Just like its iconic heritage and colourful culture Gujarati weddings are equally phenomenal. The sacred traditions and rituals that form a typical Gujarat wedding is what makes it very different from all the other weddings in India and the world. It is guaranteed that is you happen to attend or be a part of a Gujaratis wedding in any way then there won’t be a single dull moment since every ritual is as fun and sacred as the other. Along with fun and frolic these weddings display incredibly colourful lifestyle that the people here observe and follow. However, there is 1 similarity in this wedding ceremony and to the rest of Indian weddings i.e. the presence of numerous rituals following traditions from the pre-weddings days to the post marriage days which makes it very memorable. Given below are the traditional wedding rituals observed or experienced in a typical Gujju wedding and engagement ceremony:
Pre Wedding Rituals:
This is probably the very first functions that takes place once the marriage is fixed. As a part of the tradition once the marriage is agreed upon by 2 sides then the father of the bride along with the other male members of the family go to the family of the groom and presents him with all types of different gifts and tokens which in common tongue is known as Shagun. The groom’s forehead is also decorated with a red vermilion circle to ensure the eternal companionship.
Gol Dhana are the words given to coriander seeds and jaggery and is a very prominent pre wedding ritual. This particular ritual begins just a few days prior to the engagement and other ceremonies as per the cultural traditions. As a part of the ritual the family of the bride visits the family of the groom and presents them with sweets, savouries and gifts in traditional containers known as matlis. As a part of the ritual the bride and the groom exchange rings while simultaneously 5 married men and women bless the to-be married couple for a happily married life.
This is a very common marriage tradition which is common amongst other traditions as well. 2 days just before the day of the wedding designs are decorated on the hands and feet of the bride with the help of henna. These designs and patterns are admired all over the world and is a crucial part of the marriage ritual. Other women who are a part of the family also get their hands painted in henna colors.
This is a very traditional custom where on arrival of the groom the bride’s family welcomes them by performing Aarti, applying Tilak on all the people from the groom’s side and also by performing the playful act of pulling the nose of the groom. This is a traditional practice which is also very prominent throughout the Indian landscape.
Proceeding this ritual is Jaimala where the bride and groom exchange flower Malas or necklaces with each other. In this particular ritual the groom is led on to the wedding Mandap accompanied by his mother – in – law and his feet are also then washed with the combination of milk and water. Panchamrut, which is a sacred mixture of 5 holy ingredients. While this ritual is going on the sisters of the bride try to steal the footwear of the groom which is known as Juta Churai.
This holy ritual which also takes place in the rest of the Indian wedding cultures as well is the time when the father of the bride offers her hand to the groom. Before offering his daughter to the groom the father washes the feet of the groom and then places her hand in the groom’s hand therefore symbolising an eternal bond and entrusting him for life.
This is another one of the most famous ritual that takes place in a typical Indian wedding. The bride and groom tie a piece of cloth to their garment with each other and take circles around the Havan or the fire in the centre. During this they make promises of eternal companion ship with each other. The priest simultaneously keeps chanting various chants and giving them blessings to keep the marriage happy for a lifetime.
Post Wedding Rituals:
This ritual takes place after the completion of the marriage ritual. Seven married women get invited in order to bless the couple. The women giving the blessing say Akhanda Saubhagyavati Bhava which translates into may your marriage alliance be glorious forever. This is another crucial part of the post marriage ritual that should definitely be done as a part of age old tradition.
Ghar Nu Laxmi
This particular ritual or tradition is not only limited to the Gujarati regions but it is also practised in various other communities as well. This is when the bride is about to take her very first step into her new home and the mother in law places a vessel filled with rice in front of the bride to be which is supposed to be knocked over by the bride on entering. This is symbolic of the welcoming of the new addition to her family and how she brings a lot of prosperity, wealth and good luck with her.