Indian Weddings are joyous affairs and leave behind memories of a lifetime. The union of a girl and boy in wedlock is enjoyed more by everybody else than the Bride and Bridegroom themselves. There are several ceremonies that lead up to the occasion of the sacred fire, the tying of the mangalsutra and the saat pheras of the would-be-couple, one such being the Sangeet Ceremony.
(See that split from a grin to a wide smile and the loud cheerful laughter that follows when it is mentioned.)
The most awaited, the most enjoyed and the most felt for on its ending, is the Sangeet Ceremony. Earlier restricted to some parts of North India it is today a national item that is a must for most average households. The general cry is “If there is to be a wedding, it cannot be complete without the Sangeet Ceremony”. This musical bonanza with fun and frolic for all concerned could be a short-lived affair of just an hour or two, (maybe more in eccentric cases) but is the most inclusive and enjoyable part of the entire wedding programme. It is the only time in the entire several-day itenary of the marriage rituals when young and old unite to ‘rock the foundations’.
Once arranged by the family of the bride and later also hijacked by the groom’s side, it has come to be a joint affair in most cases now. (Maybe organizing by the boy’s family could be part of the dowry). A lot of in-depth planning over lunches, separately by different age-groups, a lot of songs and singing, swirl and twirl, snacks and sweetmeats are listed out elaborately for the event, to be finalized later. Dance steps are practised, dresses appropriately ear-marked for purchase and sometimes even professional singers and dancers are hired based on the ecstasy and madness felt.
In olden times it was known differently as a get-together of women, for women and by women, just prior to the marriage and seen as the last of the joyous days that a mother gets to be with her daughter in a very long time. Songs were sung on the theme of marriage and love with sentimental and soulful bollywood tunes contributing their fair share. On the beat of a dhol with enterprising girls and women doing a jig it was a small affair that lasted till the emotions ran out and once again women busied themselves in the wedding activities.
Today base on the venue and the budget, a program is literally drawn, announced and got readied for. Invitations to participants, close family and friends are made out from both sides in consultation and the day eagerly waited for. The budget for certain communities touches on an average upto three lakhs for the entire episode so a lot of fun-filled activities are crammed to the hilt, so as not to waste a minute of the stipulated time.
For the extra rich the sky’s the limit. You could even have a ghazal nite as part of the festivities.
Enjoyable parodies, garba dance, small dance routines, songs belted out by professionals, orchestra music or a professional stage show – any of these or a combination could be the way to express one’s happiness and lap up the ensuing atmosphere in the Sangeet Ceremony. Soul is out; fast-beat foot-tapping numbers are the order of the day.
Simple to lavish spreads await the tired spirits after the frenzied movements. The menu could be simple meals enjoyed together to a regular feast or a buffet-style bash.