MADE IN MISOGYNY

Misogynistic Wedding Rituals That Need to Go

Weddings in India are beautiful and passionate events, wearying as they may be sometimes. Most of the rituals involved are meaningful and emotional, carried out with the intent of blessing the bride and groom and intertwining them in holy matrimony for this life and the ones beyond. It can be noted, however, that with the changing times some of these rituals can be extremely misogynistic and even downright insulting to the bride and her family. They are often based on illogical and outdated myths that serve only the purposes of belittling women. Let's take a deep dive into some of them. 

 

Kanyadaan

This tradition continues to be an integral part of Hindu weddings. The word "Kanyadaan" literally translates to "gifting away your daughter". It involves the father of the bride "giving away" his daughter to the groom. In case the father is absent, the next closest male relative is called in for the ritual, the mother of the bride playing no part in the ceremony. The very myth behind Kanyadaan places the worth of a daughter under that of a son, declaring a girl child as a "weight" on the family. Through this ritual, the family absolves itself of said "weight". This practice is rightfully not being carried out in a few modern day weddings, though it continues to play an important role in most weddings till date. 

Changing of the Bride's First Name 

It remains a common tradition for the bride to take up her husband's last name. However, in some rural areas, and even urban areas, some brides are required to also change their first names. What seems like a ridiculous tradition involves changing the bride's name based on her and her husband's combined astrological charts. Changing someone's first name feels similar to stripping them of their identity and establishing ownership over them. 

 

Kashiyatra

Kashiyatra is a popular tradition in South India and in the current times is more of a lighthearted part of the wedding ceremony. 

Yet, the misogynistic undertones of the ritual inevitably stick out. According to the ritual, the groom refuses to marry the bride, wanting to give up worldly pleasures and live a religious life instead. The father of the bride is then supposed to step in and plead with the groom, convincing him to not choose the ascetic life and telling him the benefits of a married life. The groom eventually agrees and the wedding is resumed. 

Even though it is presented as a fun and innocent ritual, it makes one wonder, why is only the groom allowed to leave the wedding? Why is the bride's father supposed to plead with him to accept his daughter? In reality, a woman's life and prestige is not entirely dependent on a man's willingness to marry her. 

 

Bride Cooking Only for the Men

In Rabha weddings in Assam, it's a tradition for the bride to cook a feast for the family right from her first day till her 'mehendi' wears off . The catch, however, is that only the men of the family are allowed to eat the food cooked by the bride. The women eat food cooked separately by the cooks. Not even the bride herself is allowed to have a taste of her own feast! 

 

Manglik Bride

According to an absurd Indian custom, in case a bride is Manglik according to her astrological chart, she poses a threat to her husband's life after marriage. To ward off this threat, the bride is required to "marry" a Peepal tree or a dog before her husband. A Manglik groom, on the other hand, only has to go through a simple religious ceremony which supposedly resolves the issue. This superstition is not only ludicrous, but also demeaning to the bride. 

 

-Adya Bhalla