A Pakistani wedding is a traditional ceremony which rejoices on the wedlock of a bride and groom. It brings together the families of the bride and groom in the many occasions that take place. In Pakistan the wedding ceremony is of immense importance. Various cultures have distinct ways of celebrating the wedlock of two individuals through different traditions. Pakistan being a Muslim country situated in South Asia and the greater Middle East has a vibrant culture with many customs. A Pakistani wedding is a festive arrangement, with a lot of fun. It is a celebration that is looked forward to by everyone; there are many pre wedding customs and rituals. Many of the customs that are practiced in Pakistan have no roots to Islam and these customs have been embraced from ceremonies and traditions of the Hindu culture.
The first custom is known as a mangni which is actually an engagement ceremony, marks the official engagement of the couple. This is a small ceremony takes place in front of few family members of the would- be bride and groom. Prayer and blessings are recited and the wedding date is determined. The next ceremony is the Mayun it is a custom where the bride enters a state of isolation for 8 to 15 days prior to the wedding, she is free from doing all chores and running errands and the bride and groom are not allowed to see each other, in fact the bride can’t even leave her house. This is when the beautification rituals begin. Uptan is the next small event in which a paste is formed using turmeric, sandalwood powder, herbs and oils, which the groom’s mother brings for the bride. She blesses the bride and applies the uptan – mixture on her face and hands. The uptan ceremony is also held for the groom, in fact uptan is supposed to make the bride look pretty and she applies it daily until the wedding.
The Dolki is a singing ceremony and traditional wedding songs are sung accompanied by two or three instruments, a dolki being the primary instrument. In these events the bride is officially treated as a bride or a dulhan, she wears a traditional Pakistani yellow outfit and her siblings and friends escort her to the event. The mehendi is actualluy a hena party which takes place before the wedding. It’s a ceremony consisting primarily of females, they apply henna on the bride and each other, they sing and dance and sadka is performed on the bride- that is they ward off evil from the bride. After the ceremony there is dinner, and traditionally the bride veils her face in the ceremony. Mehendi is done on the groom’s side as well, with the groom, the bride does not participate.
The Baraat and Nikah usually happen together or one after the other. It is the official ceremony of the wedding; it is when the grooms family and relatives or friends make way to the bride’s home. They are warmly welcomed. It is there that they share juices and foods and meet and greet each other. This mainly happens in the baraat. The nikah is the purely Islamic ritual, it is attended by only close members, men and women are seated separately. The nikah nama contains certain terms and conditions which are written and agreed upon by both the parties. The next ceremony is the ruksati in which the bride fare wells to her family and is taken to her in laws house. The last ceremony is the Valima which is more like a wedding reception. Hence Pakistani weddings are extensive consisting of many rituals and customs, thus they are colorful and amusing for all.