In Hindu culture, the wedding ceremony is held in two phases: one at the bride’s house and another at the groom’s house. The first phase of the wedding takes place in the bride’s house during which the groom and his family-members come to formally receive their bride. The family-members and well-wishers of the bride also come together to attend the wedding party. But this phase of the marriage party is slightly different from the one which is to be held at the groom’s house later. Only vegetarian foods will be served and many people still wonder why meat is banned during this phase of the wedding. After careful analysis, I have found the logic behind this tradition.
In a Hindu society, a girl is culturally bound to move out of her parental house once she gets married and join the family of her husband. This transition takes place during the first phase of the marriage ceremony at the bride’s house. It’s traditionally believed that the family of the bride is on the losing end since their daughter is leaving them behind. The family of the bride is silently grieving the loss of their daughter and it’s for this reason that emotions will be usually running high in the house at this time. You should not be surprised if you see the bride and her mother crying hugging each other. So definitely this phase of the wedding is not a moment of celebration for the family of the bride. So it’s mainly for this reason that only simple vegetarian foods are served to people. This is a gesture of mourning the departure of a daughter, a sister, a niece or a good friend who has grown up in that house helping her parents and siblings for years. To me, this makes a lot of sense.
The real celebration takes place during the second phase of the wedding held at the groom’s house. Here, they are receiving a new person in the family and it’s a moment of excitement and joy for the family of the groom. The family and well-wishers of the bride also join them in the celebration which usually happens on a grand scale. Goats, pigs and chickens are often slaughtered to throw party to people who come to join the celebration. It’s the beginning of a new life for the groom and his bride and hence, it’s treated important to make it memorable and joyful. So everybody enjoys to the fullest, singing, dancing, taking drinks and eating delicious foods. It is a very auspicious and happy occasion for the entire community to welcome a new member. For the bride, it’s the beginning of a new journey in a new world. As she commits to the marriage vows, she commits herself to the life of her husband and his family, and to treat them as her own family for the rest of her life.