Friday, June 22, 2012

The Indian Baraat 101

The baraat or wedding procession is the highlight of all Indian weddings. The baraat consists of different elements, which combine to give an extravagant feel to the wedding itself. The baraat usually consists of the groom’s friends and family members who accompany the groom to the wedding venue. The baraat is all about fun and excitement, as it moves singing and dancing to the beats of some popular Bollywood tunes. The groom and his horse are covered in finery, with the groom’s head adorned with a splendid turban and his face may be hidden behind a sehra or a floral veil, adding to the royal feel.

The main focus of the baraat is the groom who is traditionally mounted on either a white horse, a horse led carriage or in some cases, an elephant. In some cultures, the groom is accompanied by a younger sibling, called “sarbaala” who acts as his protector.Today most modern grooms prefer to travel in classic vintage cars which are decorated with flowers or ribbons.

A traditional baraat consists of a group of 12 or more musicians, called the brass band, who play a number of instruments and provide the typical baraat music. These men are usually dressed in striking shite or red uniforms. In some cases, the musical band is replaced by two or three dhol players and bhangra dancers who dance and perform stunts to the beat of the dhol. The entourage may be accompanied by light bearers who carry portable lamps on their head. A beautiful display of fireworks contributes to the excitement and enthusiasm of the crowd. The instruments commonly played in a traditional brass band are trumpets,trombones, tubas, clarinets, cymbals, tabla, base drum and saxophones. On reaching the venue, the baraatis are welcomed with garlands, a spray of rose water and refreshments. The groom is welcomed with an aarti and led to the mandap, where he will await his bride.

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