After the Indian wedding ceremony saga is over, the much-awaited and anticipated “Suhaag Raat” or the Wedding night or the First night of marriage storms its way. Weddings are a universal celebration and so is the first night that the bride and groom spend together. Indian weddings have their own traditional approach to this adventurous night for the newlyweds.
Read on to find out some of the traditions and customs involved with the suhaag raat at Indian weddings.
It has been an age-old tradition to decorate the couple’s room with fresh, fragrant flowers for their first night of marriage. The sweet, natural fragrance of the flowers is said to create a romantic mood for the couple to begin the new chapter in their life together. Usually, it’s the male cousins and friends of the groom who decorate the bed for the newlyweds. They decorate the bed with fresh flowers. Flowers such as rajnigandha (tuberose), roses, jasmines, are most commonly used as all of them have an exotic aroma and are believed to leave an aphrodisiac effect on the couple.
Suhaag Raat is also the night where usually the relatives and friends tease the groom for his impatience in joining his bride. They engage him in talks and hold him till quite late. The sisters or the younger relatives delay him further by putting across their demand for money or gifts to let him into the room with his bride. There is much fun and laughter while the poor groom negotiates with his sisters before reluctantly agreeing to their wishes.
The female relatives of the groom take the bride to her room where she waits for her husband to come. It is a tradition for the bride to cover her face with a veil or ghunghat, and wait for her husband. The groom then enters the room and sits beside his new wife and lifts her veil. The act of unveiling the bride and when her face is revealed is known as “mooh dikhai”. In many families, the groom may present his wife with some special gift as a memento of their suhaag raat.
On the wedding night, the newlywed couple is traditionally offered a glass of milk mixed to which usually turmeric and saffron are mixed to enhance the experience of the first night. Other aphrodisiacs, according to ancient Hindu scriptures and texts, include fennel-flavored milk, milk with almonds, spiced milk, or milk mixed with honey, sugar, etc.
It is a known fact that Hinduism is considered one of the oldest religions in the world. A Hindu wedding has some of the most sacred and timeless rituals and customs. And among these traditional customs, serving a glass of milk to the newlywed couples (specifically the groom) on their wedding night is extremely popular. This custom has been even popularized in several Indian films and TV series. The milk is considered an aphrodisiac, which can ensure that the couple enjoys their first night together. Furthermore, milk is believed to help the couple to replenish their energy after days of tiring wedding rituals and celebrations.