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A-Z of terms used in South Asian wedding ceremonies

Written by    Last updated: October 10, 2006

Some of the most common terms you’ll come across…

Aarti a Hindu ritual in which incense and lamps are lighted as an offering to the deities
Aashirwad blessing the newly wed couple
Acharya a Hindu priest
Aeki‐Beki a Gujurati game played by the newly wed couple in which a ring is placed in a tray filled with milk and vermilion, in order to determine who will be the dominant partner in the marriage
Agarbatti incense sticks used in religious ceremonies
Agwaani welcoming the groom’s procession
Akand Paath a 3 day Sikh ritual in which the entire holy book, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, is read cover to cover, without a break
Ardaas a Sikh prayer
Bahu Bhaat a Bengali post‐wedding ritual of the bride’s formal acceptance by her in‐laws
Baraat the groom’s wedding procession, usually includes family and friends dancing towards the ceremony venue with the groom on a horse
Barfee an Indian sweet
Bhagwan a term for God in the Hindu religion
Bhabi sister‐in‐law; brother’s wife
Bhangra popular genre of music from the Punjab often played at Indian weddings
Bidaai bride’s formal farewell to her parental home
Bindi a dot worn at the centre of a Hindu woman’s forehead, traditionally signifying her married status
Boliyaan traditional Punjabi folk songs
Chandan sandalwood
Choli a close‐fitted short top worn with a lehenga or sari
Choora bridal bangles put on the bride’s arms by her maternal uncle and worn for a specific amount of time after the wedding to signify her newly‐wed status (also, Chura, Chuda)
Chunni a Punjabi word for the long scarf traditionally worn with Indian garments (also, Dupatta, Chunri, Odhini)
Dandia colourful sticks used in the Gujurati folk dance (also, Daandia)
Datar a Sindhi post‐wedding salt ceremony, where a handful of salt is passed three times between the bride and the groom, and then between the bride and members of the groom’s family
Dhol large drum used in Punjabi weddings
Dholki small drum used when singing traditional folk songs, usually at the Sangeet
Dhoti an uncut piece of cloth tied around the waist, worn by men
Dhruvnakshatra a ceremonial viewing of the pole star by the bride and groom
Doli the ceremony after the wedding when the bride leaves her parents’ home and goes to her husband’s home
Dulha the groom
Dulhan the bride
Dupatta a long scarf or shawl traditionally worn with Indian garments (also, Chunni, Chunri, Odhini)

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