(Image Courtesy: Tanishq)
Maharashtrian Wedding Rituals
Among the many kinds of Indian weddings, Maharashtrian weddings often tend to be less lavish but just as beautiful. However, like many Hindu weddings, a Maharashtrian wedding also comprises of a mix of pre wedding, wedding day and post wedding rituals. The weddings are normally held during the day and people often find the appropriate mahurat for the wedding ceremony. Although the rituals and customs may vary, these are some of the more commonly followed Maharashtrian wedding rituals:
Sakhar Puda- It all starts with the Sakhar Puda (sakha meaning sugar, puda meaning packet) or the engagement, where the families exchange a decorated packet of sugar or sweets like pedhas, once the marriage is fixed. The maharashtrian bride is also given sarees and green glass bangles by her in-laws. Sometimes the couple exchange rings too. Traditionally the families wait to print and send the wedding invites only after the sakhar puda.
Kelvan – Normally a couple of days before the wedding day, there is a big meal organized for the bride and groom in their houses respectively, attended by all the close relatives.
Maharashtrian Haldi Ceremony
Halad Chadawat – The Maharashtrian haldi ceremony is traditionally held the day before the wedding or on the wedding day preceding the ceremonial bathing. The halad or turmeric is ground and made into a paste, which is then applied with mango leaves on the bride’s skin. The groom’s family has a similar function at their home. Sometimes the groom’s leftover turmeric paste from is taken to the bride’s house.
Ganpati Puja – On the day of the ceremony, prayers to Lord Ganesha are conducted to bless the occasion and to ensure that the wedding goes off without a hitch.
Seemant Puja – The groom and the baraat are welcomed at the wedding venue with a seemant (meaning boundary) puja. Traditionally it used to take place when the groom and his entourage entered the bride’s village. The groom’s feet are washed and he receives gifts from his in-laws. The bride’s mother also does his aarti.
Gaurihar/Gowrihar Puja – Dressed up in a yellow saree (normally given by a maternal uncle) with her bridal jewellery and makeup the bride sits before an idol of Parvati. She is supposed to pray to the Goddess Anapurna.
Wedding Ceremony / Lagna – The bride is escorted to the lagna mandap by her maternal uncle. Both the bride and the groom wear the mundavalya on their heads (strings of pearls, flowers etc.) and are separated by an antarpat i.e. screen made of cloth. After chanting prayers and shlokas the antarpat is removed and the couple is showered with akshata or unbroken rice grains and garlands are exchanged. After the kanyadan and the tying of the mangalsutra, the couple takes the seven steps near the holy fire. The ceremony is usually followed by a lunch or wedding reception.
Varat – The varat is the emotion charged ending where the bride bids her family goodbye and leaves for her groom’s house amidst fanfare.
Grihapravesh – The bride enters her new home and is welcomed by her mother-in-law with an aarti. She then gently knocks over a vessel filled with rice at the doorstep, symbolizing the luck and prosperity she is bringing into the house.