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Muslim Wedding Ceremony
After the bride is selected by the boy's family the couple exchange rings in a ceremony accompanied by serving of sweets - "peda". Two days prior to the "nikah" the "haldi" ceremony takes place at the bride's place wherein the bride is applied "haldi" by only un-married girls after which she is not supposed to either change her clothes or move out of the house till the wedding day. The night before the wedding a musical party takes place at the bride's place. On the actual wedding day starting from the grooms' place the "baraat" moves towards the venue hall. The groom proceeds grandly either in a car or mounted on a horse and is accompanied by the playing of musical instruments and beating of drums. If no concrete area is available a large decorated tent - "Shamiana" - is setup in order to perform the wedding ceremonies. As soon as the groom reaches the destination, a glass of "Sharbat" - juice and money are exchanged by the brother of the bride and the groom. The guests are welcomed by the sisters of the bride - "Saalis" - who hit them playfully with flowers.
The groom's family sends the necessary wedding items which include clothes and jewellery for the bride which is the traditional custom. The couple are showered with flowers around their foreheads. The men and the women taking part in the ceremony are seated in different rooms with a curtain - "purdah" - seperating them. The elders of both the families decide upon the "meher" - a compulsory amount of money given to the bride’s family by the groom’s side - in advance.
The bride's opinion is sought by the "maulvi" - the officiating priest - who asks her specifically whether she is happy with the choice of the groom and actually wants to marry him. He is accompanied by a lawyer or a reputed person and two male other members as witnesses. The groom is also asked his consent in similar fashion by the "maulvi". After the couple's affirmative answers are obtained separately by the maulvi the groom is asked by him to read a selected piece from the "Quran". The bride and groom then sign the "Nikaahnaama" alongwith the two witnesses. The groom is then taken to the ladies' section - "Zenana" and has to give gifts and money to his sisters-in-law. He also offers his salutations to the elder women and receives their blessings in return.
The women and men are then served dinner seperately after which the the bride and groom are allowed to sit together for the first time and a turban - "dupatta" - is covered on their heads. Then they keep the "Quran" between them and read a few prayers as directed by the "maulvi". They can see each other only through reflection by mirrors. The guests are given sweets - "Misri" - and dried dates which have a religious significance. The bride is given a half-eaten "laddoo" by her cousins. The groom stays at the bride's house overnight along with his younger brother in a seperate room. The next morning he is given gifts, money and clothes by the bride's parents. Then the couple is accompanied by the groom's relatives to their residence.
The bride's father requests the groom to take all possible care of his beloved daughter and the bride then bids a tearful farewell to depart to her new house with the groom in the car or by the palanquin - "palki". On the fourth day after the wedding she is taken back to her parent's place and then the groom takes her and her entire family to attend the lavish reception which is hosted in honour of the the new wedding by his family. This is the last ceremony of the colorful and traditional wedding.
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