To Baraat or Not To Baraat

The baraat is the procession of the groom and his family to the wedding. Often it includes riding an elephant or a white horse, being surrounded by people dancing and singing, instruments playing, to be met at the ceremony location by the bride’s mother with a thali to greet him.

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I had not planned to do this aspect of a Hindu wedding ceremony, yet I keep on getting questions about it! It seems like everyone really wants to do this. Even those who don’t know what it’s called ask frequently if Brad is going to dance down the street or ride in on a horse.

I thought it would be too much to explain such a tradition when so many of the guests will not be familiar with Hindu weddings at all, yet even members of his family have asked if they can do it.

When we went to the zoo a few weeks ago, Brad joked that he was going to ask them about renting an elephant.

Well, I have no interest in figuring out the logistics of getting an elephant or a horse involved, but if people really want this celebratory entrance, then I think we can work on a little dancing and music to accompany Brad’s arrival at the wedding.

So now I’m thinking we can get Brad and his family gathered at the end of the driveway and the bagpiper can maybe play something peppy while they walk down the driveway to the garden where the ceremony will be set up.

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About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • Garvi Sheth

    YES! Baraat!!
    (Though I am a tiny bit disappointed at the lack of an elephant lol)

    • Ambaa

      Can you imagine what the face on the property manager would be if I said we wanted an elephant? lol.

      Also, Garvi, it might be up to you to help guide the baraat, since it’s going to be a bunch of people totally unfamiliar with it!

      • Garvi Sheth

        I’ve never guided a baraat before- I’ve just been part of one. But I can do this! I think it’d be a lot of fun.

  • Andrea

    I think a Bagpipe Baraat would be fantabulous. Horse optional! It also mixes in his tradition as well, which is super meaningful. This wedding will take place in community, and there will be some ‘stretching’ that takes place for people; just make sure no one is doing anything they are not comfortable with, whether that be him or your mom or anyone.

    • Ambaa

      Now I just have to see what the bagpiper thinks of this!

  • Guest

    Its BHARAT

    • Ambaa

      No, it’s not. “Bharat” refers to India, while “baraat” refers to groom. If you Google each of these you will find that all the posts about the groom entering the wedding are under “baraat.”

      • INDIAN

        u r right i commented in hurry just by reading the tittle i never read the content

        • Ambaa

          I understand! Thank goodness, you had me frightened! :)

      • HARRY

        @ Ambaa

        Baraat doesn’t refers to groom, baraat or baraatis are the people who attends the wedding itself. Baraat is a loose word for a wedding procession with the groom and going to a location of the bride.

        Indian wedding baraat is incomplete, if you don’t have a shenni player and a Dholi, but the Dhol player is the most important out of both in Indian wedding.

        • Andrea

          A dholi to accompany a bagpipe player… interesting combo…

        • Ambaa

          Yes, well, this one is not an Indian wedding. This is a Hindu/Celtic blended wedding! We are going to have a Hindu ceremony at a temple the next week. :)

  • DsylexicHippo

    Ok – some context here. This part of the wedding ceremony is mostly a North-Indian phenomenon. There are no baraats involving horses, elephants and other assorted animals in South India.

    • Ambaa

      So are you saying I can use that as an argument against doing it? ;)

      I think I’m out voted. My friends and my groom are very excited about the idea, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t do some form of it!

      • DsylexicHippo

        Oh, no! Do what feels like best for you. I did not mean that as a negative – just that customs vary a lot from region to region within India and I wanted to add that perspective to the discussion.

        I was one of the baraatis in my best friend’s wedding some years ago and it was lots of fun. Go for it!

        • Ambaa

          You’re so right, there is a lot of regional variation and I feel like I’m always a mish-mash of them! Like someone wearing gangsta chains with cowboy boots :)