Have taken bookings for a plethora of weddings this year, consisting of English, Sikh, Hindu and Polish to name a few, I thought I would give you an insight into my most recent and upcoming Muslim wedding and the rituals and ceremonies that go with it.
Muslim Weddings are very vibrant and exciting. There are many rituals and ceremonies that mark the traditional Muslim Wedding and pre-wedding celebrations and there are also post wedding celebrations too.
LEGAN CHIR – Once the date for the NIKAH is set, the Groom’s father sends a cash present to the Bride’s father. This ritual is known as LEGAN CHIR.
DAY 1 & 2 CEREMONIES
* Day 1 – The Bride’s family attend he Groom’s home carrying Mehndi Paste on a plate. The young children bring the candles to be lit before entering the home. Afterwards a meal is served and there is much singing.
* Day 2 – The Groom’s family follow the same routine
MANJHA CEREMONY – On the third day the Bride is seated on a square table and is annointed with Haldi provided by the groom’s family. The Bride will wear yellow clothes and no jewellery. After this ritual a married, female friend must accompany the bride at all times. This friend will also rub haldi over the Bride before the Bride bathes. The family will sing until the night ends.
MEHNDI CEREMONY – The Mehndi ceremony is traditionally held the evening before the wedding and usually takes place at the Bride’s home. A Mehndi artist will apply Mehndi to the Bride’s hands and feet in a brightly decorated pattern. Family and friends, mainly women will sing traditonal wedding songs. The Bride wears plain clothes at this time and it is customary for the Bride to now remain at home until her marriage.
If the Groom has a Mehndi party, it will be very similar with the exception of having a mehndi artist, Instead, a dot of Mehndi will be applied to his palm or on a leaf that is placed in his palm by the Bride’s cousins, his own family, friends and well wishers.
THE WEDDING /NIKAH – Starts at the venue when the Groom and wedding procession known as the BARAAT is welcomed by the Bride’s family. There is music to announce the Groom’s arrival. The Groom and the Bride’s brother share a drink of Sherbert. There is fun and games as the Bride’s sisters playfully slap the guests with wands made of flowers! The Muslim Wedding comprises of the proposal, usually from the Groom’s side which is called the LJAB and acceptance from the Bride’s side known as the QUBUL. The consent of both Bride and Groom is of utmost importance to make the marriage legal.
MEHAR – A compulsory marital gift that both families will have agreed upon that is given from the Groom’s family to the Bride. The QAZI or law officer will ask the Bride if she agrees to the marriage and if she agrees to the amount of MEHAR. Once the Bride agrees, the QAZI will then read the NIKAH contract to the Groom. When the Groom agrees; the Bride, Groom, their fathers, the witnesses and the QAZI must all sign the NIKAH contract. Verses from the Quran called KHUTBA are delivered by the QAZI, these verses emphasise the care and obligations towards the women and the rights and duties that Bride and Groom have toward each other.
DINNER, PRAYERS AND AARSIMASHAF – Dinner is an extremely lavish spread and it is the first time that the newlyweds will sit together. The Bride and Groom’s head is covered with a scarf as they pray and the Quran is paced between the couple.
RUKSATTY - This is the Bride’s official departure from their family home. Sometimes this is done from the reception venue. The close relatives of the Bride and Groom will go to her parent’s home where there are some traditional rituals, one of which is the Bride’s throwing of handfuls of rice to the left and right of her and behind her. This is symbolic of her wishes of prosperity for the family she leaves behind. This is a very important and significant this moment as the Bride is now married and a new chapter in her life and her family’s life begins. She left in the morning as a single woman and leaves in the evening as a newlywed.
CHAUTI – The fourth day after the wedding, it is customary for the Bride to visit her parents. The bride is enthusiastically and joyously welcomed.
VALIMA – The Valima is an after party that is to officially welcome the Bride and the union of both families. Valima is not obligatory but it is generally a custom that is usually adhered to.
Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming Muslim Wedding Photography samples!