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Why is the baraat important for weddings in India?

A wedding is a momentous occasion in one’s life, as it usually occurs once in life. For family members, friends, and relatives, the entire wedding ceremony is an enjoyable moment. 

To celebrate the groom’s arrival at the bride’s home or the wedding venue, the baraat (wedding procession) is vital. The baraatis, consisting of family members, relatives, and friends, are helpful and they let not the groom feel alone in his marriage ceremony from his side.      

What is the history of baraat?

The history of baraat/barat is as old as the one of marriage, which exists in every community since the advent of civilization. Over time, the marriage ceremony has changed a lot, and this has influenced the baraat. 

In India, the wedding procession is a crucial custom for two communities, i.e. Rajputana and Punjabi. However, several other communities observe the baraat culture with a similar fervor. Based on the regions or cultures, the baraat has its own custom. In some customs, the wedding procession starts with the tradition of wrapping sehra, a particular veil for the groom’s face made of beads, flowers or other material, on the groom’s head. The next practice is the riding of the groom on the mare’s back for the journey from his home to the bride’s house or the wedding venue. 

In some cultures, the groom rides on an elephant’s back for the journey on his wedding day. The baraat has a pause if the wedding venue is too far from the groom’s house. It starts in front of the groom’s home and carries on for a certain period. It has a pause when it is close to the wedding venue. After a break for some time, the wedding procession resumes, and it reaches to the site. 
Rajput Baraat   

The Rajput Baraat mostly consists of male family members and relatives. It is a formal affair in most cases. Musicians surround the groom. However, no dancing takes place in the streets during the journey to the wedding venue. Most of the baraatis put on sherwani while the groom puts on a golden sherwani with churidar pants and a pair of jootis. The groom’s turban is orange. He rides either on a mare (white horse) or an elephant and carries a sword with him. 
Punjabi Baraat 

In a Punjabi Baraat, both men and women celebrate the journey from the groom’s residence to the wedding venue. Family members and relatives start dancing from the groom’s home and continue it till the wedding site. The musicians with shehnai players, dhol wale lead the wedding procession, and the baraatis follow the same. It is a flamboyant, enjoyable, and intense affair. The wedding processing starts with the tying of Sehra, which is similar to the Rajput Baraat’s cloth. During the wedding procession, friends and close relatives from both sides put turbans of light pink color. The groom wears a magnificent sherwani, which is of white or golden. Besides, the groom can wear sherwani in purple, green or red. 

The present-day scenario 

The baraat or the wedding procession has changed a lot with time. From the time of celebration to customs, several changes have taken place in the baraat of every community. 
Now, it is not limited to a few communities in India. Most of the Indian communities have their own versions of the baraat, and most of these versions resemble the Punjabi type. The reason behind this is that the Indian television channels have featured programs and movies in which Punjabi type or such one marriage ceremony. Whatever the class is, the primary purpose of the baraat is an occasion for merrymaking and dancing.

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