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A-Z of terms used in South Asian wedding ceremonies

10th October 2006 |By | Be the first to comment

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)
Garba a traditional Gujurati folk dance; a pre‐wedding evening of dance organised by the bride’s family
Ghar Nu Laxmi a Gujurati ceremony welcoming the newly wed bride to the groom’s home by the mother‐in‐law
Ghodi the decorated mare on which the groom arrives to the wedding
Ghodi Sajai ceremony of beautifying/decorating the groom’s mare
Gota a ribbon used as embroidery that is made of gold or silver thread
Gota ceremony a traditional Kashmiri Hindu ceremony of mixing thin flakes of pistachios, almonds and betel nuts
Grahapravesam the first time the newly‐wed couple enters their house
Granthi a Sikh priest
Griha Shanti a Hindu ritual conducted by a pundit, seeking a blessing from the stars
Gurudwara the Sikh temple or place of worship
Guru Granth Sahib the holy scripture of the Sikhs (also, Sri Guru Granth Sahib)
Haar a necklace
Hasta Milap a Hindu wedding ceremony where the groom’s scarf is tied to the bride’s sari, symbolising the union of their two souls (also, Hasta Milaap)
Havan lighting the sacred fire before a Hindu prayer or wedding ritual
Hathevaro part of the Parsi ceremony with hand fastening between the groom and the bride
Henna a coloured paste made from the green leaves of a henna plant used to decorate the hands and feet of the bride (also, Mehndi, Mehendi)
Hriday Sparsh the wedding vows taken by a Hindu couple
Isaivu Pidimanam the signing of the marriage agreement in a Tamil wedding
Jaimala a Hindu wedding ceremony where the bride and groom exchange garlands
Janampatri Indian natal horoscope
Kaichi Utrrudal the traditional Tamil wedding feast
Kanyadaan a Hindu ritual in which the bride is given away by her parents, by placing her hand over the groom’s
Karah Prashad ceremonial sacramental sweet distributed to visitors at a Sikh temple
Kirtan the singing of Sikh hymns, or shabads
Koran the holy scripture of Islam (also, Quran)
Kucci misri a Sindhi ceremony where the marriage alliance is formally approved
Laavan the four hymns that are recited during the Anand Karaj ceremony, in which the bride and groom circle the Guru Granth Sahib (also Lavan, Laava, Lavaan)
Lagan the Hindu wedding ceremony
Langar the communal meal served at a Sikh Gurudwara: in a wedding it follows after the Anand Karaj ceremony
Lehenga a two piece ensemble worn by women. The top can be either short or long, while the bottom is a flowing skirt (also, Lehnga, Lahenga, Lengha)
Maangtika a piece of jewellery consisting of a pendant and a length of chain that is attached to the middle parting of the bride’s hair, and falls over the centre of her forehead (also, Tika, Tikka, Teeka)
Madhuparka a Hindu ceremony where the groom’s feet are washed and he is offered honey and milk
Mandap a decorated four‐pillared canopy under which the bride and groom have their Hindu wedding ceremony
Mandav saro a Parsi pre‐wedding ceremony where a mango sapling is planted in a pot
Mangalsutra the necklace put on the bride by the groom during the Hindu wedding ceremony, consisting of black beads to ward off evil
Mangni a muslim engagement ceremony where the couple exchange rings, the bride wears an outfit gifted to her by her future in‐laws
Masjid the Muslim place of worship
Meher a muslim ceremony for deciding the amount of gifts that are given to the bride by the groom’s family
Mehndi a coloured paste made from the green leaves of a henna plant, used to make intricate designs on the hands and feet of the bride (also, Mehendi)
Milni a ceremony before the wedding where the men of both the bride’s and groom’s families meet to exchange hugs and garlands of flowers
Mithai Indian sweets (Also, Mitthai)
Mookh Dikhai a post wedding ceremony introducing the bride to her husband’s relatives
Nadaswaram a popular South Indian classical music instrument played during South Indian weddings (also, Nadhaswaram, Nagaswaram)
Nath a nose ring (also, Naath, Naathi)
Nichayadartham the Tamil ring ceremony
Nikaah the Muslim wedding ceremony (also, Nikah)
Nikaahnama registering the wedding contract which contains a set of terms and conditions that must be respected by both the parties
Palla the groom’s scarf which is placed in the bride’s hand by her father during the Sikh wedding ceremony
Pandit a Hindu priest (also, Pundit)
Parikrama going around the sacred fire, havan kund
Phulkari a traditional form of embroidery from the Punjab area
Pithi a ceremony where the bride and groom are covered in a yellow powder that is made into paste
Pucci misri the pre‐wedding Sindhi ring ceremony
Puja a Hindu prayer (also, Pooja)
Ragi Sikh men or women who sing religious hymns, or shabads (also, Raagi)
Raas a traditional Hindu dance in pairs and short sticks, called Dandia, which involves hitting the partner’s sticks while following the rhythm of the music
Roka a Punjabi pre‐wedding ceremony, formal approval of the alliance
Rukhsat a muslim ceremony in which the bride formally leaves her parental home
Rumaal a handkerchief; covering for the men’s head at a Sikh gurudwara (also, Rumal)
Rupia Peravnu a pre‐wedding Parsi ceremony, a formal approval of the alliance
Saubhagyavati Bhava a Hindu tradition where seven married women from the bride’s side will pass by the couple and whisper blessings into the bride’s right ear
Sagaai the Indian engagement ceremony (also, Sagai)
Sagari a pre‐wedding Sindhi ritual where the groom’s sisters and relatives visit the bride bearing flowers and gifts
Salwar Kameez a traditional Indian outfit worn by North Indian women that is comprised of a knee‐length shirt over gathered trousers and a long scarf
Sangeet a pre‐wedding custom involving women gathering together to sing traditional folk songs and verses
Sanskrit the traditional language in which the Hindu wedding ceremony is conducted
Sarbala a young boy who accompanies the groom during the Baraat at a Sikh wedding
Saptapadi the seven steps and vows taken by the bride and groom around the sacred fire in a Hindu ceremony
Sari a long piece of material that is uncut and unsewn, worn by Indian women (also, Saree)
Satavaro post‐wedding celebrations in the Sindhi community
Sehra bandhi the ceremonial tying of the traditional headdress on the groom
Shaadi the Indian wedding ceremony (also, Shadi)
Shabad a hymn from the Guru Granth Sahib
Shehnai an Indian musical instrument, associated with weddings (also, Shehnaai)
Shilarohan part of the Hindu wedding ceremony where the rock is used as a symbol of permanence
Shubh Drishti the Bengali bride and groom exchange garlands
Sindoor a sacred red powder that a groom places at the middle parting in his Bride’s hair during the Hindu wedding ceremony
Suit the common Punjabi word for a Salwar Kameez
Thijab‐e‐qubul the formal proposal and acceptance of the alliance between a muslim couple
Tikka a piece of jewellery consisting of a pendant and a length of chain that is attached to the middle parting of the bride’s hair, and falls over the centre of her forehead (also, Tika, Teeka, Maangtika)
Ubtan a pre‐wedding custom in which the female relatives of a muslim bride anoint her with turmeric paste to bring out the glow in her complexion
Varmala a Hindu ceremony where a cord is tied around the couple’s necks to protect them from evil
Vidaai the departure of the newly married couple (also, Bidaai, Ruksat, Doli)
Vivaha Hindu wedding ceremony (also, Vivaah)
Walima The reception held after the Muslim wedding (also, Valima)
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