Marwari weddings are lavish and grand with a host of pre and post wedding ceremonies stretching over a number of days. They are usually royal and majestic with a large number of guests. Marwari weddings are grand in every aspect be it food or décor.
Pre Wedding Rituals
Sagai : This is the engagement ceremony which takes place at the grooms home. This is strictly a male affair and does not include any ladies; not even the bride. This ceremony makes the relation official. The brides bother performs this ritual and is known as ‘tika’. The brother puts a tilak on the groom’s forehead and a sword and gifts such as clothes, sweets, fruits are given to the groom.
Ganapati Staphana and Griha Shanti: This ceremony takes place a couple of days before the wedding. A puja and havan is conducted by both the families for peace and prosperity throughout and post the wedding. An idol of lord Ganesh ia also installed at their respective homes during this ceremony.
Pithi Dastoor: This is one of the most important pre-wedding ceremonies and involves both the bride and the groom until the wedding day. It involves application of turmeric and sandalwood paste to the bride and the groom. According to customs once the Pitih ceremony starts, both the bride as well as the groom cannot leave their homes. The ceremony at the bride’s house is an elaborate affair. The bride dresses in a traditional orange Rajasthani dress and enters the gathering walking under a silk canopy which is held with the help of four swords on the corners by four ladies who must belong to the same clan as the bride. Ladies sing traditional songs and are accompanied by dhol beats played by women present at the function.
Mehfils: This ceremony is a part of every Rajasthani wedding. It is held in the evening and is separate for men and women. Traditional Ghoomar dance is performed at the ladies mehfil and there is a special seating made for the bride to enjoy the performance. Only the groom is allowed to enter the ladies Mehfil while the men have their own Mehfil with singers performing and entry to this is strictly prohibited for women.
Mahira Dastoor: This is another important ceremony which is performed individually at the bride and groom’s home. This ceremony is performed by the maternal uncle of the bride and the groom wherein the uncle arrive with an array of gifts along with his wife. The mother of the bride/groom welcomes the uncle as he brings clothes, gifts, jewellery and sweets for the entire family. This ritual is based on an old custom where it was believed that it is the duty of the brother to help his sister as at the time of wedding the expenditure is considerably huge.
Janev Ceremony: A sacred thread is given to the groom on the eve of his wedding which he is supposed to wear after performing a havan. The groom is supposed to be dressed in a saffron robe during this ceremony. This ritual signifies that he accepts the institution of marriage and the responsibilities that come with the wedding.
Palla Dastoor: This ceremony is performed either on the wedding day or a day prior. According to this ritual, the groom’s relatives carry the bride’s wedding outfit, jewellery and gifts for the bride which she is supposed to wear for the wedding ceremony.
Nikasi: This ritual involves the tying of the groom’s headgear known as ‘Sehra’. This is tied by the groom’s sister’s husband and is made of flowers or pearls. The groom’s sister-in-law then applies kajal in his eyes and the groom’s sister ties golden threads to the reins of the mare. The baraat is now set to start.
Baraat: This is the wedding procession of the groom. It consists of only male members of the family and all members including the groom carry swords.
Toran: The entrance of the bride’s house is decorated with toran. Before entering, the groom is suppose to hit the toran with a stick of neem to ward off any evil eye. The groom is welcomed by the bride’s mother at the doorstep.
Sindoor: During this ritual the groom applies a dot of vermilion, a red coloured powder to the bride’s forehead at the parting of her hair and accepts her as a companion for life. This signifies the completion of the marriage.
Jaimala: During this ceremony, the bride and the groom exchange garlands.
Granthi Bandhan: This ritual involves tying the knot. The cloth tied to the groom’s waist is tied to the bride’s dupatta. This is done by the sister of the groom or by the priest and it signifies the union of two souls as they become one entity.
Paanigrahan: In this ceremony the groom holds the bride’s hand and promises to stand by her through happy and sad times.
Pheras: The bride and the groom walk around the sacred fire and take their wedding vows. Every round signifies a promise which they are supposed to keep for the rest of their lives.
Ashwahrohan: In this ceremony, the bride puts her foot on the grinding stone. This symbolizes that the bride will face all challenges with courage. The bride’s brother then hands her a handful of puffed rice which she then passes to the groom and is then offered to the fire. This signifies the btother’s happiness and wishes to the newly wedded couple.
Vamang-Sthapana and Sindurdaan: In this ceremony the groom requests the bride to sit on his left hand side as the human heart is on the left of the body.
This signifies that the groom is accepting the bride and establishing her in his heart. This is followed by Sindoordaan ceremony where the groom fills the parting of the bride’s hair with sindoor. This is considered to be very auspicious.
Saptapadi: In this ceremony the bride and groom walk seven steps together. This signifies that now on they will always walk together and they also make seven promises to each other. Post this ‘pherpatta’ is carried out which signifies that the bride can now freely proceed to her new house. The sister of the groom then does the ‘sargunthi’ where she adorns the bride’s hair. This signifies that the bride has been accepted by the groom’s family.
Aanjhala Bharaai: During this ritual the bride’s father-in-law puts a bag full of money on her lap. This is a way of welcoming the bride to her new family and also making her aware of her responsibilities. The bride gives a part of this money to her sister-in-law and another part of it to her husband. With this ceremony the wedding rituals come to an end and the couple then takes blessings from all the elders present by touching their feet.
Paharavani: In this ritual, the groom is made to sit on a new cloth and is welcomed by a ‘tika’. The bride’s family presents him various gifts including clothes, money and things for his personal use. A silver utensil known as kachola is gifted to the groom’s father. Post these rituals, the bride worships the threshold of her parental home and breaks an earthen diya on it. Then the bride and groom are escorted out and they leave for the groom’s house.
Bidai: This is when the bride and the groom depart to their new home together. A coconut is placed under the wheel of the car before the bride lifts the veil for her husband. The groom is supposed to gift his wife a piece of jewellery at this time.
Post Wedding Rituals
Grihapravesh: This is the ceremony where the bride enters her new house. A puja is conducted to mark the entry and bride is supposed to wear the veil during these ceremonies.
Pagelagni: This ceremony takes place a day after the wedding where the bride is formally introduced to all family members from the groom’s side and she is blessed and showered with gifts. The veil is taken off only after this ceremony.
Other post-wedding ceremonies include ‘Chura’ where the mother-in-law presents a set of bangles to the bride and ‘Mooh Dikhai’ where the bride gets a chance to get acquainted with all family members.