Groom Wedding ProcessionAlthough the Indian subcontinent is characterized by a wide range of regionally based cultural traditions, some customs are observed by people from many regions and ethnic groups. That includes the baraat, a festive groom’s procession that’s a standard part of matrimonial celebrations throughout northern India and eastern Pakistan. Since both the Indian and Pakistani diasporas have spread to other parts of the world, baraats are now a common sight in Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and many other countries.

South Asian Weddings Can Last Several Days

Writer Jessie Mooney explains in a 2017 Brides article that South Asian weddings are multi-day affairs with a series of smaller events that make up the festivities. These can include intimate gatherings with immediate family members, larger get-togethers with more guests and the bride’s mehndi ceremony attended by her closest female friends and relatives. Yet those all lead up to the big day on which the couple exchanges their vows, often witnessed by hundreds of attendees. 

The main ceremonies in Indian and Pakistani weddings have traditionally taken place in the bride’s home. In modern times, they’re held in spaces with enough room to accommodate family and guests such as ballrooms, houses of worship, museums, auditoriums, banquet halls, and hotels. Either way, the bride’s family hosts, and it’s the groom and his entourage who must travel to the site, and the baraat is a perfect celebratory way to journey in style.

Music, Dancing and a Grand Entrance

The Big Fat Indian Wedding blog explains that the procession is usually made up of the groom and his “baraatis,” or family and friends who join him by dancing and merrymaking. Musical accompaniment can be supplied by traditional dhols, or large double-headed drums that deliver the beat in folk music all over northern India. Nowadays, full live bands and DJs playing bhangra music or Bollywood movie tunes, which are also popular choices to set a baraat’s soundtrack.

Along with music and dancing, the groom’s choice of conveyance is also an important detail. In a 2015 article in the Washingtonian, writer Emily Codik mentions that he’s usually carried on a white horse. However, elephants are frequently a popular selection by grooms both in the subcontinent and abroad, wherever local laws permit him to ride astride one of these gentle giants. Other possibilities can include:

  • Limousines
  • Luxury cars
  • Classic automobiles
  • Horse-drawn carriages

Codik reveals that some flamboyant men have considered chartering yachts while one groom unsuccessfully petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration to allow him to make his matrimonial entrance in a helicopter.

Just like the wedding itself, a baraat requires both special planning and a budget. That’s because either he or his family are usually in charge of hiring his mode of transportation and booking musicians. Large processions may necessitate the groom’s family to obtain a special parade permit, as streets may need to be shut down to make way for the baraatis, performers and his mode of transport. Not only that, the family might opt for police escorts to ensure the crowd’s safety and the baraat’s smooth flow from its origin point to the venue.

The Groom Takes the Spotlight

Wedding traditions from all over the world are infused with deeper meanings while representing their culture’s key central values. At the same time, the nuptials also come with their own unique sense of pomp and ceremony. For many in Western nations, it’s the drama and spectacle of a bride making her grand entrance, or when the couple pledges love and support for each other while their guests watch in hushed reverence. For many South Asian grooms, the baraat is one of their moments to shine in a series of elaborate multi-day celebrations.

Category: Wedding Planning Ceremonies

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