Significance of Engagement in Indian Weddings

Getting engaged for marriage is a special occasion to rejoice happy moments of togetherness with close friends and relatives; enjoy the excitement of exchanging gifts between two families, dressing up in a special way for the occasion and of course the elaborate feast that follows. You go all out shopping and enjoy spending hours selecting your choice of clothes and accessories with care as never before. The tasty and best arranged menu for food that delights your taste buds. Two families of the bride and the groom put their best foot forward to encourage a good relationship.


In India, engagement is traditionally an important occasion that blows the bugle for a marriage sanctified with the blessings of elders. These days, along with deciding upon the auspicious time for marriage, the practice of exchanging rings between the boy and the girl are in vogue.

Custom of engagement:

Once the family of the girl and that of the boy decide upon the happy concurrence of marriage between the girl and boy there follows a series of festive occasions celebrated with friends and relatives. Indian marriages conducted with glitter, pomp and show are generally not a single-day event. Many rituals and practices mark the days leading up to the marriage.

Deciding the date and time of marriage is done ceremoniously in the presence of close relatives and friends. These days engagement between the girl and the boy takes place on the same day followed by celebration with singing of songs, joyful interactions and feast. In such functions, usually either the bride or groom’s family visit the other’s house to formally initiate discussion and rituals for marriage. In India, this ritual varies a little from one region to another.

Engagement ceremonies in different parts of India:

Sagai: In the states of north India, marriage engagement ceremony or Sagai takes place when the would-be bride’s relatives visit the groom’s house carrying elaborate gifts of jewelry, sweets and elaborate food items with a marriage proposal. Father of the bride puts a vermillion mark or tikka on the forehead of the groom and the bride dresses up beautifully in glittering clothes. In Rajasthan, it is a function in which ladies usually do participate.

Sankalp and Punyavachan: In east Indian Oriya families, father of the groom visits the future-bride’s family to ask for her hand from her father. On bride’s father’s approval, the date of the marriage is proposed and finalized with confirmation from groom’s father.

Cheka: In Bihar, groom’s family accompanied by the groom visits the would-be bride’s house with gifts of clothes, jewellery and sweets to ask for her hand from her father and finalize the date of marriage.

Paka dekha and Ashirwaad: Among Bengalis, relatives from groom’s family visit bride’s house to decide upon the date of marriage during Paka dekha ceremony. This is followed by the Ashirwaad function when relatives from groom’s family bless their future daughter-in-law with customary holy dubba grass, chandan and paddy grains along with gifts of ornaments, sarees and sweets.

Nischayam: Marriage in a Kerala family is decided in traditional way through Nischayam ceremony. Family of the bride and the groom meet to exchange gifts of jewelry and special clothes followed by elaborate feast which is traditionally organized by the bride’s family.

Nichayartham: Engagement of a Tamil boy and a girl takes place when groom’s family visits the bride’s family with gifts of silk sari, jewelry and sweets. They are joined with priests from both sides to consider the lagna and raasi of the bride and the groom to decide on the auspicious time of the marriage ceremony. This function is attended by very close relatives from both the sides.

In different states the ceremony bears different names but in essence it is first ceremony that brings the bride and groom family together to confirm marriage between their girl and boy.