Shaadi in Pakistan is one of the most festive events for not only the bride and groom but also for the whole family. Interestingly, Pakistani weddings are full of (Rasms) cultural traditions that date back centuries. Moreover, they are in some ways similar to Indian weddings too.
Nonetheless, while I totally dig rasms and the playfulness they bring, it is also safe to say that some of them are totally weird and super funny. If you have attended a Pakistani shaadi, you must already be aware of them. However, if you haven’t, here’s a list of traditions we follow with immense zeal and believe they are a norm.
Ubtan and Oiling to look flawless
Ubtan: A paste made out of turmeric, rose water, gram flour, and other herbs is applied to the bride-to-be for at least a week before her wedding. Interestingly, this Desi Totka is used to enhance the bride’s skin color, texture, and bring out a glow.
Sadly, she is drenched in ubtan every day which is then used as a scrub on her entire body. How weird? Moreover, her hair is oiled every night so that they are luscious on the big day. This rasm is followed for the groom too, but perhaps only once.
The no makeup and Yellow clothes for Mayun Brides
Not truly a rasm, but a tradition that is followed for Pakistani brides. Sadly, brides are not allowed to put on any makeup on their Mayun (an event right before the wedding) while their friends and cousins can dress up as they desire.
Moreover, she wears yellow colored clothes for a few days before the Shaadi and as Desi aunties say ‘Dulhan Mayun beth Gayi hai’! The cherry on top is how this phrase means the bride cannot leave the house, nor dress up and wear other colored clothes. This one is funny!
Saat Suhagan Mithai Rasm
This already sounds funny, right? Now that I am writing this, I think how commonly and mandatorily this rasm is followed all across Pakistan!
This rasm begins by placing a Pan leaf on the bride and the groom’s hand. Afterwards, only married women take a small amount of dry menndi (hena) and rub it on the leaf and offer a piece of Pakistani mithai (sweet delicacy) to the couple. Moreover, they swirl money from on top of their heads as a form of Sadqa (sacrifice) to be later given in charity.
This rasm wishes the couple a successful marriage and ward off evil eyes.
We all celebrate this rasm in full swing. The sister-in-law offers a large glass of milk mixed with dry fruits, nuts and special herbs to the groom on the couple’s wedding stage. Interestingly, all the bridesmaids tease the groom and ask him to finish the whole concoction.
In return, the groom gives a gift to all the bridesmaids in the form of money. Moreover, this rasm happens in a pure joyful manner.
Interestingly, the significance of this tradition is to supplement the groom with energy so that he performs well while consummating his marriage in bed! Woah. You definitely didn’t see this one coming!
Well, another famous, funny yet super enjoyable tradition is Joota Chuppai. This one is self-explanatory but I will give you a breakdown. Again, the bridesmaids and bride’s side of the family grab the groom’s shoe, take it off and hide it. In return, they ask for a hefty amount of money and a bargaining game commences.
This is the highlight of all Pakistani weddings and the camera crew records the fun, the funny comments, and the playfulness between the families. Eventually, they force the groom to give money as a form of present to the bridesmaids. Everyone has a lot of fun during this time.
This rasm is kind of expiring, but some households still do it. Again, the bridesmaids stop the groom from entering the wedding hall till he gives them a present. Indeed, it’s mostly an envelope full of cash but some grooms also give small gifts such as earrings in tiny boxes.
This one takes ‘weird’ to a whole new level! A spoonful of kheer (rice pudding) is poured on the bride’s hand. Later, the groom licks it off! Certainly, this breaks the ice between the couple and becomes one of the most significant memories of their lives.
Pagar/ Shamla Pehnwai
All the ghar ke barey, (elders) conduct this tradition and place the headgear on top of the groom’s head. In particular, this rasm follows in Punjab and Northern areas of Pakistan as a sign of immense respect. Additionally to welcome the groom amongst the mature men of the clan.
Godh Bithayi tradition
Done to break the ice between the bride (now bhabi) and the youngest brother-in-law, but I think this is weird AF! The devar (bro-in-law) sits in the bride’s lap, however old he might be as a form of the game. Then the bhabi gives a gift to him to begin a new friendship.
Lawaan is a very unique and interesting rasm done in Sindhi households. Apparently, the elderly in the family urge the newlywed couple to knock their foreheads together. This rasm can go on forever if there are numerous elders in the family.
By the end of the night, the couple not only enjoys together but their heads surely hurt. At least they understand each other’s pain! One funny way to bring the two closer.
Placing a new-born baby in the bride’s lap
The elderly women of the family place a new-born baby in the bride’s lap on the wedding day. Interestingly, this is a form of praying for the couple’s healthy children in the future.