The once widespread Hindu tradition of singing songs to celebrate a wedding is in danger of disappearing. Discotheque music and popular Bollywood tracks are taking over.
Weddings in India—whether among Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Muslims or another group—are large-scale community events. A wedding is often seen as the joining of two families as much as it is seen as the linking of two individual lives.
To prepare a Hindu bride for this large event, the women of the house will come together to sing songs. These songs support the bride in her journey from her parents’ home to her new husband’s house. Many women become distinguished performers of this art. The group dance is celebratory and marks this important time in both families’ lives.
Today, this is changing. Wedding DJ’s now mix in the place of traditional community singing. Traditional songs are viewed as antiquated, especially by young wealthy elite in urban areas.
At one point these songs brought neighbors and families together. Singing bonded families in a unique way that perhaps cannot be replicated by imported electronic music.
While globalization has brought us new goods, new culture and new networks, it has also aided in disbanding many of the traditions that once brought us together. Traditional songs are being replaced with DJs, Bollywood pop and foreign music. We hope cultures can adapt to produce new practices that bring people together in the modern age.
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