Beautiful bride draped in a red saree and jewelries and surrounded by her relatives and friends is waiting for the groom to arrive. Few minutes later, we can hear the music played by an orchestra band dressed up in red attire. Following the band are the relatives and friends of groom dancing to the tune of the music and then arrives the groom in a car decorated with colorful flowers in a procession (“Janti”). People from the bride’s family reach to the venue’s door to welcome the groom and his side with flowers and garlands and then the wedding ceremony begins with several rituals performed. This is what we see typically in a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony in Nepal.
Nepal is predominantly a Hindu nation and the weddings are still a traditional affair though touched by a hint of modernity. Wedding ceremonies of ethnic communities such as Brahmins, Chettries, Newars and others involve lots of traditional and colorful rituals and are a huge social event.
Still today, arranged marriages are largely prevalent among Nepalese community where parents (or immediate relatives) search for the potential spouse of their children. However, with the touch of modernization, decisions are not forced to the children and they are allowed to make a choice.
Hindu system strictly adheres to the astrological situations and the rituals are heavily centered on the position of planets, stars, heavenly bodies and all. Kundalis (astrological paper) and Gotras are matched by the astrologers to ensure that the to-be bride and groom are fit for each other so that their wedded life won’t come across any sort of hindrances. From fixing the auspicious engagement and wedding date to wedding time, everything is done in consultation with astrologers.
In the typical Brahmin Hindu wedding, the groom's family fixes the wedding date and the bride's family is informed. On the very date, groom accompanied by his friends and relatives go in a procession. The size of the procession depends upon the economic status of both the sides. The procession is led either by traditional musical band known as “Panche Baja” or Indian or modern band. The bride's family receives the procession with great enthusiasm and delight. A reception ceremony called “Bhoj” is organized. It is immediately followed by “Swayambar” in which bride and groom exchange garlands and wedding rings. Then a long religious ritual takes place in which the major events include “Hawan”, “Kanyadan” and “Sindur” (putting vermilion powder. The entire religious ritual takes five to six hours. Finally, greetings and introduction of new relatives is done before bidding farewell to a bride.
The bride is then taken to the groom's house and both of them have to conduct several religious rituals at the groom’s place as well. The groom’s clan deities and gods are worshipped. Then comes the fun and interesting part where the daughter-in-law and the mother-in-law together have to engage in several familiarizing games. An introduction program and grand feast is organized and the ceremony finally concludes.
Buddhist weddings in Nepal are often quieter occasions, with a focus on ceremonial displays. The weddings are usually extremely large, sometimes encompassing whole villages and large numbers of extended family.
Many tourists are attracted by the Hindu wedding rituals in Nepal. There has been increasing trend of not just observing but performing their wedding just like the Nepali system.
“We just don’t organize the wedding tours, but also arrange the ceremony if you want to celebrate the joy of your togetherness in a traditional Hindu style. Release all your worries and let us manage everything. For the wedding tour, the best venues we arrange in Kathmandu are Guhyeshwori Temple, Dakshinkali Temple, Bhadrakali Temple etc.”