Pakistan is a beautiful country with a blend of cultures that dates back to its link with the Indian subcontinent. Pakistani people follow many traditions from the Mughals in South Asia. Pakistani weddings are full of joy, food, and tradition and these conventions make them unique. They include many rituals and different traditions. They do not culminate in a single day, rather on average they last over a week or even two.
Pakistani weddings are associated with cultural traditions that add to the splendor of the events. Whether you choose your grand wedding or a modest wedding, it is very important to have a tradition without which a wedding is not complete. If you are engaged in a Pakistani wedding, prepare yourself for a week of celebrations, fun, and love. Since Pakistan was partitioned from India in 1947, many of these customs are shared by the people of both countries.
Wedding day is a special day in the life of every human being and it has different importance in every tradition and society. Wedding customs vary according to regional and cultural differences and we have some of the most unique wedding ceremonies in the world. In the Western social order, marriage has lost its significance in comparison with Pakistani society.
there are so many wedding traditions in Pakistan that make your wedding unique and beautiful.
- Sending Wedding Proposal
The first step in any marriage is to send a marriage proposal. Despite the growing rate of love marriages in Pakistan, there are still practices of tying the knot through receiving proposals. It is still highly challenging for a Pakistani guy to submit a marriage proposal of his pick since the mixing of men and women is still frowned upon in many homes.
Once a decision has been made by either the man or woman or both, one or more representatives of the potential groom’s family pay a visit to the potential bride’s family. And meanwhile, the men’s family proposes marriage. In arranged marriages, the first visit is purely for the parties to become acquainted with one another and does not include a formal proposal. In semi-arranged marriages, the first or second visit may include a formal proposal, since both the man and woman have already agreed to marriage prior – the proposal is more or less a formality. In love marriages, the man directly proposes to the woman.
The engagement ceremony is the first in the events of marriage. It can be a simple family gathering or a grand event. It involves the exchange of rings to symbolize marriage and acceptance of the proposal. Some families choose to skip this event because ‘zabaan’ communication is given more importance in their homes.
In traditional engagement ceremonies, the bride and groom are not seated together. The groom’s family visits the bride’s house and often the groom’s mother or sister puts the ring on the bride. The event’s theme requires a particular look and a special touch of wedding decorations.
Mayun ceremony is a traditional practice in Pakistani weddings. The ceremony is held in the homes of the bride and groom in the presence of relatives and friends. In this event, the people of both houses participate in each other’s events and perform Mayun rituals. In Mayun, the bride’s dress, makeup, and hair are often kept simple. Mayun is the most favorite function in the entire marriage. Usually, the bride wears yellow clothes and has flower jewelry on her hands, ears, and forehead. The face is free of makeup and she keeps her head covered
A week before the wedding, the women of the bride’s family start the ritual of applying ubtan So that the beauty of the bride is enhanced and the bride looks radiant on her wedding day. These rituals mainly represent the bride’s preparation for her wedding day. All the women gather at the bride’s parents’ house and rub her face, arms, hands, feet, and legs with a bright yellow mustard-colored paste this is called ‘ubtan’
On these days the bride is dressed in yellow clothes and yellow bangles are worn. During these days the bride is expected not to bathe for a few days so that the ubtan penetrates deep into her skin. The bride is not allowed to go out of her house during the ubtan. In many families, this ritual is performed for the groom as well while some keep this ceremony only for the bride.
The name Dholki comes from an Indian musical instrument called “dholak,” a type of drum. Dholki is a women-only ceremony that takes place a week before the mehndi night. Some people start the dholki a week before the wedding, then it takes place daily. On a floor covered in colorful carpets and pillows for this little ceremony, everyone springs up in a loop to sing traditional Pakistani wedding melodies and songs to the rhythm of a dholak.
Women and girls of various ages gather together and beat the drum to the rhythm of the beat while the other sits across from her with a spoon or metal silverware. Previously, only the bride’s family and friends would be invited to the dholki night, however, times have changed and some families invite the in-laws to attend. Women play drums and sing popular wedding songs that involve teasing the bride, groom, and often the mother-in-law.
There is no doubt that dholki celebrations are full of laughter, joy, and happiness, it is the best way to start Pakistani weddings. Typically, the dholki traditions are separate, and the bride and groom each have their own. The dholki tradition allows for bonding with all the family members separately before the union. A dholki is a traditional part of a Pakistani wedding that involves a lot of relaxed fun for the close family and friends of the couple
Wedding celebrations include mehndi celebrations for the bride and her relatives and friends, for which a professional is chosen to decorate the bride’s hands, feet, and arms with beautiful designs. Traditionally, this ceremony is held for the bride, but now this ceremony is also organized for the groom, In which oil is applied to his head
Closely related to this function are clothes that match the theme, which usually revolve around yellow and green. The dance is generally between boys and girls. Most of the guests’ time is spent applying henna and oil to the bride and groom. As part of the tradition, the bride does not work in her marital home until her hands are stained with henna.
- Nikaah Ceremony
The Nikah ceremony is a wonderful and emotional ceremony for Pakistanis. For Nikah, there must be at least two male witnesses who can confirm that the couple is not forced to accept by the family or someone else Marriage cannot take place without witnesses, and marriage cannot take place even if the bride and groom are forced to accept it. Earlier the bride and groom used to sit in separate rooms, but now the trend is changing, the bride and groom sit next to each other with a white net as separation, which is a beautiful sight to behold.
The most important part of the entire marriage is the marriage contract, which is also called the contract of life. After saying ‘Qubool Hai’, they sign what is known as Nikah Nama, which contains the terms and conditions agreed to by the couple. Nikah can be done before or after Mehndi, Mayun, Dholki, or on the day of Barat, it depends on both families.
The bride and groom choose special attire for the occasion, the bride wears a red lehenga and the groom wears a golden and white sherwani. People attending the ceremony; greet the newlywed couple with good wishes. Dry dates are distributed.
- Baraat Ceremony
A barat is a joyous wedding procession for the groom that includes dance and live music. Barat is the day when the groom arrives with his family to take away the bride. This concept started in North India but now it has been accepted by different cultures and countries including Pakistan. A modern-day Barat is hosted at a large wedding hall with delicious food and many photo opportunities.
The bride’s family organizes the ceremony The women of the bride’s family put rose petals on plates and shower them to welcome the groom and his family. Later the bride comes out and sits with the groom after which they have small rituals. Small traditions like doodh pilai or jota chupai also take place to add fun to the glorious day.
Another tradition involves giving money to the bride and groom. Referred to as salami, those in attendance go on stage to congratulate the couple and give them money as a token of happiness.
After the end of the barat ceremony, the bride leaves with tears in her eyes, abusing her family and showing her commitment to them. It’s one of the hardest things ever. It’s something you’re never prepared for, no matter how much you think about it. The bride’s parents or her brother or any other relative places the Holy Qur’an on the bride’s head and sends her away under the shadow of the Qur’an. This is a sign that she is sending her daughter to her husband with God’s peace and protection. It becomes a very emotional scene as the daughter moves from family to family
Two moments in a Pakistani wedding are the most difficult for a bride, one is when she signs the marriage contract and the other is the time of departure when she leaves her family and steps into a new chapter of her life. There are tears in the eyes, not only in the family but also satisfaction in the parent’s hearts that they are now done with their duty and just praying for a happy marriage for their daughter’s new life.
- Walima Ceremony
An Arabic term implying the sense of gathering and assembling is called Walima, and it is the ritual carried out to recognize the Nikkah formally. Usually, the groom plans the walima ceremony. Walima is the last ceremony of any Pakistani wedding. Usually, Valimas has a comfortable atmosphere with beautiful flowers and lighter-colored decor.
Walima is done on the next day or a few days after the Barat, whichever is convenient for both families, but it is very essential to do it, It is Sunnah to do Walimah and it is emphasized in Islam that whether a big ceremony is held or food is fed among the poor, this Sunnah must be followed. And it is also important in our social existence. After this ceremony, the bride returns to her parent’s house, then 1 or 2 days later the groom and his family go where they officially take the bride home with them.