Kashmir is known as "Paradise on Earth", the land of beautiful valleys and snow-clad mountain peaks, stretching plains with flowerbeds and frizzy air. It forms a distinct cultural and ethnic group - effervescent, elaborate and easy-going yet. This characteristic trend is reflective in their marriages as well.
A Kashmiri marriage also gives opportunities to all the relatives to enjoy and participate in it substantially. It’s a long list of events and literally speaking a festival rather.
First step towards a Kashmiri wedding is the matching of the horoscopes or teknis of the prospective bride and groom. Emphasis is also laid into matching the background, status and the reputation of the family of the probable match.
Several interesting and colorful ceremonies are observed as a part of the pre-wedding rituals in a traditional Kashmiri wedding. Vanna or a formal commitment ceremony takes place once the two families agree to the alliance. The elderly persons of both sides meet in temple and exchange flowers as a sign of celebration of the formalization of the alliance.
Then Livun is performed which is the traditional cleansing of the house before a wedding. Few days before the wedding, Wanwun or music sessions are held every evening at the houses of both, the bride and the groom. Relatives and neighbours participate in these sessions and make them lively and fun-filled.
About two to three days before the wedding the Bride's family sends out 51 thaals to the groom's family. The thaals are large plates of sweets, fresh and dry fruit, khajur, ghee, sugar and gota.
Mehendi generally takes place one or two days before the wedding. Groom’s family sends flower jewelry and tinsel to the bride. The girl adorns this jewellery as a symbol of her first shringar.
The devgon is a ceremony that marks the transition of the bride and the groom from brahmacharya ashram to grihastha ashram. The bride and the groom worship God Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
In Kashmiri marriages the purohit performs the rituals in front of a sacred fire. A mananmal or golden thread is tied to the foreheads of the bride and the groom. The left foot of the bride and groom are placed on a kajwat or grinding stone. The first phera around the sacred fire is made by stepping on seven one-rupee coins. There are a total of seven pheras. The bride and groom feed each other some rice at the end of the ceremony. This is followed by a vidai ceremony.
In Kashmiri marriages the purohit performs the rituals in front of a sacred fire