Christian Weddings In South India

Published: 11th June 2009
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The word 'wedding' itself raises spirits in the minds of people. In fact, the very sound of the word 'wedding' gives us a joyous bump. Ever wondered what it is about weddings that enthralls and fascinates everyone. Nothing in this world is so gaily celebrated as this union of man and woman in a ceremony called wedding. Everywhere in the world, different kinds of weddings have different ceremonies, as each culture has its own bunch of traditions and customs, based on their ethic origin.

Similarly, the Christian weddings in South India is a blend of Indian and Western customs since the time Christians in India are Indians who have been converted to Christianity by the British Christian missionaries, when Britain ruled India. Therefore, the Indian Christians, while still sticking to their Indian culture have also incorporated some western customs in their weddings. This jovial mingle of Indo-Western customs reflects on the Indian Christian wedding ceremonies as well! But then, one should not mix the concept of Indian Christianity with Indian Christians with Anglo-Indians whose parentages are a mixture of both Indians and British and they just follow only the western culture and traditions.

Well, talking about weddings, as in all other Indian ethnicities, the Indian Christians too opt for the traditional arranged marriages, though that trend is gradually changing, as the generation of today likes to choose partner on its own.

How the Bride and the brides' maids dresses up

The Indian Christian bride is supposed to wear a white or off white saree with or without veil. The brides' maids (again in sarees) and the flower girls dresses have to match the color decor of the wedding! However, of late, it has been observed that many brides are choosing to wear gowns and veils for the church service and then change over to the traditional silk sarees for the wedding reception.

On the day of the wedding, just a few hours before the church service, the sisters of groom and his cousins carry decorated trays containing the wedding saree, the veil, a bible, traditional coconuts, dried fruits like almonds, pista, cashew nuts and Indian sweets to the brides residence and place them in front of the bride. The church pastor, who is also present in the wedding, blesses the saree and hands it over to the bride. After that, the groom's group leave for the church where he awaits the bride at the church alter.

The Church Service During The Wedding Day

The wedding service in a Christian matrimonial is conducted just like all the Christian church weddings in the western countries but there is one difference, instead of the ring the groom places the 'Thali' or 'Mangalsutra' around the neck of the bride amidst the peals of the church bell. The 'Thali' or 'Manglasutra' is a gold chain with a gold pendant in which the symbol of the cross is entrenched. A woman wearing a Thali is a married woman. At times, during the wedding, rings are also exchanged in church. But usually rings are exchanged only during the engagement ceremony. Now, the groom takes the wedding promises holding the gold cross pendant, 'Thali'. Another deviation in an Indian Christian wedding from the western custom is that the groom does not kiss the bride in church as kissing in public is sort of outlawed in India. Finally, the bride and the groom are pronounced as the man and the wife by the church pastor.

After the wedding service takes place, the newly-wed couple walks down the aisle, while the Church Organ plays the 'Wedding March' and the congregation shower rice and flower petals on the couple symbolizing blessings.

After that, there is the usual wedding reception with some usual ceremonies like cutting of cake, proposing the toast to the bridal couple but no dance. Since the Indian christian weddings are a very social event with a huge crowd, dancing and singing are meant for the close family members who dance only when all the guests leave. And then, the couple is forced to drink a glass of milk and banana (a symbol for prosperity and fertility), the couple leaves for their honeymoon. That's about all regarding the rituals of Christian weddings in South India!



Sukhpreet Kaur writes on behalf of Jeevansathi.com, which is India's fastest growing matrimonial website, provides online Indian matrimonial classified services. Jeevansathi.com enables users to create a Christian matrimony profile on the website and allow prospective grooms and brides to contact each other. Users can search for profiles through advanced search options on the website. Users can avail free registration and make initial contact with each other through services available on Jeevansathi.com via Chat, SMS, and e-mail.



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