On astrologers' nod, weddings light up Delhi
With astrologers' blessings, more than 10,000 couples tied the knot at extravagant parties and chaotic processions as the wedding season in New Delhi got off to a joyous start.india Updated: Nov 22, 2007 16:50 IST
With astrologers' blessings, more than 10,000 couples tied the knot at extravagant parties and chaotic processions as the wedding season in New Delhi got off to a joyous start.
Indians rely on Vedic astrology, which dates back to ancient Hindu texts, to set dates and times not just for weddings but also buying cars or moving home.
Wednesday was seen as one of the best days to tie the knot. "The Gods wake up from their four months' sleep. The whole day is auspicious," Daya Shankar Prasad, a Hindu priest, told the Times of India, referring to the first wedding season day.
In processions, large groups of wedding guests surrounded by lanterns saunter through the capital's gridlocked streets, dancing to musical bands with the groom often riding a horse. Parties last into the early hours with fireworks, dancing, plenty of food and of displays of women's finest saris.
India's wedding market is worth billions of dollars and acts as a seasonal boost to Asia's third biggest economy. The season can also influence the price of gold in global markets. Indians traditionally hold separate celebrations for the groom, bride and friends, and weddings can last several days.
As a booming urban economy has expanded India's middle classes, the competition is increasingly strong for showy wedding parties as they struggle to match the rich and famous, known to spend millions of dollars on extravagant celebrations.
Priests say there are only a few sacred days -- deduced from elaborate mathematical calculations based on the positions of the stars, planets and constellations, with astrological charts of the bride and groom.
And this means a huge demand for weddings in a short period.
Given the status that weddings hold in Indian society, politicians also work on social overtime during the season. "There is a social compulsion and we have to attend the weddings," Delhi's state Finance and Power Minister AK Walia told the Hindustan Times.
He had 23 wedding invitations for one day. At one wedding in New Delhi, the groom's arrival at a tent filled with about 1,000 guests was delayed because his horse had disappeared.
There were so many other weddings in the district that one guest speculated, half-jokingly, that the horse may have been "kidnapped" by another nearby wedding party.
The organisers improvised with a small car. "This is India, you see, everything works out in the end," Rohit Yadav, a yoga instructor who had organised his brother's wedding, said before the car started to snake through dancers, crowds and exploding fireworks.