Weddings are full of fun and frolic! There are some traditions which are a part of the wedding, to make the moment a light one especially for the bride’s family. Its also a good way to involve the family and friends in the wedding. One such tradition is the Joota Chupai which refers to stealing or hiding the Groom’s Shoes or Jootas and then demanding that he pays up if he wants them back.
Joota Chupai is a practice prevalent in all North Indian weddings. It is also a part of Muslim marriages. But this tradition is carried out in different styles in different regions.
When does it take place?
Once the groom enters the Mandap for the marriage ceremony, the Joota Chupai begins. After the wedding ceremony is complete, the sisters or the saalis begin the demand and negotiate for a price to return the Jootas.
The Groom takes off his jootas/shoes before entering the Mandap. The Bride’s family makes wacky plans to steal the shoes and hide it. On the other hand the Groom’s family tries to protect them. Usually the Bride’s sisters and cousins steal the shoes as it is a matter of their pride and honor.
Once the ceremony is over and the groom needs his shoes back, as he is supposed to leave the mandap with the same shoes he came in. The groom’s family and friends start searching for the shoes.
The sisters and cousins surround him and demand a hefty fee for agreeing to return the shoes. According to the tradition, the groom has to agree to their demands, a limited amount of bargaining is also a part of the show, but negotiations are pretty tough. The groom fulfills their demand for getting back his shoes. The demand is usually a gold ring or an ornament. Sometimes a silver ornament or some amount of cash.
Image Courtesy: Arjuns Tryst with the camera
Traditionally, Weddings were held in temples in the ancient times. Therefore, the concept of the groom removing his shoes originates from here. Now temples are replaced by mandaps, yet shoes are not supposed to be a part of the Wedding ceremony. It is not about the money, but the fun that comes along with the tradition.
It could be said, that this practice was popularized with the movie “Hum Aapke Hain Kaun“. Madhuri Dixit and her friends hide the shoes in a “ladoo” box. When its time to return the shoes, the “saalis” negotiate with the groom for “Joote De Do, Paise Le Lo”.
Joota Chupai is famous in North India. Whereas in the south, this is replaced by “Joota pehnana” the bride’s brother awaits the groom’s arrival from the mandap, makes him wear the shoe. The groom then gifts him a gold ring or some cash.