For those of you who have visited my blog before, you might have already read a little something about the Kashmiri Wedding here.
While preparation of food (see Khandar the Kashmiri Wedding) is a very elaborate and lavish affair, the process of finding your soul-mate, the koshur-way is a complicated and tiring process (see Khandar the Kashmiri Wedding – Part 2. )
While talking of the match-making process, I had actually talked of how the ‘thap’ or ‘catching the bride’ is done. 🙂 [It is nothing like it sounds really – don’t start visualizing the savage men running after and catching women. It is a very simple (though in cities it can get very complicated .. but that is another topic), affair. The girl meets the boy’s family and is given a gift as a proof of consent for the marriage.
Now after the ‘thap’ has been done, the marital knot has to be formally declared and this is done in so many phases. (Yes, this is also rather complicated). The boy’s family sends sweets, cakes, dry-fruits and chocolates (now-a-days) to the girl’s family. This is for the girl and for distribution to family, neighbors and friends to announce the ‘thap’ (literally catching) or ‘gandun’ (literally tying up). The girl’s family reciprocate and send their lot of sweets etc. to the boy’s family which is again distributed among their relatives, friends and neighbours.
This marks the official announcement of the marriage intention.
The next stage is the very lavish function called ‘Nishayn’ (literally would translate to symbol) or the ‘Engagement’ ceremony. This is a very formal occasion and is mostly a bride’s family function where the groom’s close family and friends are invited to a very lavish (this is one of the most extravagant feast, far superior to the regular wazwan) feast.
The groom isnt forgotten. A trami filled to the brim with delecacies made of meat is sent to the groom’s house.
The ‘Nishayn’ or the ‘Engagement’ could itself be of two types – the simple ‘Nishayn’ or the ‘Nikah-Nishayn’. The regular ‘Nishayn’ or engagement has no binding effect and is more of formalizing the marital consent (to be done in future). The Nikah-Nishayn is where the actual marriage is solemnized and the ‘nikah’ is done. It might probably a very long set of rituals – but well this is the Kashmiri Wedding – in most of the cities and towns in Kashmir.
(Sidenote: While the weddings in Srinagar and other cities and towns of Kashmir are filled with seemingly never ending functions, the weddings in the village side are rather simple. I will cover that in a different post).
Now getting back to the Engagement function. The bride is to get her henna on her hands the night before her engagement day generally. The engagement itself is a very formal occasion where protocol demands utmost care in handling the guests. According to protocol, the guests are served:
- Juice and a fruit of dry fruit (Rani juice was kinda in fashion the last time I attended an engagement party 😉 )
- followed by Kahwah, with huge peice of black forest or some other pastry and kulcha
- followed by the wazwan itself
- followed by either firni, or halwa, or some other sweet
- followed by the guests getting their little basket of dryfruit (with money inside) to take back with them
The groom’s family usually comes with their load fulls of gifts for the bride which usually includes many gold coins – called ‘pounds’ and ‘sets’ and etc. etc.
Finally the guests leave and the bride’s family hopes that no guest has been offended.
It’s rather tragic that so much money is spent lavish functions which have no meanings. Traditionally, though Wazwan was part of Kashmiri weddings, there have been major changes which just make weddings complicated and (somewhat sad portrait of the Kashmiri society).
Well.. ofcourse the engagement is the beginning of yet another series of visits and then the final wedding etc. Will write about it again in future. Till then, don’t feel nauseated thinking of the trami full of meat (shown above.) You can still think of the good old trami with 7 traditional dishes which was good to eat and pleasing to the eye.