Pundits are tradition preservers and cling on to their
legacy with determination.
The first important ritual
is the matching of horoscope of the boy and the girl.
Importance is also given to the status, fame and moral
character of the family and their close relatives. This
is followed by "Kasamdary", which is a formal commitment
on the part of both the girl's and boy's families to
The date of the engagement
is fixed by the family purohits, according to the Kashmiri
calendar. On this day the maid servant of the boy's
family goes to the bride's house with gifts and presents
for the bride and also has to feed cream and dry fruits
to her with a silver spoon. On the same day either the
sister-in-law or the brother--in-law of the girl, along
with one or two children, visit the boy's house with
presents for him. Both families hold a music session
in the evening, wherein Kashmiri marriage and folk songs
The girl's "Devgon" (Havan)
ceremony starts with "kanishran" (Bath). In this ritual,
a veil held by young girls is placed over the bride's
head and a mixture of water, rice, milk and curd is
showered along with flowers by the relatives present
with a rendering of mantras by the purohit. Fully dressed
in traditional clothes and headgear, she is draped in
the famous Kashmiri shawl. The shawl is draped over
the bride's head and is appropriately pinned below her
chin. The boy also starts with a bath and comes fully
decked for the ceremony.
The actual marriage is fixed
either during the day or at night. All invitees first
assemble at the groom's residence. The groom normally
wears the pheran and his waistband. Other embellishments
include a sword, which is adjusted in his waistband,
and embroidered slip-on shoes on his feet. The eldest
paternal uncle ties the turban. A plate of rice containing
some money is touched to the left shoulder of the groom
while the turban is being tied. The groom rides a horse
in the marriage procession to the bride's house. They
are greeted and welcomed with the blowing of "shankhs".
The bride's maternal uncle has to carry her out to the
place where the groom is made to stand. The marriage
ceremony start with slokas read by the pundit. The bride
and the groom are told about their duties towards one
another. The couple has to cross their arms one over
the other and hold hands covered with cloth This ritual
is called "Aathwas". Kashmiri folklore holds that the
first one who manages to pull out the other's engagement
ring plays a dominating role in the married life of
the couple. A golden thread (Mananmal) is tied to their
foreheads. Stepping on seven one rupee silver coins
placed in a circle makes the first round around the
sacred fire. The next six rounds are done to the chanting
of mantras. The bride and the groom finally feed each
other some food. They are considered man and wife now.
Then comes the "Bidaai" a time when the bride leaves
her parent's house to take on her responsibilities to
her husband and in-laws.
The same evening of her wedding
the bride accompanied by her husband and two children
has to go to her father's house for dinner. This ceremony
is called "satraat". As a part of the "satraat" ceremony,
the couple is presented new clothes by the bride's parents,
which they have to wear before returning home. "Phirlath"
is a tradition where the couple is invited again for
lunch or dinner by the girl's parents. "Roth Khabar"
- Roth is a one-meter long and half-meter wide cake
decorated with nuts and sent to the groom's family on
a Tuesday or Saturday following the wedding.