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Wedding » Indian-customs » Role-brother-041025
Brother O Brother!
The role of a brother in a Hindu wedding

Weddings are a time for family and friends to get together and celebrate. To renew old ties, to make new ones and thank God for some... like those you share with your brother. He, who used to dog your every step, pull on your pigtails, imitate everything you did, read your diary - how he's grown. Your brother plays an important role in helping you through the most important journey of your life. Here are some traditions that honour the love you both share. The role of a brother in a Hindu wedding
  • 'Laja' is puffed rice, a symbol of prosperity. As per Hindu tradition, the bride's brother stands behind the couple while the couple faces each other. The bride places both her hands into the groom's and her brother then puts the puffed rice into them. Together they offer this 'laja' as an 'ahuti' or sacrifice into the fire amidst the chanting of mantras. This ritual is performed three times and each time the mantras chanted have a different meaning.
  • As per Kashmiri tradition, the bride's brother and sister come to the marital home and escort the bride back to her parent's home for one day. This ritual is known as the 'garasun'. The bride wears all the jewellery given to her by her in-laws and proceeds to her parent's home.
  • Andhra Vaishnavs have a fun ceremony called the Snathakams. After an oil bath called mangala snanam, the groom, clad in a pancha (dhoti) and angavastram or upper cloth performs a puja before the agnihotram (sacred fire). He then embarks on a mock pilgrimage or kashi yatra carrying an umbrella, wooden footwear and a hand fan. The bride's brother pleads with him to abandon his plan to become a priest and to take his sister's hand in marriage and settle down as a family man instead. After much cajoling, the groom agrees and returns to get married.
  • Amongst the Kayasth community, the bride's brother performs the tilak ceremony for his future brother-in-law. The bride's brother holds a katora (silver or copper bowl) containing yogurt and vermilion. He applies a vertical tikka or tilak on the groom's forehead with the curd and garlands him with a zari garland brought by him.
  • The role of a brother in a Hindu weddingIn a special custom called Kaleva celebrated by the Bihari Kayasth community, a couple of days after the bride has left, her brother or brother-in-law goes to the groom's home to invite her back to her parents home for a few days. He carries gifts with him for the bride and her in-laws. The bridal couple returns with him carrying gifts for the bride's family and stays in the bride's maternal home or maika for some time.
  • Amongst the Bunt community the bride's brother receives her groom at the wedding venue by washing his feet. He then washes his sister's feet before she enters the mandap.
  • The groom's brother-in-law ties the traditional pagadi(turban) and the sehra or floral veil for the groom. During the tying of the pagadi and sehra the groom is made to stand on the entrance of the home where colourful designs have been made on the floor - this is known as the Veghu amongst the Kashmiris. The same ceremony is known as joda pehnana amongst Bihari Kayasths.
  • On the day of the wedding the Sindhi groom is involved in a series of rituals. The first is the thread ceremony, without which the wedding is incomplete. Oil and haldi is applied to his hair and body and from then, he cannot move out of the house. It is his brother-in-law's duty to sit next to him with a knife, symbolic of a protector.
  • In the Thaamboola Charvanam and baladhaanam ceremony in some Southern communities, it is the bride's brother who gives the ceremonial first betel to the couple to chew. Certain other gifts are made to bless the couple with children and long life.
  • Amongst Marwaris, the groom's younger brother drives the wedding car carrying the newly wed couple. When he reaches home, he demands a handsome ransom from his parents in exchange for their new 'bahu'.

Pooja Mittal-Aggarwal
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