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Indian

indianoIndian weddings continue for several days. Due to the diversity of Indian culture, the wedding style, ceremony and rituals may vary greatly from amongst various states, regions, religions and castes. While the Christians of India usually follow a more or less Western wedding ceremony, the Indian Hindus, Muslims, Jains and Sikhs follow traditions quite different from the West. It is quite common that during the traditional wedding days, there would be a tilak ceremony (where the groom is anointed on his forehead), a ceremony for adorning the bride's hand and feet with henna (called mehendi) accompanied by Ladies' Sangeet (music and dance), and many other pre-wedding ceremonies. Another important ceremony is the "Haldi" program where the bride and the groom are anointed with turmeric paste. All the close relatives make sure that they have anointed the couple with turmeric. On the day (i.e. late evening) of the wedding proper, the Bridegroom, his friends and relatives come singing and dancing to the wedding site in a procession called baraat, and then the religious rituals take place to solemnize the wedding according to the religion of the couple. While the groom may wear traditional Sherwani or dhoti or Western suit, his face is usually veiled with a mini-curtain of flowers called sehra. The bride (Hindu or Muslim) always wears red clothes, never white because white symbolizes widowhood in Indian culture. In Southern and Eastern states the bride usually wears a red Sari, but in northern and central states the preferred garment is a decorated skirt-blouse and veil called lehenga. After the solemnization of marriage, the bride departs with her husband. This is a very sad event for the bride's relatives because traditionally she is supposed to permanently "break-off" her relations with her blood relatives to join her husband's family. The wedding may be followed by a "reception" by the groom's parents at the groom's place. While gifts and money to the couple are commonly given, the traditional dowry from the bride's parents to the couple is now officially forbidden by law.