South Asian Wedding Terms To Know


BARAAT: the groom’s wedding procession, usually includes family and friends dancing towards the ceremony venue with the groom on a horse


DANDIA: colorful sticks used in the Gujurati folk dance (also, Daandia)

Dhula & Dulhan

DULHA: the groom

DULHAN: the bride

GANESH PUJA: Most auspicious Indian ceremonies to begin with the worship of Ganesha, so that he can help remove any obstacles that may stand in the path of this union.

GARBA: a traditional Gujurati folk dance; a pre‐wedding evening of dance organized by the bride’s family

GRANTHI: a Sikh priest


GURUDWARA: the Sikh temple or place of worship

HAALDI: A pre-wedding ceremony where a paste known as Ubtan containing turmeric, herbs and chandan (sandalwood) is applied on the face, arms and feet of the bride and groom

HAAR: a floral necklace

HAVAN: lighting the sacred fire before a Hindu prayer or wedding ritual

Havan Kund

HAVAN KUND: A vessel in which fire is lit for Puja (Prayer).


HEENA: a colored paste made from the green leaves of a henna plant used to decorate the hands and feet of the bride


JAIMALA: a Hindu wedding ceremony where the bride and groom exchange garlands

Outdoor Mandap

MANDAP: a decorated four‐pillared canopy under which the bride and groom have their Hindu wedding ceremony

MANGALSUTRA: Sacred necklace that the groom ties around the bride’s neck signifying their marriage.

MASJID: the Muslim place of worship

MEHNDI: a ceremony or celebration where guests have the opportunity to apply henna in event setting for the wedding occasions. Mostly females apply henna but now unisex to apply henna.

MILNI: a ceremony before the wedding where the men of both the bride’s and groom’s families meet to exchange hugs and garlands of flowers


NIKKAH: the Muslim wedding ceremony

PANDIT: a Hindu priest (also, Pundit)

PITHI: a ceremony where the bride and groom are covered in a yellow powder that is made into paste

PUJA/POOJA: a Hindu prayer


RAAS: a traditional Hindu dance in pairs and short sticks, called Dandia, which involves hitting the partner’s sticks while following the rhythm of the music

SANGEET: a pre‐wedding custom involving women gathering together to sing traditional folk songs and verses

SHAADI: the Indian wedding ceremony

VIDAAI: the departure of the newly married couple


WALIMA/VALIMA: The reception held after the Muslim wedding