Indians are famous for throwing exorbitant, lavish weddings with lots of color, loud music and enthusiastic dancing. An Indian wedding is an auspicious occasion celebrated with great zest, fervor and enthusiasm. Weddings all over the world are celebrated enthusiastically, but the thing that seems to separate Indian weddings from the rest are the dances.
Dance is the soul of any Indian wedding. Those dancing may be far from professional, but no one can resist the urge to move around on the dance floor to the rhythm of the music to celebrate with the newly weds. By expressing their joy and love through dance, the wedding guests happily greet the new couple into the world of marriage.
However, not every wedding dance is the same. Traditional dances in the north will sometimes vary greatly from the traditional dances in the south due to the vast diversity of the Indian subcontinent.
In all Indian weddings, there’s a special song and dance ceremony called Lady Sangeet, where women sing wedding folk songs while dancing. In addition, sometimes the bride and groom will prepare a Bollywood dance to perform for their guests, regardless of what part of India they’re from.
North India – Bhangra
In north India, the most common dance form is Bhangra, which is seen in almost every north Indian wedding. All wedding guests take part in Bhangra, regardless of their ages. Because this dance doesn’t require any kind of special training or time to learn, everyone can easily participate.
Bhangra is a folk dance originating from the north Indian state of Punjab. Historically, this dance was performed by farmers during harvest time.
Bhangra involves raising your hands and feet up in the air to the rhythm of the music. To get a mental image, imagine yourself screwing a light bulb into the ceiling while twisting your foot like you’re trying to squeeze something with it.
When men and women dance together, the men perform Bhangra while their female partners perform Gidha. Gidha is the mirroring of the speed and movements of your partner.
East India – Garba
In Gujrat, a traditional dance known as Garba is held the night before a Gujarati matrimony, and it involves a lot of dancing. Garba helps to get both families interacting with each other, and provides a happy atmosphere to improve inter-family relationships before the wedding the next day.
Within Garva is a dance event called Raas, where couples dance together with Dandia sticks. The couples dance with the Dandia sticks in their hands, and hit them together after intervals of dancing.
Because Garba involves so much partner dancing, the people of East India know it as an ideal ceremony for new couples to meet and begin their own stories together.
South India – Traditional Folk
South Indians love to incorporate traditional folk into their weddings. Aside from the traditional reception after the wedding, south Indian couples normally host a sort of entertainment event involving traditional folk songs and dances. These songs and dances are all designed to reflect the compatibility and understanding between the bride and her groom.
This time of entertainment also gives a much-needed break from stress for those involved in planning and executing the wedding. The get a break and can enjoy themselves despite the hectic schedule of putting on a grand Indian wedding.