A Parsi wedding is full of fun-filled customs that one enjoys while observing. The rituals are primarily divided into pre wedding, wedding and post wedding basis.
Rituals of Pre-wedding phase:
Some time before the marriage, the bride and groom go through the Nahan ritual. This is done so that the bride and the groom are physically as well as mentally purified before starting a brand new phase in their life. The Tradition says that after this, the bride and groom cannot touch any third person who is neither a part of their family nor belongs to their caste.
Parsi lagan usually takes place either at a Baug or at an Agiary – the Fire Temple. The Zoroastrians consider the period immediately after sunset or very early in the mornings auspicious for marriage. Most weddings generally take place at about 6.40 p.m. A chalk or rangoli pattern adorns every staircase and doorway on the day of the Parsi lagan. Even the gates of the wedding venue or baug are decorated with large colorful designs.
Rituals on the wedding day:
Achumichu: At the wedding venue, the bride’s mother performs this ritual. She takes a tray with a raw egg, supari, rice, coconut, dates and water. The coconut is taken by her and circled around the groom’s head for seven times and then broken on the floor to his right side. The bride then steps onto the stage for her future mother-in-law to perform the same.
Ara Antar: The couple sits facing each other separated by a cloth and given rice. The priest circles the couple seven times and the couple showers the rice at the end of the rounds.
Chero Bandhvanu: With seven strings binding the couple, the marriage prayers start. Rice and rose petals are showered, rings exchanged and fire from the agiary is brought for paying respect.
Haath Borvanu: This is the custom of extracting money from the groom by his new sister-in-law and he is made to keep his hands in water till he pays up. In pag dhovanu, the sister-in-law threatens to pour milk on his shoes to get money and in Chero Chorvanu, she unties the strings binding the couple, again on the promise of getting payment. Later, the couple visits the fire temple for blessings.
Rituals in Post-wedding phase:
The bash is celebrated in a big way with freely-flowing drinks, food and music. Traditional four-course meals include delicious Parsi bhonu like sarya (crisps), achaar – rotli (pickle and rotis), patra ni macchi (steamed fish), salli margi (chicken with potato crisps), lagan nu custard, pulao-dal and ice cream.
The wedding day finally ends with the couple being escorted home by the bride’s family and the achumichu being performed once again by the groom’s mother for the newlywed couple in togetherness.