Engagement is a revelation of a prior commitment or marriage. It is an old yet famous ritual and has been around since the ancient Vedic era. In India, the engagement is when the bride and groom exchange rings and perform a ritual of being committed to each other. It may seem like a pretty common, predictable ritual, but here are seven things you didn’t know about Indian engagements:
1 – Sagai
Sagai is the most general word you hear when your pronounce the word engagement. However, in diffferent states throughout the country, people call it the aashirwad ceremony, chunni chadana, sagan ceremony, magni. The rituals of sagai are the same, but what people call it varies depending on location and religion.
2 – Adan Pradan
Adan pradan is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘give and take.’ It is the time during an Indian engagement when the two families sit together and decide the future ceremonies that will be held in the upcoming days according to their formal agreement. The priest calculates and decides the dates on which the marriage is most prominent and sacred for the future well being of the newlyweds.
3 – Gujarati Customs
In Gujarati customs, the engagement is pronounced as Sagaai. The bride’s family arrives with a steel container ‘Matli’ which is full of sweets and pakwaans for the groom and the rest of his family. The mandap muhurat is a ritual where both families pray for Lord Ganesh’s blessings for a successful marriage. Griha shanti pooja and jaan are also one of the many rituals performed by the Gujaratis. The dandia raas is another famous event in where the families dance together with sticks.
4 – Christian Engagements
During Christian engagements, the engagement ceremony is pretty much the same as other religions. However, it is not as loud as Punjabi or Gujarati ceremonies. They prefer a small get-together where the soon to be bride and the groom exchange rings followed by a light dinner party celebrating with a few drinks.
5 – Northern Indian Customs
In most of the North Indian states, the ceremony gets finalized as soon as the dates of the marriage get finalized. The famous ritual of the tilak is done in which the auspicious vermilion paste and rice are applied to the forehead of the groom. Then, they simultaneously exchanging sweets, fruit baskets, and jewelry. The girl is draped with a gorgeous chunni or stole which is provided by the groom’s family. Finally, the couple exchange rings.
6 – South Indian Customes
It might seem funny, but south Indian families don’t really consider the presence the bride or the groom. Instead, they follow a bond of commitment. This type of ceremonial custom would be common in a Chavara matrimony, for example.
Even with this difference, the rituals of south and north India for this type of ceremony are still basically the same. They exchange ‘tattu’ which is an ‘engagement plate’ which consists of coconut, beetle leaves, auspicious vermilion paste, flowers, and beetle nuts.
7 – Exchanging of Sweets – Why?
Exchanging sweets seem to be the most common of the all other events, but why? Exchanging sweets simply means to “live a sweet life.” In earlier times, exchanging sweets was the only tradition of things exchanged between the bride and groom, but the present era brings exchanging rings as an important ritual.
These ceremonies conclude with the blessings of the elderly members of the family and the Almighty.