There is a tradition in Indian weddings called ‘Kasi Yatra’ and the umbrella plays a significant part in this ritual.
In the days of old, some boys were not prepared to settle for the material comforts of a family. These boys would commence on a yatra (trek) to Kasi (in the foothills of the Himalayas) where they would seek a guru to gain wisdom from. They would only be armed with chappals to protect their feet, an umbrella and a fan to shield them from the sun and a Bhagavad Gita that will keep them focused on the journey. At this juncture, the father of a prospective bride would approach this man and request him to marry his daughter. The father would tell the man how much he stands to gain from a married life as against the life of an ascetic. He would also promise that his daughter would be with him to face challenges that life will throw at them. The groom would reconsider his decision and return to marry the bride.
This is re-enacted in the wedding ceremony. It is made to look like the groom got an epiphany and decided to walk to Kasi to pursue his spiritual quest. His holds an umbrella and a fan and walks towards the exit. (This part was kind of funny. I was worried N might take off after watching me in my bridezilla avtar over the past few hours and wouldn’t let him out of my sight.) The bride’s father or brother requests him to return and marry the bride. The groom returns and the wedding continues.
I do not know why this ritual is followed. However, the umbrella and the fan that the groom holds are supposed to be kept in the house. They would serve as a reminder to the husband and wife about the promises they made to one another.
Are there any such rituals in your weddings?