Traditions – Vidai ( Indian Wedding Farewell )

I am starting a new series, where I will be explaining various traditions, especially in India and my understanding behind those traditions. This are solely my understanding and beliefs and do not represent any affirmation to the beliefs or events that occur in India. It may be agreed or disagreed upon what I say and I will be happy to know different views on the traditions or any additions to the same, so please feel free to comment.

  • Why do girls cry during vidai विदाई (farewell after wedding) ? What is the significance !

There are many rituals connected to weddings, be it as per the location or the religious beliefs of a person. India being a diverse country, we find the diversity in the way weddings are conducted across the country and there are many rituals associated with wedding. Be it any state or caste, the ritual of vidai, the farewell of girl from her parents to her in-laws, is definitely seen everywhere.

So after the wedding ceremony where the bride and groom take oath of living together for the rest of life and once all the attendees have filled their tummy, the ceremony of vidai starts. In this often the girl cries a lot, because she is to leave her parents house for the rest of her life and be associated with in-laws, which eventually will become her own family. She cries over the shoulder of her parents, siblings, relatives and takes blessing from everyone for peace and harmony for the phase 2 of life. It is a very emotional event, where mostly all the females present at the occasion, will be shredding tears remembering her or her daughters farewell.

Now the best part ! Why to cry and what is this all about ? Well, as humans started to live in society and as we grew to form families, weddings, localities etc etc, we brought it some norms, some principals based on psychology, medicine, weather, seasons, economics. This principals or norms were placed over the period of time in the form of customs, traditions or rituals, which were then sipped into religion to make it a form of emotional, devotional and spiritual mandate in some cases.

Now technically, crying relaxes your brain and you feel light at heart. When someone cries their heart out, like cry out loud and reach to a start of near mourning, every emotions get drained out from the heart and head, via the eyes in the form of tears. Secondly, a girl who has lived her whole life with her family, gets married and goes to a unknown family. Again technically, these rituals came up as a part of society where arranged marriage was very popular or was the only means to marriage. Back then, most of the times, the girl would be seeing the boy for the first time and her first day in the in-laws will be really like putting a rabbit in the cage surrounded by fox (Just an expression, don’t take it to heart !).

So emotionally, she has a very strong bond with her family and to let go that becomes a very big task and unless the bond is broken, it would be really difficult to associate with the new family. Well, I believe the scholars back then knew this very well or may be from their experiences they realized this. By experiences, I mean when villagers used to see problems, they used to go to Panchayat (Village Heads). In Panchayat, detailed discussions used to be made from both parties and the heads would decide what is best for them. Also from the learning of the event they would bring new rules/norms/practices in the village and we know well that villages make the society or a country on the whole.

So the ritual of vidai, where the girl cries her heart out to let go of the bonding with family and free her heart for new space to accept the new people/family and emotions into her heart came up. This ritual was placed right after the wedding ceremony so it marks the end of phase one and embarks the start of phase two.

I hope you liked the view I have about this and let me know what you think about the vidai ceremony. Feel free to comment if you have different views or opinion. Thank you. Cheers.

The post doesn’t promote that girl should cry neither does it promote that girl should leave or let go of her parents/family. Post just focus on how the ritual might have come up and what is the psychological aspect behind that.