Wedding ceremonies of the Mussulmauns.—The new or full moon propitious to the rites being concluded.—Marriage settlements unknown.—Control of the wife over her own property.—Three days and nights occupied in celebrating the wedding.—Preparations previously made by both families.—Ostentatious display on those occasions.—Day of Sarchuck.—Customs on the day of Mayndhie.—Sending presents.—Day of Baarraat.—Procession of the bridegroom to fetch the bride.—The bride’s departure to her new home.—Attendant ceremonies explained.—Similarity of the Mussulmaun and Hindu ceremonies.—Anecdote of a Moollah.—Tying the Narrah to the Moosul.
When the young lady’s family have made all the necessary arrangements for that important event (their daughter’s nuptials), notice is sent to the friends of the intended bridegroom, and the gentlemen of both families meet to settle on what day the celebration is to take place. They are guided in the final arrangement by the state of the moon—the new or full moon has the preference; she must, however, be clear of Scorpio, which, as I have before stated, they consider the unfortunate sign. There are some moons in the year considered very unpropitious to marry in. At Mahurrum, for instance, no emergency as to time or circumstance would induce the female party to consent to the marriage solemnities taking place. In Rumzaun they have scruples, though not equal to those which they entertain against fulfilling the contract in Mahurrum, the month of mourning.
Marriage settlements are not known in Mussulmaun society. All contracts are made by word of mouth; and to their credit, honourable reliance is usually followed by honourable fulfilment of agreements. The husband is expected to be satisfied with whatever portion of his wife’s fortune the friends may deem consistent or prudent to grant with their daughter. The wife is at liberty to keep under her own control any separate sum or allowance her parents may be pleased to give her, over and above the marriage portion granted to the husband with his wife.
The husband rarely knows the value of his wife’s private property unless, as sometimes happens, the couple in after years have perfect confidence in each other, and make no separate interests in worldly matters. Occasionally, when the married couple have not lived happily together, the wife has been known to bury her cash secretly; and perhaps she may die without disclosing the secret of her treasure to any one.
In India the practice of burying treasure is very common with females, particularly in villages, or where there are fears entertained of robbers. There is no difficulty in burying cash or other treasure, where the ground floors of the houses are merely beaten earth—boarded floors, indeed, are never seen in Hindoostaun—in the houses of the first classes of Natives they sometimes have them bricked and plastered, or paved with marble. During the rainy season I have sometimes observed the wooden tuckht (a portable platform) in use with aged or delicate females, on which they make their seats from fear of the damp from the mud floor; but they complain that these accommodations are not half so comfortable as their ordinary seat.