Indians and their wedding celebrations

The big fast Indian wedding lives up to its name every time! A wedding is one of the biggest occasions in any Indian community. As they rightly say, an Indian wedding is not a wedding between two people, but it is the marriage between two whole families. Like any other occasion, the Indians treat a wedding as one of the grandest festivals, starting from celebration, music, dance and food! With grandeur and loud celebrations, the Indians can boast about their weddings and they set high standards for themselves!

The weddings in Gujarat!

The Gujaratis, up west, are an enthusiastic lot of people. They celebrate every occasion in a grand way! Dances are a part of their festivals. Traditional songs and folk lore are common in Gujarati. There is a myriad of culture and traditions when it comes to Gujarati weddings. They do not usually contain a truckload of rituals, but it has high amusement value. Besides, it is interesting to learn about the Gujarati traditions and folk songs. Even though there are weddings like, Jain weddings, in Gujarat, the Gujarati weddings are popular for their traditions.

Pre-wedding Gujarati rituals

Like any other Indian wedding, the Gujarati wedding rituals start much before the actual wedding day. First and foremost, the families of the bride and the groom come together to decide upon the alliance of the two. The priest is called to match their kundali or horoscope. This tradition is followed by all Indian weddings. Thereafter sweets are distributed among all the members of the family. A date is fixed to hold the wedding ceremonies. This auspicious date is fixed by the priest. The wedding ceremonies start after that.

Mandap Mahurat: This is one of the first few rituals in a Gujarati wedding. This is held in the homes of both the bride and the groom. Since the Gujaratis are firm believers of the Lord Ganesha, this ritual is held to pray to the Lord for bringing good luck to the to-be married couple.

Griha Shanti: The Mandap Mahurat leads to the Griha Shanti ritual. Here, the priest performs a puja in the homes of the bride and the groom individually. This is done so that peace prevails in the two families before and after they are married.

Jaan: This is one of the rituals which have a fun factor to it. Before the wedding, the groom comes to the bride’s house to seek the blessings of her mother. A feast is prepared for him and the mother performs a ritual to ward off the evil spirits from his life. Also, as per one ritual, the groom’s mother in law will pretend to pull his nose, when he tries to avoid it.

Wedding day Gujarati rituals

If the pre-wedding rituals were interesting, so are the wedding day ones. The rituals are presided over by the priest who is responsible of carrying the wedding through.

Kanya Daan: Like any other Indian wedding, a Gujarati wedding has this ritual. Kanyadaan is made of two words, kanya, meaning daughter, and daan, meaning giving away. This ritual signifies the daughter being given by her father to her to-be husband. Also, the groom is considered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. For this reason, the parents of the bride wash his feet to honor the incarnation of the Lord.

Hasta Milap: The groom wears a scarf around this neck during the wedding ceremonies. Here, the end of the scarf and the bride’s sari are tied together as this is symbolic of their holy reunion. As this is done, holy verses are recited and rose petals are showered on the bride and the couple. This is one of the best parts of the Gujarati wedding.

Pheras and Saptapadi: Pheras are again common in all Indian weddings. Here, the bride and the groom take rounds around the fire a few times. This is known as the Saptapadi. Fire is considered to be the holy witness to this ceremony. The fire God of Agni is honored here. The priest chants prayers during this time and the bride and the groom take vows to be with each other at all times, during sickness and health.

These are the main rituals in the Gujarati wedding. This completed the wedding, but the rituals are continued even after that!

Post-wedding Gujarati rituals

The post-wedding rituals are very interesting in a Gujarati marriage. After the bride reaches her new home, she has to take part in a few ceremonies with her new family.

Reception: This comes immediately after the wedding. The groom’s family throws this reception to help the bride get acquainted with the members of her new family. People come to bless the newlyweds. Well-wishers shower them with gifts. Traditional Gujarati dishes are prepared for this day.

Vidaai: This is a ritual in which bride leaves her house and proceeds towards her husband’s house in a well-decorated car. She is escorted by her brother-in-law, along with her husband.

Ghar Nu Laxmi: This is the first step that the bride takes in her new house. This is a very suspicious occasion. There is a pot full of rice grains at the doorstep. When she enters the house, she tilts it over and spills the rice grains to mark her entry. She is welcomed with aarti by her mother-in-law.

Thereafter, she is taken around the house to get her acquainted with everything. This marks the beginning of a new life for her. Together the newlyweds embark on this new journey in life.

This completes the wedding rituals. Every ceremony is backed by a traditional folk lore. The rituals are a treat to the eye! There are a number of different cultures in the western part of the country, but the Gujarati customs stand out! Their weddings are kept simple and short. However, the celebrations are grand in nature and bring together the families of the bride and the groom- a true union of two families!

Raja Kumar

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