Traditional Ismaili Wedding Rituals

These rituals are used during the ceremony and the reception

Photo Credit: Portland Wedding Photographer.


The bride and groom are greeted by the groom’s mother and symbolically purified and blessed by placing a yellow mark on the bride’s and groom’s foreheads. Which initiates them into matrimony under a sign of good fortune. Followed by a showering of rice and rose petals, traditional symbols of prosperity and love.


This ceremony rids evil spirits that may interfere with the couple’s happiness. The groom’s mother will place a betel nut in her hand and make circular motions around the couple to summon protective spirits and repeated 4 times. Watch out for betel nuts flying from all directions north, east, south, and west.


“Dukh” in Sanskrit is “suffering or misfortune.” The groom’s mother will place her knuckles on either side of the couples’ foreheads and symbolically removes any future dukh from the couples’ lives. She then places her hands on either side of her own forehead and cracks her knuckles to vanquish all the unfavourable forces. The louder the crack, the more happiness.

Ghadhi (ghuri)

The groom’s mother purifies the couple by placing holy water onto the feet of the newlyweds from a vessel known as ghadhi.


Two sets of clay plates known as sapatia are placed in-front of the bride and groom. Each set contains lentils, symbolizing nature’s bounty; a quarter symbolizing material wealth; sugar for sweetness and harmony; and turmeric for good health. The couple must step onto the sapatia and break it in order to release the gifts they contain. Get ready to cheer your respective side as it traditionally believed that whoever breaks the sapatia first will rule the house!


The groom’s mother wraps a protective shawl known as a bandhani over the couple and symbolically leads them over the threshold of the family home.

Page (pug-aye) Lagamni

The newlyweds make a respectful gesture of bowing down and touching the groom’s parents feet. The groom’s parents bless the couple so they may begin their new life in peace.


The groom’s father formally welcomes the bride by presenting her with a tray of silver coins. The bride is invited to cup her hands and take as many coins as she can from the tray. The father then blesses the couple.


Two relatives, one from each side, attempt to detain the couple’s departure by holding onto the bride’s sari or dress and groom’s tie. The couple is ransomed to the satisfaction of the relatives before being allowed to depart.


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