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Barni Bandhwana: This ritual is done fifteen days before the actual wedding, on an auspicious day. The pandit performs a puja to Lord Ganesh during which a thread is tied to the hands of the groom and his parents. This puja is performed to request Lord Ganesh that the ceremony culminates without obstacles. After that day, the family performs puja to Lord Ganesh regularly until after the wedding is over.
Byaha Haath: This ceremony signifies the purifying of the mind, body and soul of bride and groom. This daytime ceremony prepares both of them for the nuptials. ‘Uptan’ is a mixed paste of sandalwood, turmeric and rose water which is applied by unmarried seven female members of the families and to the faces, hands and feet of the bride and groom. After this ceremony the bride and the groom are not allowed to step outside the house before the actual wedding.
Mayara: The maternal uncle of the groom/bride, who, along with his wife and family, is received by the bride/groom’s mother with the traditional welcome. The clothes given by uncle are then worn by the family during the wedding.
Sangeet Sandhya: This is an evening of musical entertainment. The groom’s family puts on a show for the groom and bride. It is through this event the bride is introduced with the family members of the groom.
Tilak Ceremony: It is an auspicious mark on forehead using Kumkum, a red turmeric powder. This symbolizes auspiciousness. The male members of the bride’s family like her father, brother, uncles tilak the groom’s forehead. This is followed by giving some gifts to the groom and the groom’s family members requesting them to take care of the bride later.
Mehendi: Applying Mehendi is a symbol of good luck. Normally it is the custom for the bride whose hand and legs are beautifully decorated with mehendi paste. It is believed that more dark the colour of mehendi comes on the hand of bride, luckier she is. This ceremony is held on the eve of the main wedding.
Barat: Here on the Wedding day, groom starts for the bride’s house on a decorated horse or a car. This is a royal ceremony where the groom is dressed in sherwani and churidar. On his head is the turban with floral veil covering his face. Before he starts Tilak is applied on his forehead and his sisters feed the horse with sweetened grains. Welcome songs are sung on his arrival at the bride’s place. Then the groom knocks the door with his sword and enters.
Var Mala: Here the groom is taken to a scaffold where he is barraged by the bride with flowers. The Groom’s family member saves him with a shield. The bride does this while circling the groom four times. Soon after this, the groom and bride exchange garlands or “var mala” signifying their acceptance of each other as husband and wife. Then groom’s mother-in-law puts kajal and does Arti to ward off evil spirits.
Havan: The custom denotes the original main wedding ceremony. The priest ties the end of the groom’s dhoti or the kurta; with that of the bride’s saree, the knot connotes the sacred wedlock. The groom and the bride then take seven circles called “phere”, taking seven vows to be fulfilled in the married life, after which they are considered to be ‘married’ to each other Phere.
The Bride and and the groom takes seven circles of the havan taking seven vows, which are:–
1- With God as our guide, let us take the first step to live with honour and respect. Let us walk together so we get food.
2- Let us be happy and enjoy life. Let us walk together so we grow together in strength.
3- Let us share joys and pains together. Let us walk together so we get wealth.
4- Let us not forget parents and elders. Let us walk together so we get happiness by sharing our joys and sorrows.
5- Let us observe all acts of charity. Let us walk together so we have family.
6- Let us live a long and peaceful life. Let us walk together so we have joy.
7- Let us be friends with love and sacrifice. Let us walk together so we have friendship.
After the seventh step, the bride and the groom are pronounced husband and wife. Kanya Daan:
This ritual is basically performed by the bride’s father in presence of a large gathering. The father delivers his daughter to the bridegroom. The groom recites Vedic hymns to Kama, the god of love, for pure love and blessings.
Vidaai: It is the most emotional ritual in the whole wedding as the bride leaves her parent’s house and goes to her husband’s house. The family and friends gives her a tearful farewell. All the elders shower blessing on the newly wedded couple. Post-Wedding Rituals.
Griha Pravesh: The bride’s mother-in-law welcomes her on arrival at her new home in a traditional Aarti. She puts her right foot onto a tray of vermilion powder mixed in water or milk, representing the arrival of good fortune and purity then she kicks over a vessel filled with rice and coins to symbolize the arrival of fertility and wealth in her marital home.
Dwar-Rokai: This is a very interesting ritual where the bride is stopped at the door by her sister-in-laws. An earthen vessel is kept where the sister/aunt uses a mixture of salt and water to get rid off evil spirits from the groom. After this, the pot is thrown on the ground and destroyed. Then the couple enter the house.
Mooh Dikhai: The family now starts a series of games and post-wedding rituals, amidst much laughter to make the new member feel comfortable. One such ritual is the Mooh dikhai where the bride gets to know the family members.