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What is involved in the Suhag Raat ritual?

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Common Suhag Raat (wedding night) rituals in India include covering the bedroom with flower arrangements, leaving a glass of milk next to the bed for the couple to share, and for the bride to enter first and hide behind a veil for the husband to remove. More playful traditions include the friends of the groom blocking the door to the bedroom and demanding gifts to let him pass.

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Most wedding night rituals aim to create a romantic mood in the bedchamber or to improve fertility in the coming marriage.

The glass of milk is one of the most widespread traditions and variations include receipts with crushed almonds and pepper, or with strawberry and saffron. This is believed to guarantee many children in the future. A more unusual tradition with the same purpose is leaving a chunk of strong cheese under the pillow.

It is also common for friends of the couple to make mischief in various ways, even including hiding in the bedroom and jump out screaming at the newlyweds. A tradition that is becoming increasingly outdated, on the other hand, is placing a white sheet on the bed and inspecting it the day after as proof of the bride's virginity.

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