American wedding normally takes place in a church, where all guests gather. “Here comes the best man, flower girls, exchanging vows and rings, and the wedding music. The wedding ceremony is conducted by the priest. He formally asks the invitees whether they have any objection for this marriage and getting the positive response from the invitees, the priest asks the couple to exchange wedding rings and then the couple is marked as husband and wife”. Furthermore, the priest and guests congratulate, embrace and kiss the just married.
On the other hand, modern Americans often wish to arrange an unforgettable wedding and invite the priest to a location of their choice, some of them even insist on underwater wedding. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Americans the traditional style and arrangement in the place of worship. Indian wedding, conversely to American, usually takes place outdoors, under a canopy called a mandap. The couple sits on carpets under the mandap, and the parties, invited by the couple, locate around this place. In addition, the priest, as opposed to American wedding asks neither the guest’s ‘blessing’ nor the bride’s and bridegroom’s consent.
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After being declared the couple as husband and wife, the couple exchange their rings and receive congratulations, moreover, their parents wash their feet in the special water with flower petals . Then, the man and the woman begin to invoke deities like Svaha, who is known as a marital happiness-giver and the priest announces the traditional long list of wishes, which include abundance, successful reproduction, friendship, harmony and happiness. The ideological background of American wedding refers rather to the Christian doctrine than to American culture.
Due to the fact that the Bible obliges individuals to create families, the institute of marriage in viewed as sacred and blessed by God. Family in Christian religion is viewed as a self-sufficient entity, where, however procreation must take place; this reminder is usually provided in the priest’s congratulations, addressed to the just married. On the contrary, the settings of Indian wedding ceremony suggest that family is first and foremost a natural phenomenon, that’s why the bride’s and bridegroom’s compliances are even not questioned, - the deities (supernatural forces) have selected them as a prospective family.
On the other hand, the two cultural traditions share common view on the meaning of the wedding ring as a symbol of unity and infinity of marital happiness. In America, the bride is supposed to wear a white dress and a veil, which should point to the fact that the broom hasn’t seen the brie before the wedding, so if he doesn’t like her, he will have an opportunity to refuse. The broom, in turn, is required to wear a black suit, alleged as his ‘Sunday best’.
As opposed to American wedding, in Indian ceremony, the bride and broom are expected to wear bright and rich colors – the woman should wear a red sari, draped around her head in order to underline her modesty. The man should have a kafni (long shirt, which reaches his knees) and pijamo (leggings) on. In addition, the groom is encouraged to wear a turban. In addition, the bride should put the national Indian decoration, known as mehndi, on her hands and feet . The only common aspect of both styles is the obligation to wear beautiful holiday clothes, which should not be put on again.
As for the roles, the major roles in both Indian and American weddings are played by the bride, broom and the priest. Similarly, important roles are attributed to the man’s and woman’s parents and the groom’s best friend or brother (best man), who should accompany him in both traditions. Furthermore, in both cultures, the number of guests determines the happiness of marital life thus, both American and Indian couples seek to invite all relatives from the bride’s and broom’s lines.
In both Indian and American weddings flowers play central role, in terms of the scope of attributes employed. Indian couples are sprinkled with light flowers, as the plants are viewed as positive symbols, bringing about luck and harmony. American bride should have a bouquet in her hands and throw it behind her back once she participates in the ring exchange. However, in Indian weddings, money is valued, so the spot where the ceremony takes place is covered with coins.
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