Asian Weddings – The Sangeet Ceremony

Asian marriages are replete with a number of interesting customs and traditions. There is a wide array of rituals that are followed before the actual marriage day, on the marriage day and also after the wedding ceremony is over. It is these rituals that add much gaiety and color to an Asian wedding.

One of the most popular and widely celebrated rituals is the sangeet ceremony. It is mostly an occasion for the female members of the bride’s family to gather together and celebrate. There is much singing and dancing and the event is looked forward to with much excitement by everyone. The party continues all through the night amidst much fanfare. The sangeet is one of the most significant pre-wedding celebrations and is often held on a grand scale by most families.

Since sangeet is an integral part of any Indian wedding, extensive preparations go into making it a grand success. There are elaborate arrangements that are made to decorate the venue of the sangeet ceremony and also provide for music and food. The house of the girl is beautifully decorated and the people start gathering from evening onwards for night long enjoyment.

Among all the Indian communities the event of sangeet is mostly celebrated by the Punjabis and the Gujaratis. The Gujaratis conduct garba dance to celebrate the occasion. Sangeet for them is conducted in a big hall where guests arrive dressed in traditional gujarati wear to dance the night away.

The sangeet further sets the mood of the wedding. While earlier the ceremony used to be held for ten days it has now been shortened to just one day. Sangeet, though chiefly an occasion that is celebrated at the bride’s house, is also observed in the groom’s family with equal pomp and show. Itis actually a part of the engagement ceremony of the bride and the groom.

The sangeet is celebrated at the bride’s family by playing the dholki and singing traditional wedding songs which are generally referred to as suhaag. The themes of the sangeet revolve around how the couple met and fell in love. Songs poking gentle fun at the in-laws and the would-be groom and also life after marriage are sung much to the merriment of the guests. There are also dances that are performed by the unmarried girls of the house. In the groom’s house too the ladies assemble to sing songs which are known as ghoriya. While the sangeet is mostly an occasion for the females to celebrate, men too participate in the celebrations these days.

Apart from traditional singing and dancing families also hire DJs to enliven the night. Music and dance is usually followed by dining. An elaborate spread is laid for the guests wherein an array of traditional cuisines is on offer.

Sangeet is an enjoyable ceremony held amidst the hectic marriage preparations. The all important event adds to the charm of an Indian wedding and serves to further strengthen the bond further between the two families.

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