groom's turnab form
a window of the house but is careful not to look at
his face. The women in the barat entourage are welcomed
by vermilion. The bride comes out to receive the groom
where he places his foot on hers to denote his dominating
strength in their future life together
The bride's brother conducts the ritual of washing the
feet of the bride and the groom. It is believed that
due to all the prayers that have preceded this moment,
the groom is an embodiment of Lord Vishnu on this wedding
day. The couple is then seated with a screen between
them so that they cannot see each other. Their feet
are then washed in a bronze thaali with raw milk. The
priest then measures the feet of both the groom and
the bride with a thread kept by the bride.
THE SINDHI WEDDING CEREMONY
After the Pao Dhulai ritual is over, the couples face
each other and exchange garlands. Then the white cloth
that was placed around the groom's neck is put around
the bride's while being tied to the groom's red cloth.
Simultaneously their right hands are tied together with
a sacred thread as the couple prays to God for lifelong
happiness and strength. As the holy fire is ignited,
the priests starts chanting a series of holy verses
prayers taken from the Holy Scriptures to God. It includes
prayers to Lord Ganesh, Laxmi, and the 64 devis to bless
the couple. Then the couple walks around the fire. A
Sindhi wedding involves only four pheras. After the
pheras are over, kanyadan is performed by the bride's
parents, which is denoted through the holy water flowing
from the parents' hands into the groom's hands through
the bride's. The last of the Sindhi wedding rituals,
Saptapadi is performed when the couple places their
right foot on seven small piles of rice. Afterwards,
they touch the feet of the elders to seek their blessings.
POST WEDDING SINDHI RITUALS
After the wedding, the bride and the groom are entrusted
to the care of the bride's brothers, and the baraat
leaves for the groom's house. Gifts are given at the
time of Vidai by the bride's father. The newlyweds arrive
separately by different routes. As they approach the
house, drums are beaten to announce their arrival. The
women of the house receive them.
The rinsing of the bride's feet at the threshold of
her new home by the groom's parents is the beginning
of the Datar ritual. Then the new bride enters the house
and sprinkles milk in all corners of the house, following
which she places a handful of salt in her husband's
hand. He passes it back into her hands without spilling
any salt. This ritual of Datar is done three times and
then the bride repeats this ritual with all the other
present family members.
Chhanar/ Dev Uthana
The ritual of Chhanar involves the removal of the chakki
that was instated during the Dev Bithana ritual before
the wedding. Conducted a day after marriage, in this
the couple pray before the household Gods after which
they are fed feeds seven mouthfuls of rice, sugar, and
The boy's family holds a reception on the evening following
the wedding. Some families tend to have the reception
and the wedding on the same day. Traditionally, after
a short visit by the bride's father to her in-laws'
house, the couple, at an auspicious time fixed by the
priest, pays a visit to the paternal home of the bride
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