Sindhis in India are Sanatani Hindus, a blend of Sufi and Hindu culture. Hence they follow Vedic rituals in the marriage ceremonies. They do not follow traditional Hindu rituals strictly. In earlier days, Sindhi used to offer the goat meat to their God before marriage to bless with successful and happy married life. But later, this superstitious act came to an end with evolution of science. Generally, the wedding date is fixed up by consulting astrologer. They consider new moon day as auspicious day for wedding. If they do not find any auspicious day, then on any day Sindhi matrimony ceremony can be performed after the dawn. This is called Gudhuro Marriage.
Like all other Indian marriages, Sindhi marriages also perform pre-wedding, wedding and post wedding rituals. The rituals which are observed before the wedding are Kacchi Mishri, Pakki mishri, Dev Bithana, Lada, Tih, Mehandi, Banwa, Baraat and Swagat. The first formal ceremony taking place when both the families agree upon the matrimony proposal.
This ceremony is Kacchi Mishri in which the boy and girl is given a mishri and coconut to signify that now both of them belongs to each other family. This ritual is also known as Kuchcha Shagun. After this ceremony, engagement takes place before one week of wedding. This ceremony is known as Pakki Mishri where the alliances exchange the rings along with the get together of their family, friends to celebrate the joyous occasion.
Next is the Dev Bithana ritual in which the priest makes the Gundro which is a totemic idol to worship it in all the rituals of the marriage. This ceremony takes place before few days of wedding, is considered to be the beginning of the wedding ceremony. After the Gundro is prepared, 8 Patras , 7 Haris and nine bublans are worshiped by the family member of individual bride and groom at their own place. After Dev Bithana, there is Tih ceremony which takes place just one day before the wedding. In this ritual, the priest of the bride family visits the groom’s place with rice, coconut, sugar, dates, 21 sweet nibatas, green silk cloth and worship Lord Ganesha. The priest offers all these gifts on the lap of the groom along with the auspicious time to conduct wedding ceremony. The groom takes blessing of the priest and accepts all these gifts.
After Tih, there mehendi ceremony is performed where mehandi is applied to the bride hands and feet. Sindhis celebrate this occasion with lot of traditional songs and dances. After Mehendi, there is a traditional ceremony called Banwa which involves grinding of stone that is installed at the house. After this ceremony, the bride is not supposed to step out of her house till wedding. Baraat is the next ceremony which a procession of the groom along with his family, relatives and friends. The procession is headed with the traditional performances of singing wedding songs and dances. Like this the groom arrives at the wedding venue.
The wedding ritual consists of Swagat, which is the warm welcome to the groom and his family. The bride’s family gives lot of respect to the groom and his family by offering saaris and sindoor to the mother of the groom and other ladies who came in the procession. After the warm welcome, the bride is brought to the wedding place. The bride and groom exchange the garlands with each other known as Jaimala ceremony. After Jaimala, The bride and groom perform Pheras which is the last ritual performed to mark their togetherness for whole life. The priest chants mantras and the wedding couple perform four circles around the holy fire.
The main post wedding ceremony is the Vidai in which the bride leaves her parent’s house and move to her new in-laws house along with her life mate. The newly wedded couple is welcomed by the in-laws with lot of dhol and nagadas. In the doorway of the groom’s house, the bride’s feet are washed with the groom’s parents. The bride sprinkles the milk in all the corners of the house. Then the bride picks salt in her hand and places it in her husband’s hand. He passes the same back to the bride’s hand without falling out any salt. This is done three times. The ritual signifies that just as the salt melts to give taste to the food, the bride will blend in her new family.
The marriage ceremony finally ends with Chhanar ritual which is the removal of Dev, totemic deity. This ritual is known as Dev Uthana. They mark the occasion and welcome to the new person with lot of celebrations.