Wedding – The Holy Practice


Marriage is an important and Holy event in the human
life cycle and also is a social event in a village. In Hunza, Northen Part of
Pakistan, wedding cermonies are simple yet complicated. In this article I would
like to share the rites and rituals specific to the region, Hunza,
Gilgit.


It is celebrated with great zeal and simplicity. The
parents with consent select the suitable boy or girl for the daughter or son
preferably within close relatives. If they mutually understand each other they
get engaged and on the the brides´s family have to prepare a dish called Molida
(a dish prepared with local bread and butter) and Rukhán Putuk (milk, butter and
bread). After having the food, the groom´s family put a white Dopata (scarf) on
the head of the
bride and gives her clothes, pair of shoes, socks and
woollies like sweater and shawl. These gifts are used at special occasions
during engagement and marriage. Many of the gifts are kept for marriage. A day
before or on the wedding day another is being performed by the in-laws by
gifting a called. The engaged couple are given time of 6 months to understand
each other because to live a happy life and decide the quality of life they want
to have. If they make it,the wedding date is decided. If they fail, they inform
their parents accordingly.

The ceremony Nikhah (contract in Islam) takes place in
the Jamat Khan (for Ismaili Muslims only) where both the bride and the groom
sign it in the presence of 6 witnesses and decide the Haq-e- Meher (Right of
Dower, a payment to the bride) – average is Rs 10000 but it starts from 5555,
decided by the both families also after the assessment of financial status of
the bride and groom. It can be paid during the Nikah or the pay some amount and
promise to pay the bride after the Nikah.

The age for getting married for boys is usually early
twenties and the girls can get married in teen age like after seventeen to
nineteen. After the bride and groom go to the bride´s home and do some rituals
and go back to a ground where people dance and bless the bride and groom. They
sit together with two other guys the side friends of the groom and have tea and
Paratha or Putook (welcome drink and fried bread ) with the groom’s friends and
the senior of the village. After that special music is being played on three
traditional musical instruments. All the male of the town dance with their
families and friends of 8 -10 people. In the end of the day the groom with his
friends dance and go back to the bride´s home and enjoy the traditional cuisine
prepared for them. When everyone is done with the food, one senior of the
family stands and advice the bride for the future and also the groom to take
care of their daughter.

The Bride is then asked to leave but she cries because
she doesn’t want to leave the house and the bride´s father or her brother gives
her something which is also tradition in the Gizan. Once the Bride leaves the
females of the village come to the brides house and sign and dance a song (Sini
Sai Siyoni Sai, Lova Lova Loney Lai ), the song was about a bride who died on
the wedding day and her mother replaced the dead bride with her younger
daughter and after the bride left she sung this song for her husband to tell
him what has happened.

After that on the second day the groom meets the
in-laws which is called Khaásh Solum. In the area, weddings are valued more then
anything else. This is also the reason why there are rare cases of divorces. The
daughter-in-laws are empowered to work and support the family. They prefer live
in extended families. They live in cities for jobs or studies. The daughter
in-law can also study further if she wants to or studies after. This is the way
the holy practice goes on.

There are also so many traditional rites with lots of
prayers included in the wedding. The notes tie in this specific cermoney is very
important and has a great value and is practiced with holiness which makes it
the strongest bond between families and reduces the divorce rate.

 

Zar Nigor


 

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