What is Gath Bandhan, and why is it significant?
Gath Bandhan symbolizes the union of the bride and the groom in a sacramental bond for the rest of their lives. In the literal sense, it is the nuptial knot that sanctifies the coming together of two individual and becoming one cohesive unit.
One end of the bride’s garment (pallu or the saree) is tied to the traditional scarf worn by the groom along with a coin, a flower, whole turmeric, durva grass, some raw rice. Each of these ingredients has a specific meaning.
The coin symbolizes wealth. It means that both man and wife will have equal rights on the wealth they have earned or inherited.
- A flower represents happiness and auspiciousness. It symbolizes all the essence of a happy marriage.
- Turmeric signifies good health because of its healing properties. Since good health is vital for life, both man and wife are blessed with the goodness of Haldi. This is for nourishing their physical and mental health.
- Durva Grass symbolizes eternity. It is said that despite drying up, the durva grass doesn’t lose its properties. Moreover, Durva is Lord Ganesh’s favorite offering. Therefore, it also symbolizes auspiciousness.
- And last but not least, the raw rice (dhaanya) represents nourishment. It is a symbol of prosperity. Therefore, both man and wife are blessed with dhaanya, which they need to live a long life together.
Interestingly, the sister of the groom ties the knot, thereby symbolizing the acceptance of the bride as a family member. It is also a gesture of welcoming the new member of the bride. Over and above, the Gath Bandhan symbolizes the institution of marriage that makes the bride and the groom one another’s partner for life as they circumambulate the sacred fire (Agni) seven times (Saat Phere) and respecting it as a witness to their sacramental union.