Tag Archives: folktradition


The ‘Joota Chupai’ ritual is a playful custom at Indian weddings where the bride’s female relatives, often sisters and cousins, spiritedly steal and secrete the groom’s shoes. This lighthearted heist is enacted during the ceremony when the groom is required to be barefoot, setting the stage for a spirited negotiation for their return.


Recounting the jovial antics from his brother’s wedding last year, my friend narrated the high-spirited ‘Joota Chupai’ episode. As tradition dictates, the bride’s kin seized the opportunity to hide the groom’s shoes, demanding a sizable ransom for their safe return. The situation escalated into a humorous turn of events at sundown when the need for a picturesque sunset photo session led the furious bride to intervene, overturning the ritual’s usual outcome and the groom’s shoes were returned without the customary financial exchange.


The ‘Joota Chupai’ ritual transcends the mere act of playful mischief; it is emblematic of the cultural fabric that interweaves familial bonds, societal expectations, and the negotiations between tradition and modernity. This practice, underscored by Deirdre Evans-Pritchard’s analysis of authenticity in cultural expressions, suggests a complex interplay between established customs and the evolving dynamics of contemporary weddings. While the ritual typically concludes with the groom acquiescing to the monetary demands, this narrative reveals an intriguing deviation. The bride’s insistence on retrieving the shoes to capture the perfect wedding moment underscores the adaptability of cultural traditions in the face of practical circumstances. It demonstrates a shift from the ritual’s traditional financial objective to prioritizing the aesthetic and emotional value of the wedding experience. This incident not only reflects the fluidity of cultural practices but also highlights how individual agency can redefine traditional roles and expectations. The negotiation process inherent in the ‘Joota Chupai’ serves not just as entertainment but as a microcosm of the give-and-take present in familial relationships, where cultural rituals are subject to reinterpretation in response to immediate personal and collective priorities.