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Baraat: The Spirited Wedding Procession in Indian Weddings

Updated: Aug 15, 2023


Baraat

Indian weddings are known for their vibrant traditions, and one of the most captivating rituals is the Baraat. This lively procession led by the groom and his entourage, known as "baraatis," is a spectacle of music, dance, and joy, full of cultural significance and fun.


In this article, I will discuss the history, significance, and various aspects of the Baraat to give you a detailed understanding of this unique tradition in Indian weddings.


To learn more about Indian weddings, read my articles "Haldi Ceremony" and "Mehndi Ceremony." Also, for great ideas on affordable wedding stage decorations, be sure to check out my article "Low Budget Wedding Stage Decoration."


If you would like for me to be your wedding day photographer, feel free to contact me, RayCee the Artist, at raycee@rayceeartist.com to learn more about the wedding packages that I offer!


Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram and YouTube!

The Essence of Baraat: A Kaleidoscope of Joy

Baraat

Baraat, derived from the Sanskrit word "Vara," meaning groom, is the festive procession of the groom's party from his home to the wedding ceremony venue. Traditionally prevalent in North Indian Hindu weddings, the South Asian Baraat is now a part of various Indian wedding customs/South Asian Weddings, including Sikh and Jain ceremonies. Although it doesn't hold religious significance, the Baraat is still an important custom nonetheless. It is a vital custom which symbolizes the groom's procession/journey to his bride and the coming together of two families.

As the groom makes his way to the marriage venue, the baraatis, including his closest male relatives and friends, dance to the rhythm of lively music, expressing their joy and excitement. The Baraat is a grand celebration, showcasing the groom's happiness about marrying the love of his life.

The Historical Significance of Baraat

The tradition of Baraat dates back centuries, originating from the practice of the groom traveling long distances for days to reach his bride's home. This journey to the bride's house was seen as a test of the groom's readiness for marriage, a humbling experience showcasing his commitment and dedication towards his bride.

In some cultures, the Baraat was a ceremonial display of the groom's wealth and social status. The groom would travel with an extensive entourage, carrying gold and valuable gifts, signifying his capability to provide for his future wife. The use of animals, particularly horses and elephants, added to the grandeur of the procession, further emphasizing the groom's affluence.

The Elements of a Traditional Baraat


Baraat

The Baraat is a dynamic event full of various customs and traditions. Although these practices may vary between different communities and regions, there are several common elements that form the core of the Baraat.

Groom's Attire

The groom's attire for the Baraat is typically a resplendent Sherwani, a traditional Indian outfit, often in bright colors like gold, white, or red. Completing his look is a Saafa or turban, usually in a contrasting color, adorned with a Kalgi or brooch, symbolizing royalty. In Sikh weddings, the groom also carries a Kirpan, a ceremonial sword, signifying his responsibility to protect his future wife.

Mode of Transport

Traditionally, the groom arrives at the wedding venue riding a horse, known as Ghodi. The Ghodi is decorated with vibrant embellishments matching the groom's attire, adding to the visual spectacle of the procession. In some instances, the groom may also arrive on an elephant or white horse/ceremonial horse, adding a regal touch to the procession.

Modern reinterpretations of the Baraat have introduced a variety of transport options for the groom, ranging from an extravagant car, decorated cars, vintage vehicles, coupé convertible, motorcycles, and even helicopters. Each mode of transport brings its unique flavor to the procession, making the Baraat a blend of tradition and contemporary trends.

Music and Dance

Music is the life of the wedding Baraat, setting the tone for the wedding festivities. Traditionally, a brass band plays upbeat tunes accompanied by a Dhol player, providing a rhythmic beat for the baraatis to dance to. The modern Baraat often features DJs and sound systems, with a mix of traditional Indian music, Bollywood hits, and international tracks, creating an electrifying atmosphere.

The baraatis, led by the groom's friends and groomsmen, dance their way to the wedding venue. From choreographed performances to impromptu dance-offs, the Baraat is a non-stop party, reflecting the joyous spirit of the occasion.

Welcoming Rituals

When the Baraat arrives at the wedding venue, the groom is welcomed by the bride's family members. The bride's mother performs an Aarti ceremony, circling a lit lamp around the groom's face to ward off evil spirits. She then places a Tilak, a ceremonial red mark, on the groom's forehead, blessing him for the upcoming wedding rituals. This welcoming ritual by the bride's family is often followed by the Milni ceremony, where corresponding relatives from both families meet and exchange garlands, symbolizing the union of the two families.

The Evolution of Baraat in Modern Weddings

The Baraat has significantly evolved in contemporary Indian weddings, becoming an extravagant display of creativity and personal expression. From flash mobs and special performances to the use of props and personalized decorations, the Baraat is continually being reimagined, making it a highlight of the wedding celebrations.

Even the traditional gender roles associated with the Baraat are being challenged. In some modern weddings, the bride also has her own Baraat, symbolizing her journey to the groom. In other instances, both the bride and groom have a joint Baraat, emphasizing their equal part in the marital journey.

The Significance of Baraat Music


Baraat

Music plays a pivotal role in the Baraat, creating a lively and festive mood. Traditional Indian wedding songs like "Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna" and "Aaj Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai" are popular choices, resonating with the joyous atmosphere of the procession. A blend of folk tunes, Bollywood hits, and international tracks keeps the energy levels high, encouraging everyone to join in the dancing and merriment.

Who is Part of the Baraat?

Traditionally, the Baraat consists of the groom's male relatives (groom's family) and friends. However, in modern times, the Baraat has become a more inclusive event, including both men and women from the groom's side. In some weddings, members from the bride's side also join the procession, reflecting the merging of the two families. Regardless of their role, everyone participating in the Baraat shares in the joy and excitement of the occasion, adding to the overall vibrancy of the procession.


Conclusion

The Baraat is a celebration of love, joy, and unity in Indian communities that embodies the spirit of Indian weddings. As an age-old tradition, it continues to evolve and adapt, reflecting the changing dynamics of contemporary weddings. From the traditional horse ride to the modern helicopter entrance, the Baraat is a testament to the richness and diversity of Indian wedding traditions, making it an event to remember.

Whether you're participating in an Indian wedding Baraat, planning one, or simply intrigued by this vibrant tradition, understanding the history, significance, and various aspects of the Baraat can enrich your appreciation of this unique Indian wedding custom. As the Baraat continues to evolve and adapt to changing times, it remains a symbol of the joy, excitement, and unity that characterizes Indian weddings, making it a tradition that is both timeless and ever-changing.


To learn more about Indian weddings, read my articles "Haldi Ceremony" and "Mehndi Ceremony." Also, for great ideas on affordable wedding stage decorations, be sure to check out my article "Low Budget Wedding Stage Decoration."


If you would like for me to be your wedding day photographer, feel free to contact me, RayCee the Artist, at raycee@rayceeartist.com to learn more about the wedding packages that I offer!


Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram and YouTube!


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