An Indian Wedding Tradition


“So my family originates from um, a little state called Gujrat in India, and uh we, our weddings in India differentiate from state to state, so our weddings have a certain aspect: At the beginning, prior to the formal ceremony, where the bride’s side attempts to steal the groom’s shoes. And it’s this big thing where both sides kind of get in this mini tussle that can kind of sometimes, expand in to big fights, um, over the shoes. And if the bride’s side succeeds in securing the groom’s shoes the groom then uh has to pay off the bride’s side to get his shoes back because he can’t leave , he can’t leave the uh location without those shoes.”


The informant on his experience with this wedding tradition: “So, um, this past wedding that I went to, I was on the groom’s side, so I was semi-in charge of my cousin’s, so we were in charge of securing those shoes and keeping them safe, so the entire way up until, the mundup is what we call it, it’s where they have the actual ceremony, we surrounded the groom like body guards and literally just walked him all the way up the stage and didn’t let anyone near him, like he was the president, um and successfully got him there without having the shoes stolen. In another situation at another wedding I was on the bride’s side, and um the groom’s side had secured one shoe, the other shoe had been secured by us, and one of the big guys like, put it behind him and held it there. And you know, I was in charge at the time of like figuring out where they took it, so I realized he had put it behind him and just had it in one hand, and I just grabbed it and ran, straight out of his hand, and got it that way. So I mean it takes a little scheming and planning, but it’s fun, it’s one of the fun parts about a wedding.”


Indian society is very patriarchal. So, in a way, what happens in a wedding is that the groom’s family steals the bride from her family. In this sense, the activity of the bride’s family in the wedding demonstrates their acknowledgment of this fact and their consequent response. That they steal the groom’s shoes exhibits a lighthearted form of revenge taken against the groom’s family. The monetary compensation received from the return of the shoes is the least they can expect after having their daughter stolen from them.