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It is a great experience to be a part of the Shia wedding. Every ritual is self contained with cultural affluence and uniqueness. Laughter, joy and fun are the essentials of a Muslim matrimonial event. Unlike Sunni weddings, Shia ceremonies are carried out on a relatively magnificent scale. Every ceremony is made grand through lavish feasts and celebrations.
Shia Muslim Wedding - The Ceremonies
The bride's special day begins with the rasam of Mangni. This is the official engagement. The official wedding date is decided and announced at this event.
As the D-Day approaches, the celebrations begin, with Mayun being the first wedding ritual. According to this, the groom and the bride are not allowed to meet from Mayun till wedding day. The bride is secluded 7-15 days prior to wedding. She is not allowed to do any household chores.
The next interesting ceremony in a quintessential Muslim wedding is Uptan. The groom's mother and sister prepare a paste with haldi, sandalwood powder (Chandan), aromatic oils and herbs. They bring this paste for the bride and apply it onto her face, neck and arms. A similar paste is prepared and sent for the groom by bride's mother. This ceremony is followed by dholki, Mehndi, and Baraat. The Baraat is received at the bride's house by her sisters and friends. This is a fun ceremony that involves gently hitting the guests playfully with a stick adorned with flowers.
Then, proceedings are made to perform the Nikah (the wedding ceremony). This ritual is conducted by the official priest (Qazi). The Nikah is attended only by family members and close relatives. After the Qazi declares the accomplishment of Nikah, the bride and the groom's parents congratulate each other and bless the couple. Nikah is followed by the Muh Dikhai rasam
This event is concluded with ruksati. This is the farewell ritual for the bride before she moves to her husband's house. The bride is welcomed at the groom's house and traditional games, like gana, are played by the couple. The basic notion behind these games is to make the bride comfortable in her new house. The groom's family arranges a feast for relatives, friends, and the community. This feast is known as Walima and is celebrated on a grand scale.
The Shia Muslim Wedding Traditions
Some of the nitty-gritty's of the wedding include:
• A Shia Muslim wedding event doesn't necessitate presence of witnesses during the wedding ceremony.
• It is obligatory that the Nikah is delivered publicly through six verses.
• The ceremonial bath is an essential part of the wedding. This ceremonial bath is performed a day before wedding.
• Another unique custom is the arrangement for temporary marriage alliance. As per this custom, divorce is not necessary for separation if the bride and the groom don't get along well. They can give their relation a try for the period agreed upon at the time of Nikah. If the marriage works out well, they can continue, else get separated without any legal proceedings.
Shia Muslim matrimonial customs feature a flexible outlook towards marriages. Individuals are free to take decisions regarding marriage and separation without any kind of pressure by family.