Thursday, May 21, 2009

• • • Fading traditions!

I was invited today for a small 'wedding date fixing' ceremony by a family residing near my village. In local language it is called 'Gadh Ghatna' or to 'tie a 'knot.'

This is an ages old way to fix wedding dates. All the elders of the family and friends and other respectable people from the area gather, join the family in the decision, and pray for the success of the decision and give their blessings. Men, then, one by one tie a knot each on a 'string' presented to them. After the knots are tied, all the guests congratulate both the families. Everyone is then presented a traditional sweet (mithai), which is followed by a feast. Women sing songs all night, a tradition called 'Jaaga' literally 'staying awake,' which is still an important part of weddings, engagements, child births and other such occasions in rural Punjab.

The knots are later sent, one each, to everyone you want to invite on wedding, by hand. The person who delivers the knots informs the receivers wedding date as well. This is how it happened till some thirty, or may be even lesser, years back.

This was my first ever experience to attend a 'Gadh,' a tradition that is fading really quickly, and my guess is that would be redundant in few years. I wonder why these traditions aren’t important or practical enough for people anymore. I'm glad I got to be part of it, at least once, in my life.


  1. its like people used to follow traditions, whether they like it or not, fearing that not following them would mean misfortune..

    But now, with more educated people around, and as u realize that people who dint follow rituals are as happy as u are makes people think these are redundant..

    I would like rituals as these to continue..but there are many that i wud love to see go, and to each his own..

  2. Sounds fun Sikandar :) ... just one question, when you say that knot is sent as a wedding invitation so what if the bride or the groom side get short of the knots and they need to invite more people? Do they tie up new knots and send them over?

  3. Andy, you are absolutely right. We must do away with the rituals and traditions that are unnecessary and 'not so good', but ones like these should be encouraged and followed.

  4. Yes Ammara they 'did].. they tied as many as they needed. Also, instead of a knot, they just sent a part of the thread if they needed to invite more people. :)

    The knot actually symbolizes 'decision' along with the 'relationship' but more so the decision.

  5. True, there are so many rituals we follow but may not be able to explain why are we following it or when it originated. However, there are some rituals which may seem meaningless to many but go a long way in bringing together a family.
    And then, there are rituals which need to be done away with...!

    BTW, the 'Gadh Ghatna' ceremony which you attended, was it conducted the traditional way or was the ceremony modernised?

  6. It was done traditionally as far as tieing the knots on a thread was concerned. A gathering of around 50 men, and I'm sure as many women attended the event. I was the first to tie the knot.

    But as far as invitations are concerned, I guess they'll use invitation cards, and not the knots.