Recently I learned that much like any other culture, pre-weddings celebration is a huge part of the Islamic culture. When the bride and groom has mutually settled on the terms of their union, their relatives will conduct a Mangni celebration. To find out more I decided to speak to an influential imam and conducted more research on it.
So, what is the Muslim Mangni ceremony? The Muslim Mangni ceremony is an engagement celebration where the friends and families of the couple celebrate the impending marriage. During the ceremony, the bride and groom will exchange rings in front of their family and friends. The family and friends then shower the couple with sweets and gifts. It is important, per the custom, that the groom should not wear a gold ring, though the bride is allowed to wear a ring of her choosing. A wedding date is announced during this ceremony or following the Mangni.
One of the main highlights of a Muslim wedding, before the actual nikah ceremony, is the ritual of Mangni. This ritual marks the official ‘asking’ of the bride’s hands by the groom and his family. During this ceremony, the rings are exchanged between the couple to help seal the union of the two people as well as their families. This ceremony takes place after the Imam Zamim and can be done either weeks or even months before the actual day of the wedding.
In numerous religions and cultures, a ring on the toe is a symbol that indicates that a woman is married. It shows her commitment to her husband. Muslim women have been known to wear a silver or gold ring on their toes instead of the western style finger rings. These customary foot ornaments are identified by numerous names depending on the culture they are recognized in.
They are known by numerous names like Bichiya, Metti, Mettelu, or in some cases, Kalungra. It is traditionally worn on the second toe. These rings serve both a literal and representational purpose. These rings are considered to balance and vitalize the body, helping the bride to lead a happy and long life. The rings are worn on the feet of the bride during the time of the wedding and are a symbol of the man placing his commitment and honor before his bride.
The exchange of the rings during the Mangni ceremony holds a remarkable meaning; it is used as a symbol of everlasting commitment and love. It is the symbol that has to represent the circle of life and all the happening therein. Birth, love, life, and death. All the meanings and the beautiful part of life. These processions are especially poignant when shared with a lover.
The exchange of the wedding rings is a promise to be part of the lover’s world and to celebrate, share, and even to mourn with them throughout this life. Across the Islamic religion and tradition, the ring is viewed as a reminder and a promise of the time two souls were united as single entity.
Mangni in Islam means betrothal. This ceremony is a prenuptial. The relatives of both the bride and the groom meet up. Various traditions are specific to different Muslim communities that are conducted. Both families present each other with jewels including mangalsutra that is worn by the bride and the ring that is expected to be worn by the bride. Ceremonial attire to be worn by the would-be couple during the marriage ceremony.
What Happens at a Mangni Engagement Ceremony?
Mangni is a ceremony is conducted in the groom’s home where the friends and family of both the bride and groom are attending. The bride’s family pays a visit to the groom’s family and presents them with a lot of traditional gifts like dry fruit, sweets as well as tikka material that is used during the ceremony.
At the start of the ceremony, the groom’s sister puts a fine long scarf around the neck of the groom which he then holds open on his lap when the bride’s family comes to present gifts. On the other hand, the bride is wrapped with an ornate chunni.
This chunni can be a family heirloom that is passed down from one generation to the other. The father in law then blesses the groom and then fills the palla with dry fruits and sweets, and gives it to the groom with some money, or other gifts like a gold chain or a watch.
On the other hand, the groom’s family also presents the bride’s family with a basket full of almonds, cashew nuts, coconut pieces, raisins, coconut pieces, apricots among other things. The bride is as well presented with jewelry which her sister in law and mother help her wear. A small dot of Mehndi is then applied on her hand to signify good luck.
Once all the above rituals have been conducted, the respective fathers of the groom and bride put a garland over each other, known as a meeting, to mark the end of the different rituals of the day. The Mangni ceremony usually ends with the exchange of rings between the groom and the bride.
All the guests that attended the Mangni ceremony including the groom and bride, are given various sweets, laddus as well as dry fruits. It is a significant ritual that cements the relationship between both families. It also shows the bride’s family that their daughter is much welcomed in her to-be home.
During the Mangni ceremony, the groom and bride flaunt their ethnic wear. Elaborate saris, lehengas, and sherwanis generally grace the occasion as well as the wearers. Young brides opt to choose neon lehengas in vibrant hues pink, blue, green, purple, and red, which are designed with elaborate motif or zari work. Delicate and pretty jewelry adds to the overall charm.
Some brides opt to keep their style chic and simple while some like to go all out and wear the glamorous style of clothing. The bridegrooms, on the other hand, go for expensive suits and ties or in some cases a kurta which appears traditional and fashionable at the same time.
Today the Mangni ceremonies are conducted at large banquet halls where friends and family of the couple are invited. The decoration of the banquet halls is usually lavish, and lunch or dinner is as well arranged for all the guests. In the past, only men from the bride’s family were only invited to the groom’s home. It was also forbidden for any girl to enter her in-law’s house before the wedding was conducted as it was considered inauspicious.
This custom however changed over time, especially in urban Muslim settings where the bride is allowed to visit her in-laws’ home for a Mangni ceremony. The bride’s family should never visit the groom’s house empty-handed as it is always considered unlucky for the couple. Hence, carrying gifts as well as dry fruits is encouraged.
In conclusion, the Mangni ceremony is the official engagement between a Muslim bride and groom. Each of the families shower gifts of dry fruits, sweets, and gifting both the bride and groom. This ceremony holds lots of significance in any Muslim culture. A traditional Muslim wedding should recognize the importance of such a ceremony.
As mentioned above, several rituals are conducted including the formal declaration of the wedding day and time, and traditionally welcoming the bride’s family to the bridegroom’s house. A formal commitment is done between two individuals getting engaged and vows are exchanged to help solidify the engagement.