Gold Rush: Indian Wedding Season
The period from October through March is the most popular time of year to schedule and celebrate weddings in India. Because of the importance of gold in Indian weddings, the global bullion market also sees a spike in prices during the same period. The importance of gold in Indian marriages has a long history that still has a significant role in the practices and rituals associated with modern weddings in the country.
In India, most marriages are still arranged by the families involved and are viewed not only as a union of bride and groom, but also as a bond between two families. As such they are an opportunity to showcase a family’s prestige and status in the community and are celebrated in as lavish a style as resources permit. Typically, weddings involve months of planning, including shopping for elaborate saris and jewelry for the bride, her family and her attendants. Numerous ceremonies are celebrated over a period of several days; relatives and friends travel from around the world to attend; the wedding hall is decorated in gorgeous style; the wedding canopy is draped with garlands of fresh flowers. Following the ceremony hundreds, if not thousands of wedding guests are fed an elaborate meal and food and alms are given to the poor. Music, dancing and celebrating continue late into the night.
India is now the number one consumer of gold in the world and nowhere is this more evident than during an Indian wedding. Half of the gold Indians buy consists of jewelry for the 10 million weddings held in India every year. Typically, world gold prices rise ahead of wedding season in India as families shop for brides’ dowries and wedding jewelry. On her wedding day, it is a point of honor for a bride’s family to make sure she is adorned in thousands of dollars worth of gold and jewels. Her jewelry will also serve as her financial security once she joins her husband’s family. Indian women start receiving gold jewelry as presents when they are young girls, in preparation for their wedding day.
A bride’s wedding sari, as well as the many other outfits and accessories in her trousseau, are often elaborately woven and embroidered with gold thread. Each sari is a unique work of art as well as a financial investment. While customs vary among regions and religions throughout the country, the bride’s wedding outfit is usually in a vibrant color such as red, orange or yellow and is usually decorated with gold thread, crystals, pearls or sequins.
Shortly before the wedding the bride’s hands and feet are painted with intricate henna designs known as ‘mehndi’. Henna is a natural, semi-permanent dye that takes several hours to dry and can last for weeks. This tradition makes the bride’s wrists, arms and hands a focal point of her ensemble, giving even more prominence to her gold bangles and cuffs.
Mela Artisans’ City Lights collection is inspired by this golden jewelry tradition. Our handcrafted gold-plated cuffs put a modern twist on the centuries-old practice of adorning Indian brides with the gold jewelry and gold-accented attire necessary for a resplendent wedding celebration. Add one of these pieces to your own wardrobe for an easy way to add opulence to any ensemble.
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- Jessica Irias