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Overseas Pakistan Matrimonial

Nikah

If the couple is Muslim, a nikah is performed. Nikah is an Islamic official wedding ceremony that usually takes place at the bride's home. Nikah is attended by close family members, relatives, and friends of groom and bride. Usually, the men and women are made to sit separately, in different rooms, or have a curtain separating them.

The nikah-naama (marriage contract) is registered during the nikah. The nikah-naama contains several terms and conditions that are to be respected by the bride and groom. Nikah-naama specifies mahr, the monetary amount the groom will give the bride. Meher includes two amounts in Pakistani culture, but in Islamic belief is one total amount; one that is due before the marriage is consummated and the other that is a deferred amount given to the bride at a time to be determined. The meher guarantees the bride's freedom within the marriage, and acts as the bride's safety net.

The fathers of groom and bride (waris) act as witnesses to the wedding. If the father is not available, the senior male, brother or uncle performs the ceremony. An Islamic imam (called maulana or maulvi in Urdu) reads the prophetic sermon for marriage which also consists of selected verses from the Quran and waits for the Ijab-e-Qubul (proposal and acceptance) of wedding. Usually, the groom's side makes proposal and the bride's side conveys her assent. Maulvi and witnesses (gavah) take the nikah-naama to the bride and read it to her aloud. She accepts the nikah-naama saying "qabool kiya," and signs it. The nikah-naama is then taken to the groom and reads aloud to him. He also accepts saying "qabool kiya" and signs the document. The maulvi and witnesses all sign the nikah-naama contract and the wedding becomes legal. The maulvi recites the Fatihah (first chapter of the Quran), and various durud (blessings/salutations upon the Prophet) to mark the closing of nikah ceremony.

The grooms side hand out 'bidh' which are small pouches consisting of sweets, and 'chuwarey' which are pieces of dried fruit and nuts.

After this the bride enters the hall, walked in by her brothers usually, and is lead to the stage. She takes her seat to the right side of the groom who is standing in wait for her. At this point the bride's sister and/or female cousin quickly steals his seat.

A few games begin at this point.

She demands money/gifts from the groom in order to vacate the seat for him to sit next to his wife. A playful rapport occurs, with him stating an amount and the sister rejecting it. Sometimes the groom's family also chirps in and asks the poor girl to consider the grooms feelings! This is all done in jest. Eventually she accepts his gift and vacates the seat.

doodh palai:

After the groom takes his place, the sister again brings a glass of milk for the groom and bride to drink from (doodh palai). For this she also demands another gift from him!

jhooti chupai :

Another game is called jhooti chupai (hiding shoes). The sister again, somehow, removes the shoe of the groom then demands salaami/a gift in exchange for it. Similar to the seat game, he and his family will offer amount which she rejects. At this point the sister is gifted with gold jewelry (gold jewelry for the elder sisters and silver for the young ones)

Another part in preparation for the henna night done by some is applying the uptan. Uptan is a paste made of turmeric, sandalwood and other various herbs and is applied on the arms and legs of the bride to be, by her mother, sisters, aunts and friends. This is to make her skin glow in preparation for the henna night and to ward off the evil eye. Some believe it to be good luck too. The bride is then washed down by 7 happily wedded women each pouring a bucket of water on the bride. This symbolizes luck and happiness in the wish that the fortune of these 7 wedded women, in terms of marital bliss, may rub off onto the bride to be. She is then left to wash up and the evening comes to an end.

This marks the end of the games. At this point guests may come up and congratulate the newlyweds and parents, respectively.

Food is served, or should say feasts!



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