Wacky World Of Wedding Traditions

Traditions, inspirations, ideas, and links from around the world

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Theft With Sole/Soul

Stealing the Groom's Shoes
An Indian Wedding Tradition

Indian weddings are full of traditions.  Some of them date back thousands of years, like the pheras (walk around the fire), and some are newer, like the jutta chuppai (shoe stealing). 

Because Indian weddings are religious events, people present under the mandap (the four-posted canopy) must have their shoes off since it is a sacred space.  The bride, the groom and the families are present at one point or another under the mandap.
When the wedding ceremony is done, the groom naturally looks for his missing shoes.  And so the girls offer the hostage shoes in exchange for cash.   In my wedding (Preeti), it turned out to be a complete, yet hilarious disaster.

My husband's shoes cost Rs 400 ($10) but my girlfriends wanted $100, 100€, AND Rs 4500.  They really weren't into the negotiation thing.  He offered $10, the girls refused, so he spent the rest of the day barefoot or wearing flip flops.  
Shoes off on the Alter Platform
Now, there's no religious reason to steal a groom's shoes, rather it's done as a way to build kinship between the groom and his new sisters-in-laws.  It's a fun way to bring the families together.

Eventually, the missing shoes turned up in my sister-in-law's bag after they had been around girl to girl as a hostage.   At least my husband has his shoes and his $10.

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