Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Baraat (The wedding procession)

The baraat is one of the most fun traditions in the wedding. The baraat is like a parade to announce the arrival of the groom at the wedding venue. Friends and family gather around the groom, who rides atop a white horse or elephant to the wedding venue to meet his princess. Poetic eh?

This baraat celebrates the union to be by dancing along to the tunes of the accompanying band. The baraat traditionally proceeds from the groom's home to the wedding venue and family and friends dance on the streets in celebration as onlookers smile and motorists curse! The groom wears a turban with 'sehra', which is a flower veil over his face. Around his neck he wears a garland of Indian currency, signifying his prosperity. Before the procession starts, Marcus's sister will have to feed the horse / elephant with sweetened grain. She also has the right to stop the procession unless Marcus gives her a gift. It's a fun way of starting the procession.

Once the baraat arrives at the wedding venue they are greeted with cheers by the bride's side. The mother of the bride applies tilak on groom's forehead and performs Aarti (a prayer to welcome him) that wards off evil. Gifts and hugs are exchanged all around as members of both families welcome each other.

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