A typical Marwari wedding is an elaborate celebration of pre-wedding, wedding, and post-wedding customs and rituals. Here are the major rituals of a Marwari wedding:
Roka is the ceremony where the parents from both the sides finalize the wedding plans. It usually takes place a few months prior to the wedding. On this particular day, the parents from both sides put a tilak on the bride and groom. An exchange of presents also takes place between both the families to mark the happy occasion.
The celebrations kick off with the Sagai, the engagement ceremony, where the couple exchanges rings. Next is the Pithi Dastoor, a turmeric paste application ritual, followed by the Mehndi ceremony, where intricate henna designs are adorn on the bride’s hands and feet. The vibrant sangeet brings joy through music and dance, where both families come together to celebrate the upcoming union.
Naandi Ganesh Pooja:
Naandi Ganesh puja is performed to seek blessings from Lord Ganesha and other Hindu deities for a smooth and hassle-free ceremony. The prevalent belief is that Lord Ganesha attends the wedding in the form of a small boy. That’s why a little boy accompanies the bride and groom in their pre-wedding rituals. He is believed to personify Lord Ganesha or Vinayak.
The Haldi Ceremony:
An essential pre-wedding ritual, the Haldi ceremony involves applying turmeric paste on the bride and the groom. The yellow hue symbolizes purity, luck, and blessings for their journey together.
The maternal family of the bride/groom’s mother is extended a warm welcome by her family as they come to attend the wedding. The maternal uncle or maternal uncle presents gifts to his sister’s family. He also agrees to extend financial support for the marriage.
Telbaan is a ritualistic bath given to the bride and groom on the marriage day morning. A paste of turmeric, mustard oil and fresh curd is applied on their face, hands and feet. This is followed by feeding ghunghra or sweet pancakes to the bride and the groom.
The Bhaat Ceremony:
During this ritual, the maternal uncle of the bride visits her home with gifts, sweets, and clothes. The bride is then escorted to the groom’s home, marking the beginning of the wedding celebrations at his residence.
Just before the groom sets off with his procession, his sister ties his sehra and puts a kajal tika behind his ear to ward off the evil eye. She also wraps a golden thread around the mare that he is to mount and ride to his marriage. The groom’s mother feeds him a spoonful of a mixture of lentils, sugar, rice and ghee, which is considered auspicious.
The Baraat and Welcome:
The bridegroom arrives at the wedding venue in a grand procession known as the Baraat. The bride’s family warmly welcomes him, and the women perform an aarti, showering blessings and warding off evil spirits.
The Wedding Ceremony:
The marriage takes place under a beautifully decorated canopy called the Mandap. The bride and groom exchange garlands (Jaimala) indicating acceptance and love. The Pheras, the sacred seven rounds around the sacred fire, symbolize their union and commitment. The groom then applies sindoor (vermilion) on the bride’s forehead, and she wears the mangalsutra, marking her marital status.
After the marriage, the bride enters her new home and performs the Griha Pravesh ritual, signifying her formal entry into her husband’s household.
A Marwari wedding is a treasure trove of age-old customs and rituals passed down through generations. The rituals not only bind the couple but also strengthen the bond between the families. With their vibrant colors and sacred meanings, Marwari wedding rituals continue to be a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Rajasthan, India.