While adhering to traditional dress and ornaments according to regional dress codes, trousseau today incorporate contemporary designs and fashions. The treatise on laws of life, there are no less than eight forms of marriage indicating the various stages in society’ progress.
Wedding garments are generally of rich materials such as silks and velvets and worked over heavily in gold trimmings or brocade. Colours are reds, pinks, and maroons. In fact, all the colours of the rainbow can be included for the Hindu bride, with the exception of white- the colour of widowhood- and black which is considered inauspicious. In India exceptions to this rule can be seen among the Parsis and the Catholics where white is a symbol of purity.
The trousseau of the Indian bride goes a step ahead of containing only clothes and ornaments. The quality and quantity of items given are dependent upon the financial status of the parents. Yet there are some ‘norms’ which are adhered to by all, from the humblest to the most aristocratic or the wealthiest. However, there is a marked difference in the gifts given to the bride of the north and her southern counterpart. The bridal trousseau from Punjab, Jammu, Uittar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan contain, besides the ubiquitous sari, the salwar-kameeze or the lehnga-choli which are heavily embroidered with thread. The chunri or veil in a bright red and multicoloured tie and dye bandhini design is almost mandatory. The Rajasthanis use it to cover the bridal bed on which the grooms sit for the tilak ceremony after the marriage and is later used as a veil by the bride.
Among the people of Uttar Pradesh it is used for the gath bandhan (tying the knot) ceremony during the marriage rituals. The brides of Bihar, however, are simply dressed in a new unstitched saffron or turmeric yellow sari but among the zamindars the sari undergoes a transformation. During a special ceremony specialists of bandhini are invited to make the chunri.
Phulkari, the traditional hand embroidery of Punjab is manifested in the trousseau in the form of a shawl or veil and muslin veils in a range of colours edged with gold, are also included.
The Jammu belle is dressed in tight trousers somewhat similar to riding breeches. The kurta is usually made up of velvet and heavily embellished with gold thread embroidery. The dress in olden days was stitched out of a specially hand-woven silken cloth. The bride’s kurta and chunni were usually of the same colour, an auspicious red or pink or maroon and the trousers could be contrasting green.
In Maharashtra brides wear a Paithani sari and shawl with its gold brocade border woven intricately with birds, flowers and geometrical patterns. Other woven saris from this
region, such as Chanderis, Indoris, Maheshwaris also form part of the trousseau with yellows, ochres and greens being the dominant colours.
The ensemble of the Muslim bride from Hyderabad is the zari-encrusted blouse with a skirt. The veil is edged with gold tassels and embroidered all over. Tissues and brocades are used in abundance.
The Tamil bride has a minimum of five saris worn during the various rituals of the marriage ceremony. For the main wedding rites, when the mangalsutra is given to her, she is dressed in the nine yards red and gold sari made on the looms of the famed Kancheepuram weavers of Tamil Nadu.
For the church wedding, the Mangalorean, Goan and other Christian brides of India wear white, with a veil on their heads. White too, is the traditional colour of the Parsi bride. Resplendent she could be in either an embroidered sari for which the community is famed or something as westernized as Chantilly lace. The ornaments worn during the ceremony come from the groom’s family. The Bengali bride’s jewellery is all in gold. Her bridal sari is of Benarasi silk with brocade weave and her veil is of tissue.
Besides clothes ornaments are the mainstay of the trousseau. Bangles, mangalsutras and toe rings are all symbolic of marriage. Among the Dogras of Jammu and Kashmir, the nose ring is important. It is usually a very large ring o f pearls and precious stones. Even after the marriage the nose ring is worn for most ceremonies.
The trousseau among the Bengalis is a two way deal. The groom’s family sends their gifts to the bride before the wedding. They are beautifully displayed on decorated salvers or cane baskets. Besides the clothes and ornaments there are trays of sweets, curd, and a fish that is artistically embellished with vermilion and is to be cooked and eaten on the wedding day. The brides trousseau is similarly displayed in the groom’s house. A vanity case is also an essential item especially in the north. It contains the seven adornments for ht efface – kajal, bindi, mehndi (henna), alta, kumkum, (vermilion), a silver comb, a container for perfume, and some missi – a lip colour which duplicates for lipstick.
Brides wardrobe contails lavish garments, heavy jewellery and lots more. Many online stores are coming up with these bridal collections and www.utsavsarees.com brings you the large collection of Indian bridal sarees, salwar kameez and lehenga cholis with designer jewelry collection.
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