Out of all the different regional weddings in India, Maharashtrian weddings are filled with rituals that are quite simple yet vibrant. Most of their wedding ceremonies are conducted during the day. The process begins by matching the bride and the groom’s horoscopes. If their horoscopes match perfectly, then an auspicious date is fixed for the wedding and other ceremonies.
Though the specific rituals may vary according to the customs and beliefs of the people, here are some of the important rituals of a traditional Maharashtrian wedding.
This is the first ritual of the wedding, also known as the engagement ceremony. The bride-to-be is gifted a sari and a packet of sugar or sweets, by the groom’s family. After this the couple exchange rings.
A prayer is performed at both, the bride and the groom’s, houses. In this, both the families offer their prayers to their kuldevta (family deity). The prayer ceremony is followed by a family lunch.
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This ceremony is conducted in most of the regional weddings in India. Turmeric paste is applied on to the face, hands and feet of both the bride and the groom. This ceremony takes place a day before the wedding.
The wedding day ceremonies begin with Ganapati puja, to seek blessings of Lord Ganesha before any other rituals take place. The bride’s maternal uncles escort her to the lagna mandap, where the mangalashtakas (Sanskrit and Marathi holy verses) are being recited. The bride and the groom have to wear the mundavalya on their heads, which is basically a string of flowers or pearls.
Seemaan puja is conducted when the groom reaches the wedding venue with a wedding procession. The bride’s parents wash his feet and shower him with gifts and blessings.
As the marriage rituals begin, the bride and the groom are not supposed to see each other. So, a silk shawl separation is placed between the two.
After the holy verses are recited, the couple sees each other for the first time. Guests shower akshata (unbroken rice grains) on the couple. Then the couple exchange garlands.
In the kanyadan ceremony, the bride’s father gives his daughter’s hand in the hands of the groom. After this, the groom ties a mangalsutra around the girl’s neck and applies sindoor (vermillion) in the centre of her hair parting. The bride then applies a sandalwood tikka on the groom’s forehead.
Here, the couple takes seven rounds around the sacred fire, reiterating seven holy vows of matrimony. The girl also has to touch seven small heaps of rice with her right foot.
The bride’s father, along with the newly married couple, prays to the lord for his blessings. To add a dash of humour to the ceremony, sometimes bride’s father or brother playfully twist groom’s ear, reminding him of his responsibility towards the bride. All this is followed by a grand lunch to mark the completion of wedding ceremonies.
After the wedding ceremonies are complete, the bride bids a tearful farewell to her family members.
As the bride enters the groom’s house for the first time, her mother-in-law welcomes her by doing an aarti. She also washes the couple’s feet with water and milk. The bride gently kicks a kalash of rice placed at the door of the house and the couple enters the house by placing their right foot first.
After the bride enters her new house, a wedding reception is often held by the groom’s side, as a mark of welcoming the new family member.
So here were all the traditions and rituals that make a Maharashtrian wedding a very pretty and heart-warming affair. Do you know of any other rituals that we missed out? Do let us know in the comments section below.
Mehendi laga ke rakhna…doli saja ke rakhna…lene tujhe o gori..aaenge tere sajna… Festivities in an Indian marriage begin with the mehendi ceremony. From the bride-to-be, to all the females in the house gather together for a fun-filled evening/noon and adorn their hands with beautiful, flower, birds, and abstract henna design patterns.Read More