What Is a “sangeet” Ceremony?

A “sangeet” ceremony is a wedding tradition observed in India that involves singing, dancing and music. It traditionally occurs a few days prior to the “mehndi” ceremony, which is the ritual of applying henna (“mehndi”) to the bride in preparation for the wedding itself.

For many, the purpose of the “sangeet” is to unwind from the stress of marriage preparation. Traditionally arranged for the bride by her family, who invite a number of female guests, the “sangeet” is celebrated in the spirit of light-heartedness, replete with sweet foods, the telling of jokes and the relating of fond memories pertaining to the bride.

It may therefore be compared to the Western tradition of a bachelorette party or “hen night.”

More poignantly, the occasion traditionally marks a turning point in the bride’s relationship with her mother, since they are symbolically separating to allow the bride to fulfill the role of a wife.

Nowadays the “sangeet” is less of an occasion for women alone. It has become more common to hold the ceremony for the bride and groom together, inviting both male and female guests. Often the bride and groom will dance together at their “sangeet,” prior to their actual wedding, and Bollywood music has become especially popular as an accompaniment.