The Complexities Of A Kashmiri Marriage

The Complexities Of A Kashmiri Marriage

Time to keep it simple and austere

Marriage is one of the most pious and highly revered occasions across cultures and faiths, a mystical union of souls that binds together two people for their entire life. But owing to the variegated intrusions it has witnessed is more of a concern in the current times.
Are we losing the plot?
Kashmiri wedding traditions are unique. There are several things that make Kashmiri wedding traditions quite distinctive from the traditions of other communities. However, this holy union has undergone a swath of changes and its essence is fading at a fast pace. Arrange and engage in cooking delicious meals ‘wazwaan’ but it should be simple as possible. Don’t add unimportant things to it in order to shower an impression on others. These things get noticed all the time and are put before one another in a more complex way as ‘demand’. Dowry, being one of them is a necessary social evil. To get hitched is good but why hiccup others? These given utmost attention and preference are nothing but ‘Biddah’ (unnecessary increments) which results in trauma to parents and suicidal bags for others. We should care about the other members of society. In a society, we live in interdependence and any change favouring vague will automatically force every single individual to go with it. However, exceptions can’t be termed out. On a positive note, two souls can interpret and preferably can change two families without wasting time and notes.
A bond defining togetherness and tradition
The marriage ceremony is an important social duty performed by the families and it takes shape in presence of huge social gatherings. Plenty of people are invited to the dinner parties by the families of both bride and groom by strictly following rituals from the pre-wedding to post-wedding ceremonies. Starting with matching the horoscope of the bride and the groom (sitaar), our people stress on checking the compatibility between the family of the bride and the groom, checking the backgrounds of each other’s family, reputation and status (family tree). Most likely a middleman/woman fixes the dates of the wedding after matching the horoscopes and then the two parties agree to go with it. After that several steps are followed in the pre-wedding period like Vaana, Livun, Wanwun, Maenziraat, Duribat, Devgon, etc.
Vaana: Vanna is a formal engagement or commitment ceremony that takes place after the two parties agreed to form the alliance. Vaana takes place in front of an idol, which is followed by the meeting of parents and other elderly persons from the family of the bride and the groom. The two parties meet in a temple and exchange flowers that symbolize the formalization of the ceremony. The bride’s family invites the groom’s party for a meal that comprises traditional Kashmiri food. Cash, dry fruits, candies and a pot containing nabad (misri) are sent by the bride’s family to the groom’s house.
Livun: Cleansing of the houses of both the bride and the groom before the wedding. The participation of all female members in the Livun is customary.
Wanwun: It is the next part of the pre-marriage rituals and is held a few days before the wedding. Wanwun is actually music session that is held every evening at both and is attended by the relatives and neighbours of both sides. However, these things are nowadays not being performed by some hard religious followers. The message is spreading but it will take time to make people concisely conscious.
Maenziraat: The ceremony takes place a day before the wedding and is the most depressing night, full of futile activities. All nonsensical things are performed that night. Further, coming on the ceremony begins with kroolkhanun, a ceremony for decorating the main entrance of both houses. Then elaborate bathing of the bride, then ‘henna’ or ‘maenz’. Women are invited to the ceremony and are served special Kashmiri meals and kehwa with saffron.
Apart from these the other parts of Kashmiri wedding traditions in the pre-marriage session include; Bariyan, sending of thaals, sending of phoolkagehna (ornaments made of flowers), mehendi (decoration of bride’s hand, palm and feet with mehndi), Diugun, Sanzvaru and Devgon. These things are really burdensome for a poor family. A poor girl rejects marriage proposals because of these factors. This type of marriage system in Kashmir has become a hell of fire. People wedded through such ceremonies rarely last for years. They only sow poison for other fellows and also in person end with the same fate – living dead.
Reviving the charm again
Then, it comes to the reception of baarat; the groom and his party by the bride’s family, First, Vidai: (the farewell of the bride from her home) and then welcoming the newly-weds at the groom’s house. The new wedding is also followed by some post-wedding rituals like Satraat, Phirlath, and Roth Khabar. On a lighter note, these things make no sense in real sense. They only add a burden to poor families. This is the cause ‘love marriages’ are preferred over ‘arranged’ one’s viz. court marriages etc. to avoid extra time consumption in fixing dates and other futile deals. “Marriage is a commitment (solid union). What I want to say is to get married but let always way open for others and never try to show off. Please carry your daughter or son’s marriage in a social way, leaving a moral print for others to follow. Arranging feasts and squandering all along is letting us all down. Simply trying to be simple won’t be a problem.

The writer can be reached at [email protected]

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