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Unique Wedding Rituals of Meghalaya

December 13, 2017
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As rightly said, India is a country with unity in diversity. Rightly said, we differ from each other in many culture, language, traditional and even marriage rituals, but we all stand united as one nation. Though many people of Northeastern India claim that they belong to the state of Meghalaya, it is the Khasi and Garo tribe that originally belongs to Meghalaya. There are many customs in Meghalaya weddings, which are different as compared to the rest of the nation.

Matrilineal vs Patrilineal

When the majority of the Indian citizens follow the patrilineal system, the Khasi and Garo tribe found in the state of Meghalaya go by the matrilineal system. Both the girls and boys have the liberty to select their partners. Because of the matrilineal system, the groom shifts to the ancestral house of the bride after the marriage. The surname of the bride is taken by the groom and the same continues for the children of the family.

Alliance Proposal

The women of this tribe are given higher importance and respect as compared to the men community. The rest of India should, in fact, take a cue from this tribe for the reverence shown to the female gender. As far as the marriage alliance is concerned, the proposal between the people of the same clan is prohibited. Also, normally the girl proposing to the boy is a unique custom followed by the Meghalayan people. The alliance is finalized only after the family members accept the proposal.
The alliance is confirmed with the rituals at the bride’s place and with the exchange of bags containing beetle nuts or the conventional wedding rings. Again, this a unique tradition found in Meghalaya weddings.

Wedding Dress

The wedding attire of the bride and the groom are also unique in many respects. The traditional wedding dress is called Dhara or Jainism in the local language. In fact, it a combination of multiple pieces of cloth and therefore the dress gives an appearance of a cylinder. The Jainism comprises of two pieces of contrast-colored fabrics which rest on the two shoulders of the bride. A silver or gold crown also forms a part of the bride’s dress to which a peak is attached. In fact, some clothes of the wedding dress and jewelry of the bride are also given by the groom.The jymphong, the traditional wedding dress for the groom is special in the Meghalaya weddings. This special dress is like a long coat without any sleeves or collar. The two straps attached to the front are fastened together. It is also a fashion to don sarongs over the jymphong and sometimes also a turban on the head.

Other Items

The wedding accessories include a gold pendant which is locally referred as Kynjri Ksiar and an ornament on the head.

The wedding dress of both the bride and groom are considered as precious items and thus preserved lifelong. They are wrapped and kept in a plastic bag or a cardboard and also periodically dry cleaned so that they do not lose their sheen.

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