Marriage customs are different in different parts of the world. Sometimes they also vary from city to city in same country. Similarly in Pakistan marriage customs are not same in all cities. Even in one big city, marriage ceremonies are celebrated in different ways.
The marriage is usually arranged between the elders of bride-groom and the bride either directly or through an informer. First of all, some relatives of the bride-groom visit the house of the bride to have a look at her and appraise her social status. Then, some family members of the bride visit the house of the bride-groom. The proposal of marriage is offered to the guardians of the bride. If it is accepted, the father of bride-groom goes to the house of the bride and settles the details of the marriage with her father and a date is fixed for engagement.
On the appointed day, a selected few from bride-groom’s side visit the bride’s house. They carry with them baskets of sweets, a ring and garments for the bride. The guests are offered tea, cold drinks or dinner. In the same way some family members of the bride also visit the bride-groom’s house.
It takes some time to fix the date of wedding. After a few fays the Nikah ceremony is arranged, the bride-groom is take to the bride’s house in company of his parents, relatives and friends. They are received by the family members of the bride. The Nikah Registrar makes a number of entries in the register and thus prepares the legal documents of wedding.
The Mullah asks the bride-groom thrice whether he agrees to marry such and such girl. Likewise the consent of bride is obtained through two witnesses. Then the Mullah recites a few versus from the Holy Quran, prays for there success in marital life and declares them to be husband and wife. Then sweets or dry-dates are distributed among all present.
Great care is taken to fix a lucky day for actual wedding. A number of ceremonies are held before the appointed day.
On the wedding day, the bride-groom is mounted on a bedecked horse and all the guests form a grand procession and proceed to the house of the bride beating drums, playing music and letting off fire-works and on return the bride sits in a palanquin. Or the bride-groom and the guests sit in cars and buses if the house of bride is at a distance. Every effort is made to decorate their houses. The procession is given a warm welcome. The elders on the both sides embrace and exchange presents. The guests are seated and server with cold drinks. The dinner is server first to the gents then to the ladies. Every effort is made to provide comfort to the guests.
After the dinner, the bride-groom is led into the ladies section. He is given some milk to drink and he gives some money in return. He is also presented with gifts and money by the relatives and friends of the bride. The dowery is displayed. The bride returns from the beauty parlor with her friends. She puts on the wedding garments and ornaments.
At the last the time for winding up the ceremony comes. The dowery is loaded and bride is seated in palanquin or a car. Promises of strengthening good relations are made and the marriage procession returns home-ward. On arriving the house of bride-groom, the guests depart to their homes and ceremony comes to an end.
Written By: Syed Faiz Mujtaba