Pakistani Wedding Customs
A Pakistani wedding, like others is
a ceremony to celebrate the wedlock of a bride and a groom. It
brings closer the families of a bride and a groom. A wedding
ceremony has great importance in different cultures of the
world. Different cultures have different ways of wedding
celebrations and have different wedding traditions.
Pakistan, an Islamic country located
in South Asia and the Greater Middle East, has a great culture with
rich customs. A Pakistani wedding is a great feast of fun, wearing
fancy clothing, merriments, and celebrations. It is celebrated
with great fervor. A Pakistani wedding is followed by several
pre-wedding customs and rituals.
Men and Women wear Pakistani Clothing of various styles and fashions.
It is important to note that
some of the customs followed in Pakistani weddings have no
foundation in Islam. However, the Pakistani culture has adopted
those ceremonies and traditions from the Hindu culture.
Mangni is the
engagement ceremony that marks the formal engagement of couple. The
small ceremony takes place in the presence of a few important
members of would-be bride & groom’s family. Prayer and blessings for
the couple are recited and the wedding date is decided in
Mayun is custom of
the bride entering into the state of seclusion eight to fifteen days
before the wedding. She’s made free of all the chores and errands
around the house. The bride and groom are not allowed to see each
other after the Mayun; bride is not allowed to leave her house. The
beautification rituals begin during this time.
is a paste made from turmeric, sandalwood powder,
herbs and aromatic oils, which groom's mother brings for bride. She
blesses bride and applies “uptan’ to the bride's hands and face.
Groom's sister also does the same, and a thick string called a
“gana” is tied to the bride’s arm. “Uptan” is applied to the bride's
skin each day leading up to the wedding. Similar ceremony is held
for the groom, where bride's mother, sisters, cousins and friends
bring “uptan” for groom and rub it on his skin.
is a popular ceremony of singing traditional wedding &
accompanied by two or three percussion instruments
Dolki being the main. The girl is officially treated as bride
(dulhan). She wears traditional Pakistani yellow outfit. Her
brothers, sisters, and cousins bring her (bride) in the dholki
Rasm E Mehndi (Henna
Party) takes place a day before the wedding. It’s a
ceremony mainly of women. They apply Mehndi (Henna)
to the bride's hands and feet, sing, dance, and bless the bride.
Sadka (warding off evil through charity) is performed on the bride i.e. donating
money circling three times on the bride’s head. Traditionally mehndi
was brought by groom's parents. Mehndi (Henna)
is applied in beautiful floral designs and sometimes groom's name is
written in designs. After the ceremony dinner is organized for the
guests. Traditionally, the bride is not allowed to take part in the
celebrations and keeps her face hidden in veil.
Rasm E Mehndi is organized for
grooms also in some parts of Pakistan.
is procession of family, relatives, and friends of groom that
accompany the groom to bride’s home for official wedding ceremony.
Groom makes his way to the bride's home on a richly
decked horse or in a car and “baraat” follows in different vehicles.
Groom is given warm welcome by the bride’s family with flower
garlands and rose petals. Family and relatives of the groom and the
bride exchange glasses of juice or sherbet along with money. Guests
are welcomed by the bride’s sisters by playfully hitting them with a
stick wrapped and decorated with flowers.
Nikah is purely
Islamic official wedding ceremony that usually takes place at the
bride’s home. Nikah is
attended by close family members, relatives, and
friends of groom and bride. Usually, the men and women are made to
sit separately, in different rooms, or have a purdah, or curtain,
Nikah-naama (document of marriage
contract) is registered in
Nikahnaama contains several terms and conditions that are to be
respected by both parties (bride & groom). It includes bride’s right
to divorce her husband. Nikahnaama specifies “Meher,” the monetary
amount the groom will give the bride. Meher includes two amounts;
one that is due before the marriage is consummated and the other
that is a deferred amount given to the bride at a time to be
determined. The Meher guarantees the bride's freedom within the
marriage, and acts as the bride's safety net.
The fathers of groom and bride (Walis)
act as witnesses to the wedding. If father is not
available, the senior male, brother or uncle performs the ceremony.
Islamic Imam (called maulana or
maulvi in Urdu) reads selected verses from the Quran and
waits for the Ijab-e-Qubul (proposal and acceptance) of wedding.
Usually, the groom's side makes proposal and the bride's side
conveys her assent. Maulvi and witnesses (gavah) take the Nikahnaama
to the bride and read it aloud to her. She accepts the Nikahnaama
saying 'qabool kiya,' meaning 'I accept and signs it. The Nikahnaama
is then taken to the groom and read aloud to him. He accepts saying
'qabool kiya and signs the document. The Maulvi and witnesses
(gavah) also do sign the Nikahnaama contract and the wedding becomes
legal. The Maulvi recites the Fatihah, the first chapter of the
Quran, and various durud, or blessings to mark the closing of Nikah
After the wedding is legally
announced, dishes of dates and misri (unrefined sugar) are served to
the groom's family. Groom is then escorted to his bride where he’s
allowed to site beside his wife. This is the time when
sisters-in-law of groom play pranks and tease the groom.
is the ceremony of first time “showing of the face”
after the Nikah. The couple is made to see each other in the mirror
and the bride unveils her face that she keeps hidden during the
Nikah. The custom of Mooh
Dikhai is also called “Aarsi Musshaf.” The bride and
groom share a piece of sweet fruit, such as a date and family and
friends congratulate the couple and offer gifts. Dinner is served to
the guests. The sisters, friends, and female cousins of bride take
this opportunity to steal the groom's shoes and demand a sum of
money for shoes. This is very popular custom and groom usually
carries a lot of cash, due to the popularity of this custom. He pays
money to get back his shoes and girls divide the money among
is the ceremony to bid farewell to the bride before
her departure to the groom's house. She says goodbye to her parents,
close friends and family. The Quran is held over her head as a
blessing. It’s a pretty touching moment. Although this practice is
un-Islamic but a lot of Pakistani families have come to adopt it.
Several traditional games are played
at groom’s house. A tray full of a mixture of water and milk is
placed before the couple and a ring is thrown into the mixture and
husband and wife are asked to find the ring. The one who finds the
ring is considered winner and dominant partner in the relationship.
The couple is asked to untie the “ganas” (thick strings) that were
tied on their writs before wedding. The one who unties it first is
considered the dominant partner in the relationship. Bride eats
kheer (sweet, pudding-type desert) out of the groom’s hand. This
customs are designed to make the couple more intimate before the
physical relationship. Groom washes the feet of the bride in a basin
of water that is sprinkled into the four corners of the house. It’s
believed that this brings wealth, prosperity and luck into the home.
is the custom of bringing the bride back to her
parents' home the next day, or on the fourth day after the wedding
(depending on family tradition). Usually bride's brothers perform
the Chauthi and goes to fetch their sister home.
is ceremony to announce the wedding to community and
friends. It’s a grand reception hosted by the groom's parents.
Relatives, friends and community people are invited to the reception
and wedding is celebrated with great fun and festivities.
Islamic Clothing for Men
Islamic Marriage and Wedding
Rulings for women about purification, worship and marriage
Rites and regulations related to marriage celebrations
Early marriages in Islam
Fiqh on Marriage, charity, divorce, and other basics
Muslim marriage and rights of spouses
Issues related to Marriage in Islam
Islamic views about dating and marriage