The wedding ceremonies are always full of ancient traditions in any culture. There is no doubt that we should honor our history, culture, traditions, and ancient wedding rituals. However, we live in the 21st century when men and women have equal rights and should be honored with the same respectful treatment. So, why not to refuse or at least modify some traditions which seem fun and innocent but the same time show hideous disrespect towards women. Here is a list of six sexist Indian wedding traditions we think should be definitely banned today.
Kanyādān (gift of virginity)
Kanyadan literally means “giving the daughter away to her future husband.” According to the ritual father gives his daughter as a gift to the groom at the beginning of the wedding. It makes the bridegroom think that his bride is the most precious gift that was given to him by god. It’s also believed that Kanyadan absolves the bride’s parents from all their sins.
It was mentioned before that we should honor and follow our ancient traditions but we also should understand that women aren’t men’s property.
Kashi Yatra (holy pilgrimage)
Traditionally, in the middle of the wedding the groom suddenly realizes that he’s not ready for the marriage and decides to complete his religious studies first. The groom leaves the wedding with an umbrella and a handful of rice to pilgrim the holy lands in search of sacred knowledge. When he steps out of a wedding hall the bride’s father comes up with him and explains to him the benefits of marriage versus ascetic life. Finally the groom changes his mind and returns to the wedding.
Sounds like fun. But is it just the groom who is allowed to soothe his vanity? Can’t the bride be ambitious too? Why can’t the bride leave the wedding hall with the mother-in-law tagging behind her and begging her not to escape from the wedding?
There are different interpretations of this tradition throughout India according to its region. The only difference is on who exactly is washing the groom’s feet – the bride’s parents, her sister or actually the bride herself. In old times, the groom very often walked barefoot from his village to his bride’s village for the wedding. So, the bride and her family wanted to show their respect to the groom in such an extraordinary way.
Seriously? Doesn’t the bride deserve the same respect?
The first name change
It’s pretty common in all cultures when wife takes her husband’s last name, but in some regions of North India the bride should also change her first name when she gets married. The bride’s new name is calculated in accordance with hers and her groom’s combined astrology charts.
I’m not trying to mock this tradition, but for any person his or her name is the sweetest and one of the most important words in the world as well as in any language, and forcing a woman to change her name after marriage is pretty sexist.
Bride’s mother is banned from the wedding
In some regions of modern India, a bride’s mother isn’t allowed to attend her daughter wedding. It’s believed that she can jinx the marriage with her “evil eye”. How awful!
Some traditions should definitely disappear with time. This one is definitely in that category.
Mangala sutra (auspicious thread)
The ceremony called Mangalya Dharanam is an integral part of a Hindu wedding. The ritual of tying a holy Mangala sutra around the bride’s neck by the groom is considered to be crucial. In early years Mangala sutra was literally an auspicious thread which was knotted around the bride’s neck 3 times. Today it could be a necklace with a symbolic three knots design, which symbolize the bride’s obedience to her husband, his family and god.