Your articles are quite interesting and informative. I feel quite confused about Indian wedding traditions and after wedding traditions and am looking for some clarity. Many thanks for your continued advice. A much required service to the community. Debbie
Thank you for your questions. I hope that my response will shed some light on these matters for you and provide some clarity.
The chunni, and the entire outfit the bride wears during the wedding ceremony whether it be in front of Guru Granth Sahib for the lavaan or on the mandip, is given by the mammay (bride’s mother’s brothers) along with the choora (wedding bangle set). Also, remember the chunni is no longer necessarily red. Women now wear various shades of red or pink or even mostly gold with accents of red. As for the groom’s family, they outfit the bride for the wedding reception.
The milni is traditionally done by men only. Though, I am happy to report, times are changing and more women (particularly the mothers of the bride and groom) are participating in the milni now. As I said in the milni section on the website, I am not in favour of gifts being exchanged at the milni especially since it is a one way exchange – the bride’s side giving to the groom’s side. The name of the ceremony embodies what the ritual is about – a meeting. And it should be nothing more than the two families meeting. If gifts are given at the ceremony and if women are involved, then gifts should be given to them as well.
If the family is set on giving gift, the value of gifts given can be as extravagant as one wishes. You can give each person a piece of gold jewelry or money and a blanket if you choose or just the money and jewelry and forego the blanket. And yes, if one chooses they can give more to the parents and grandparents or closer relatives.
The norm these days is to give the gift to the first person – the father of the groom or designate. That person will then returns it so it can be then passed on to the next person and so on. This is what your Auntyji believes is a compromise from the extravagant gift giving as people have come to view it as old oppressive tradition. By doing this, one still keeps the tradition going without burdening the bride’s family.
Regarding why blankets are given as part of the milni, your Auntyji is not sure. I know that traditional comforter were given as part of the dowry. Perhaps comforters and blankets were seen as items hard to come by or that a family could never have enough of; therefore they may have been seen as a very practical gift. Thanks for the kind words and the encouragement about the website.