Interesting Regional Wedding Customs – A Journey Across Pakistan

Weddings in Pakistan are an extravagant affair, buzzing with vibrant celebrations and meticulous planning. With each passing day, wedding customs in Pakistan are becoming more elaborate and costly, as families strive to create unforgettable experiences for the newlyweds. This demands a certain level of expertise from wedding photographers and event decor vendors, who are expected to bring fresh, innovative ideas to the table. Visit Shadiyana to choose the best ones for yourself.

Pakistani weddings usually echo with lively music, adorned venues, and captivating décor. Beyond these, there are several cherished traditions that punctuate the ceremony, adding depth and meaning to the festivities.

Wedding is a carefully planned affair, spanning over weeks and months. People put their hearts and souls into planning it. It gets started with the proposal, usually followed by the joyful announcement of engagement. Then comes the revered tradition of the Baraat, where the groom, accompanied by his closest friends and relatives, embarks on a journey to the bride's home. Here, the bride, resplendent in a red or maroon lehenga intricately adorned with mostly gold jewelry, awaits her beloved.

Let’s take a spin around the wedding customs in the regional parts of Pakistan.

Wedding Customs in Waziristan

Marriage customs in Waziristan are deeply ingrained in the region's cultural fabric, governed by an unwritten set of rules, generally known as "Wazirwalla" or "Wazir qanun." Generations have adhered to these traditions, shaping their lives and relationships within this framework.

According to these customs, young men from esteemed families have the liberty to select a bride from any family, provided they secure consent from their parents.

Zagh pa Waka

The process of finding a spouse, known as Zagh pa Waka, is a meticulous one. Typically, a young man expresses his interest in a girl by firing shots outside her house, signifying his intentions. However, this gesture is only made if the girl's consent is known beforehand. Rejection of the proposal can lead to potential conflicts. Thus, emphasizing the need for caution in such matters.

Losnewai

Following the selection of a bride, a series of wedding rituals commence. The engagement, known as Losnewai, marks the first step in this journey. Held at a bustling market, both families come together to decide on a date for the engagement, accompanied by celebratory gunfire from the groom's side.

Then comes a significant aspect of the wedding attire, that is the Ganr Khat, an intricately embroidered dress worn by the bride. While both families contribute to the preparation of wedding attire, special emphasis is placed on the dress crafted by the groom's family, reserved for the wedding day. Women from both families come together, sewing the attire amidst the melodious tunes of folk songs, symbolizing unity and tradition.

Then Comes the Bride…

On the wedding day, the bride's family welcomes the groom's family with a playful ritual, spraying colored water and throwing pebbles showing their distress upon the bride’s leaving. A lavish feast follows, accompanied by a lively celebration featuring the Baragai Attan dance around a bonfire to folk tunes. Meanwhile, the groom patiently awaits his bride at home.

Once the bride arrives at her new home, she spends three days adjusting to her surroundings, receiving visits from relatives, in a room. On the third day, she joins other village girls to fetch water from the well before a maulvi conducts the nikah ceremony, marking her union with her future husband.

Traditionally these extravagant celebrations in Waziristan have dwindled due to changing times and security concerns. Today, wedding rituals are simpler, with the groom's family often visiting the bride's home during the day for tea and refreshments, accompanied by minimal singing and dancing. Many customs have faded, impacted by societal changes and the influence of radicalism, leaving some groans over the loss of the joy and vibrancy of past traditions.

Regional Wedding Customs in KPK

In a Pashtun wedding, after designating a specific date for the marriage, a special tradition known as "Siyakhni" is observed. This musical custom spans several nights preceding the traditional wedding ceremonies, with songs celebrating the couple. The bride is secluded in a room adorned with sheets around her seating area. On the day leading up to the mehndi night, a cow or buffalo is slaughtered to prepare a feast for the guests. The groom's family brings mehndi to the bride's home along with gifts, a custom known that is a part of Siyakhni.

The groom typically wears a traditional ensemble comprising shalwar kameez, waistcoat, Peshawari chappal, and sehra, while the bride's attire includes a red dress adorned with intricate embroidery, complemented by shalwar. Makeup and jewelry play significant roles in her ensemble.

Weddings in this region often take place during the daytime. As the bride departs with her groom for their new home, the procession halts a few steps from the groom's house. The groom then carries his bride over the threshold in a unique ritual known as "Dehleez Par." The nikah ceremony typically occurs after Isha prayers, and the groom invites guests for valima on the third day.

Balochi Wedding Customs

Balochi wedding ceremonies unfold over seven days, marked by unique traditions. The bride participates in "QJIIa." It is a tradition of spending two days in a room with her friends, receiving attentive care. The Mehndi rituals extend over two days, with the groom's and bride's sisters bringing mehndi to each other's homes. Nikah is held at the bride's house, followed by a symbolic gesture where the couple gently nudge their heads together seven times. This tradition is also followed by a lot of people other than Balochi. And is a cute way of making the couple bond together. 

On the seventh day, the bride adorns herself in wedding attire and jewelry, bidding farewell to her family. After arriving at her new home, relatives and friends offer congratulations for several days. The following day, guests are invited to Valima, featuring traditional Balochi cuisine. This meal is offered by the groom’s family.

Regions of Sindh and Wedding Customs

In Sindh, the sweetness of "Misri" symbolizes unity between the bride and groom before the lively mehndi festivities begin. The "Sanhh" ritual sees seven women apply oil on the bride's hair, while "Sagary" showers her with fragrant rose petals. The bride is adorned with lavender leaf ornaments by the groom's married sisters, symbolizing prosperity, before applying Ubtan to both the bride and groom's hands. Groom's sisters and aunts sing and tie the sehra, marking the groom's readiness. Nikah takes place at the bride's home, followed by a traditional departure in bridal attire.

At the groom's home, the couple gazes at each other in the "Aarsi Mashaf" mirror and shares milk from a single glass. The festivities continue with a grand feast the following day, attended by guests and loved ones.

Colorful Wedding Customs of Punjab

Punjabi weddings are vibrant reflections of Punjab's cultural richness. Just like the people and culture, wedding customs are also full of life and enjoyment. The "Mungni" ceremony marks the formal association of the girl's name with her future husband, followed by days of joyful musical celebrations where drums set the rhythm for singing and dancing. Mehndi festivities are equally lively. With intricate henna designs adorning the bride's hands and feet, even the guests make sure to get some applied on their hands.

On the eve of the wedding, the groom's head is adorned with a colorful sehra before the Nikah ceremony. It is also termed as “Sehra Bandi.” It means tying the sehra. Similarly, a playful tradition ensues as the bride's sisters playfully hide the groom's shoe, only returning it in exchange for some money. Then the bride bids farewell to her family and is carried to her new home in a traditional doli.

The celebration continues with the valima feast, where guests, relatives, and friends gather to share in the newlywed couple's joy. It is an event that symbolizes the declaration that the bride and groom are now married. 

Even though these regions are distant from each other. But still bear similarity in the wedding rituals. People of Pakistan, however different they might be, are joined together with these traditions and festivities. 

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FAQs

What is the breakdown of weddings in Pakistan?

Pakistani weddings can go on for as long as a week or two. Pre-wedding functions include baat pakki, engagement, dholki, mayun, ubtan, and mehndi. Then the actual wedding day i.e. baraat or nikah day and then finally the reception. 

What are marriage customs?

These are the traditions that are generally linked with and performed on weddings.

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