Thursday, April 17, 2014

Types of Indian Wedding - Maharashtrian Wedding

The Maharashtrian Marriage Rituals usually start in the mornings. Usually observed by the Marathis the entire wedding process be it a arranged or love marriage, starts with matching the horoscopes. Astrology plays a key role in Indian Weddings. After the family priest matches the gunas or horoscopes of Bride and Groom, the date is finalized for other ceremonies. 

The preparation of the wedding starts with Sakhar Puda. This is the first ritual of the wedding. As the marriage is finalized the bride-to-be is gifted a Red colored Wedding Sari along with a some sugar or Marathi sweets, by the groom’s family. This is usually symbolic to an informal Engagement of the couple.

After this a 'Puja' is performed at the respective houses of Bride and Groom called Kelvan Ritual. In this ceremony, both the families offer their prayers to their Kuldevta .

The Halad Chadavane or Haldi ceremony involves mango leaves that have been immersed in haldi paste. Its applied on the body of Bride and Groom. Haldi is considered auspicious and has been scientifically proved to have medicinal value. If applied in a form on paste, haldi improves complexion and reduces the affects of acne. This is followed by Ghana Bharne. Performed by Five Married Women grinding rice grains holding five sticks together.  The bride and her mother holds the sticks to give direction. Similar thing is performed by the groom’s mother at her place.

The Wedding Celebration of the Maharashtrian Wedding begins with a Ganapati Puja to seek blessings of Lord Ganesh. The Maternal Uncle walks the Bride to the Mandap where the main ceremony will take place. The Seeman Puja is conducted when the Groom arrives at the Wedding venue. The Bride's parents wash groom's feet as a sign of welcome, and shower him with gifts usually made of gold. 

At the Mandap a silk partition is created to separate the Bride and Groom. It  is said that Bride and Groom should not look at each other as it brings bad luck. Now the priest recites Mantras, and the antarpat (silk veil) dividing the Bride and Groom is removed for the couple to see each other. The guests shower the couple with akshata or unbroken rice grains as the couple exchange garlands. This is meant to bring luck to the newly weds. 
The Kanyadan ceremony is done by the Bride's parents. Her hand is given to the Groom formally and holy water is poured as the Priest chants vedic mantras. The Groom ties the Mangalsutra around the Bride's neck and finalizing the final act of marriage ceremony. In the Hindu traditions, Sndoor or Vermillion and Mangalsutra are true symbols of a married women. 
The Seven Vows or Satapadhi ritual is when the couple take seven vows or seven circles around the Sacred fire. The fire deity is appeased and the couple ask blessings.
After each circle around the fire, the Bride has to touch her right foot to a heap of rice. Seven heaps of rice for seven circles around the fire.

 The girl also has to touch seven small heaps of rice with her right foot.

The Karmasampati ritual is when the Bride’s father, along with the newly married couple, prays to the lord for his blessings. To add a dash of humor 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.

The Vidai or Varat ritual marks the emotional moment when bride bids goodbye to her family members and take steps towards her husband’s house. The Newlyweds proceed to their new home and the Groom's family welcomes the new member to her house. Aarti is done and blessings give as the Bride enters  her new home. She is considered the pride of the family now, who will bring success and prosperity to the family. Her entry in the new house is considered auspicious and she is welcomed in the family with full warmth and love. 

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