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Wedding Customs in Ancient and Medieval India

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Wedding Customs in Ancient and Medieval India essay
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India defines diversity, thus diversity is seen in every aspect of Indian life starting from food & clothing to customs & traditions. It is reflected in Indian marriages as well. In Indian society marriage is a highly sacred Instituiton. Marriage has been a very important part of the Indian Society. Marriage is a legalised union between man and woman, it is a socially recognised and approved relationship. Marriage does not take place only between two people but is a union of two families with a strong bond being created between them. Over the time different rituals have evolved according to different religions and culture.

Wedding customs in ancient India

In ancient times polyandry and polygyny types of marriage prevailed and it is still evident in some of the religions. It was believed that marriage bought two half distinct lives together and after marriage husband and wife were not considered different entities but they were considered to be one soul. The main function of Marriage was the continuity of the race by bearing children and to impart cultural heritage. There were several factors for selecting a bridegroom such as intelligence , wealth, good character, etc. There are some factors on the basis of which brides were selected such as girl should be endowed with beauty, intelligence, good family, absence of disease and possession of a brother. Inter caste Marriages were permitted during the ancient times.

Marriage could take place between women of lower caste with the men of higher caste but vice versa was not allowed. Custom of dowry did not prevail during ancient time as the groom takes away the bride realizing that she would be deprived of her family. Hence he could not think of demanding dowry or donation. On the contrary, it was the duty of the bridegroom to provide some gifts to bride and her parents. After marriage girl has to give up her father’s gotra and she had to adopt her husband’s gotra. A boy was allowed to marry only when he had finished his Vedic studies. Minimum age of marriage for boy was 20 and minimum age for girl was 15. The society was Patriarchal but the status of women was better than the later ages as women were given education, freedom of movement, Niyoga and widow remarriage, prevailed and chid marriage and sati system were absent. Divorce were allowed under very special condition, it was rarely seen in the practice.

Wedding customs in medieval India

In Medieval period, position of women deteriorated. In Medieval times Marriage was not based on love, most of the marriages were a form of political arrangement. Divorce rates were low as people regarded divorce as greatest blot in their reputation. Women were not allowed to choose her life partner; most of the time women didn’t even know whom she is going to wed. The decision was in the hands of bride’s parents as to whom she will marry. Such marriages were backed up by the power of money. The family of the girl who was to be married would give dowry, or donation, to the boy to whom she was marrying. The dowry would be presented to the groom at the time of the marriage. It was during the medieval period that the practice of dowry started. Marriages were strictly according to rituals and ceremonies were very formal and main intention was to please the boy’s family. The boys and the girls were not allowed to meet before the marriage. They saw each other only on the day of the marriage.

The Inter caste Marriages and love marriages were forbidden and polygamy prevailed in the royal classes. Also, child Marriages known as ‘Bal Vivah’ began during this period. Girls were married off at the age of 8-10. They did not have easy access to education due to which they were not able to work without the consent of their husband and in laws so they were depended on their husband. This made the status of women very regressive as they were confined to work within the boundaries of their houses. This creates inequality between men and women and many detrimental practices have also evolved in this period such as Sati System, Restriction on Widow Marriage, Jauhar, Purdah System and widow were regarded as inauspicious on the occasions of festival. Women were bought and sold, kidnapped, coercively marriage and pushed into slavery or prostitution.

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Wedding Customs in Ancient and Medieval India. (2018, November 19). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 24, 2022, from
“Wedding Customs in Ancient and Medieval India.” GradesFixer, 19 Nov. 2018,
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Wedding Customs in Ancient and Medieval India [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Nov 19 [cited 2022 Jun 24]. Available from:
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