Thursday 14 September 2017

A Simple Guide to Pakistani Wedding Rituals

The traditions of Pakistani wedding explained :-

Pakistani weddings are vibrant, full of glitz and consist of glamorous celebrations. It is celebrated with great zeal and excitement. A typical Pakistani wedding has a host of pre-wedding customs and rituals.

Pakistan weddings are a colourful affair with everyone wearing dazzling outfits. When the wedding season starts large families get together and everyone is in the mood to party. Pakistani marriages are a mix of different rituals, from pre-engagement festivities to the Walima; all have their own Islamic and traditional importance.

Engagement (Mangni)

The first step in getting married is the engagement ceremony also known as Mangni in Urdu. It can be a small or large ceremony depending on the size of the family, but usually it is a small event with few important family members of would-be bride & groom's family. The future couple gets blessings from the elders and the marriage day is decided at the engagement.



The Mayun ritual means the bride to be is secluded from everything and is not supposed to do any chores or errands around the house. After the Mayun, the future couple can't see each other and the bride is not allowed to leave the house. The actual Mayun involves beautifying the bride by putting some oil and yellow paste known as 'uptan'. To be honest Mayun is just an excuse for the family to get together with lots food, chatter and off course dance and music.

Dholki aka Drum Beating

The Dholki party is singing, dancing, chatting and food are part of Dholki sessions. A traditional Pakistani marriage event starts with lot of drum beating accompanied with singing and entertainment. They are usually held at houses where family and friends dance and sing traditional songs to the beat of Dholki. The bride wears a yellow outfit whereas the groom wears a white outfit with yellow scarfs.

The Most Awaited Ritual – Mehndi (Henna)

Everyone waits for the best part and the largest party of the wedding and this takes place a day before the marriage. In the Rasm-e-Mehndi (Henna Party) the bride's hands and feet are applied with Mehndi. The sisters and cousins sing, dance and bless the bride. Charity is given to protect against evil by circling money three times on the bride's head. The family organises the dinner for the guests and the bride is not allowed to take part in the celebrations and hid behind a veil. The groom also has a Mehndi ceremony where a leaf is put on his hand and his relatives put little bits of Mehndi on the leaf. The bride and groom both have to eat a lot of ladoos (an Indian sweet).


When family, relatives and friends of groom go with the groom to the bride for the official marriage ceremony. In olden times, the groom procession used to go to the bride's house but now a days this has changed, it either goes to the wedding hall or a marquee. The groom makes his way to the bride's house on a brightly decorated horse or a car and the follow "baratees" follow in other cars. The bride side gives a warm welcome to the groom and throws rose petals and even money.

Nikah and Nikah Naama

Nikah is the official Islamic marriage ceremony that is attended by close family members, relatives and friends from the both sides. There is segregation and men and women sit in separate rooms or have a curtain between them.nikah-naama is the document of the marriage contract and has several terms and conditions that are to be respected by both parties. This marriage contract also states the "Meher", the money groom will give the bride. It also includes the bride's right to divorce her husband. The Meher acts as asafe-guard for the bride.

The fathers of groom and bride are at witnesses to the wedding contract. An Islamic religious authority (Imam) conducts the wedding by reading some selected verses from the Quran to bless the marriage. After both bride and groom have accepted the proposal and said 'I accept' three times, the nikah naama is signed and wedding becomes legal. The Imam then holds a special prayer for the newly married couple, closing the marriage ceremony. The food is served after the nikah is done and the groom is taken to sit beside his wife.

Wedding Favours (Bidh)

After the nikah ceremony is performed the groom's family distribute favours (bidh). Packets of sweet stuff such as dates and other delicacies. It's a sunnah as well.



The ceremony to bid farewell to the bride before departure to the groom's house is called 'rukhsati'. She says good-bye to her parents and her loved ones. To give her extra blessings, the Quran (Holy Book) is held over her head. This is a very emotional and heart touching moment.

Mooh Dikhai

The ceremony in which the bride shows her face for the first time to her new husband after the marriage is called Mooh Dikhai. The bride shows her face for the first time to her new husband which is hidden from him before nikah. The bride and groom share a piece of date and give each other gifts. The groom's shoe is stolen and the bride's sisters and cousins demand money. This ritual is called 'jootachupai' and the groom has to pay sums of money to get his shoe back.

Mooh Dikhai


Walima is a grand reception thrown by the groom's parents to announce the wedding to friend near and far. Great food is served and the walima ceremony is celebrated with all the glitz, glamour, fun and festivities.



The custom of bringing the bride back after the walima day back to her parents' home is called 'chauthi'. The bride's brother usually performs this ritual alongside other members of the family.

One thing should be kept in mind that many of these rituals are not from Islamic traditions but are taken from Hindu culture.

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