Marriage in Pakistan is a legal union between a man and a woman. Culturally, it is not only a link between the husband and wife, but also an alliance between their respective families. Because about 97% of Pakistan’s population is Muslim the Islamic law is usually observed. Some of the most common events that are held in a Pakistani marriages include marriage Proposal, Engagement, Dholki, Mehndi (Henna), Barat, Nikah, Registration, Reception, Rukhsti (Farewell), Valima (Walima), and Honeymoon.
One man having multiple wives is permitted in Pakistan wife gives attested written permission. However, it is now less common, especially in urban areas.
Marriages are often arranged within the family or within the same community or ethnicity. Social and educational statuses are very important in arranged matrimonial alliances. However nowadays, love marriages are slowly becoming more common and acceptable in Pakistan. Arranged matches are made after taking into account factors such as the wealth and social standing of their families. A marriage can also be made within the extended family.
Some main customs of Pakistani Marriages
- Dastar Bandi or the “Wearing of the turban” is a ceremony which is performed in parts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The ceremony marks the start of manhood for the groom. Elder men in the groom’s family place a turban on his head and formally include him in the ‘circle of men’.
- Doodh Pilai is a ceremony which is prevalent in many Pakistani weddings. On the actual wedding day, sisters, cousins or friends of the bride will bring milk for the groom. After he drinks the milk, he is supposed to present them with money and presents.
- Maklava is a predominantly Punjabi custom. Traditionally, the marriages were arranged and often contracted between people from different cities and villages. This often meant that the bride was unfamiliar with her new family. To ease her into the new life and surroundings, she was brought back to her parents’ house a few days after the wedding. She then spent some time at her parents’ house before heading back to her new husband’s home. This practice is still prevalent in most rural areas of the Punjab.
- Chauthi or the fourth day after the wedding the brides parents host a dinner for the immediate family members of the groom, often this is marked with playful traditions like hiding the shoes of the groom and a lavish feast.
- Guthna Pakrai is a Punjabi custom in which the younger brother of the bridegroom holds the knee of the bride and doesn’t let go until some acceptable monetary gift is given to him.
- Darwaza Rukai (doorway blocking).
- Juta Chupai (shoe hiding).
- Sehra Bandhai (garlands dressing).