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For this week’s wedding feature we are all smiles and beaming to write about a wedding that is so culturally diverse in the rituals and traditions that were performed. The bride is a very good friend of ours from college, a quiet, calm and smart kind – yet a really fun person to hang out with.
Theirs was a marriage fixed just a few hours after they met for the first time, and the rest, they say is history. Prasannaa is a happy go lucky person who loves his bikes and cars, enjoys travelling, and wouldn’t say no to a good party. Mookambika works as a manager at UCO Bank, and loves singing, swimming, photography, writing short stories and anything to do with finance.
The couple’s wedding had a mix of Telugu, Tamil and North Indian influences. They had a mehendi function, the groom’s side hosted a Sangeet and he himself came in style with a baraat. Talking about the big day, Mookambika gushes, “He rode a white horse to the reception hall and everyone (my parents, his parents, all our relatives, guests and friends) danced like crazy on the road.”
While the Kanyadaan was conducted in Telugu style, they tied the knot in true Tamilian style. A lavender coloured theme was decided on for the wedding, so right from the bridal saree to the lighting, everything was in shades of Mookambika’s favourite colour. Once the traditional ceremonies were over, they played a lot of games, sang and danced to their heart’s content. After which, light music was organized and sung by close friends of the couple, and a PowerPoint presentation featuring childhood pictures of the bride and groom was shown.
Pre Wedding Rituals
Baraat (or Jaanvasaam in Tamilian tradition)
In North India, the groom rides a horse to the wedding venue, escorted by a large and joyous procession of his family and friends. Professional musicians accompany them, playing wedding music (usually dance numbers). The groom is expected to carry a sword, and sometimes there are fireworks as well. This procession is called the ‘baraat’, and the people in it are called the ‘baraatis’. A wedding in the family is a reason for great joy, which is why the baraatis go with the groom, taking him all the way to where his bride awaits, celebrating the occasion by dancing their hearts out all along. Elders of the bride’s family receive the baraat at the Wedding hall.
The bridegroom performs Ganesh Pooja in the mandapam or wedding hall just before the marriage ceremony. Worshiping Ganesha, the elephant-headed God is an important part of most Hindu rituals as he is revered as the remover of all obstacles.
This refers to the ceremonial bathing of the Bride and groom during the auspicious hours early in the morning of the wedding day. Post this, both are given the clothes for the actual wedding ceremony.
Panda Kaal Muhurtham
A small ritual that takes place at both the bride and groom’s house, it is done customarily to invoke the blessing of the family god (yes, different families have different Gods ) who is represented by a bamboo pole so that the wedding proceeds without any hassle.
At Mookambiga’s wedding this was conducted in the marriage hall itself.
Paalikali thalippu / Palli podrathu
A ritual performed by the birde’s family, it involves decorating seven clay pots or bamboo baskets with sandalwood paste and kumkum and then filling with nine types of grains. These pots are then sprinkled with water by five or seven married women from both sides. The day after the wedding when these grains have sprouted and grown enough, the Bride and Groom immerse these pots into a pond/ lake / river so that the fish in the pond may feed on the grains and bless the couple abundantly.
You can see here the clay pots from this wedding, with full grown plants that sprouted from the grains.
After the bride gets dressed up for the marriage, she offers her prayers privately to Goddess Gauri, who is none other than Goddess Parvathi.
Legend goes that Sita (Ram’s wife) performed Gauri pooja everyday when she was in King Janakar’s house, and it is believed that it is because of this puja that she was able to get a good, handsome, and magnificent husband like Sri Ram.
Before the wedding, the bride performs Gauri pooja to thank the Goddess for answering her prayers and finding a suitable groom just like Ram and also seeks her blessings.
This is an interesting ritual and adds an element of colour and drama to the whole occasion. After the mangala snaanam, the groom pretends to leave for Kaashi, a place of pilgrimage in North India that has the highest reverence among the Hindus, to devote himself to God and a life of prayer. He carries a walking stick and other meager essentials with him to imply that he is not interested in becoming a householder. The girl’s father then intervenes and requests him to come back to the mandap to accept his daughter as his life partner. He compels him to fulfill his responsibilities as a householder and thus follow what is written in the scriptures. The groom relents and returns to the pandal, where he is received by the bride.
The bride’s brother or cousin brother perform Paatha pooja for the Groom
The groom performs Paatha Pooja for the Bride’s parents
The bride’s maternal uncle makes her wear the toe rings. This are not to be removed until one year after the wedding, after which they are changed to new ones.
The groom’s parents chant gayathri manthra into his ears before the rituals of the wedding begin.
Om Bhoor Bhuwah Swaha, Thatsavitur Varenyam, Bhargo Devasaya Dheemh, Dhiyo yo Naha Prachodayat.
It’s Meaning : Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life, Remover of pain and sorrow, The Bestower of happiness, Oh! Creator of the Universe, May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light, May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction.
Goddess Gayathri is closely linked to Goddess Saraswati (the Goddess of education) and Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth) and is considered to be the Goddess of all the Vedas.
The Mangal Sutra
Tying the knot
The bride and groom look at each other’s faces in a mirror after the knot is tied, signifying oneness from that moment.
The Groom blesses the bride’s mangal sutra with Kumkum
Post Wedding Rituals
The groom shows the bride the double stars of Vashista and Arundhati as an ideal couple, symbolizing marital fulfillment and loyalty.
Arundhati was the wife of sage Vashishtha, one of the seven sages (saptarishis). Her loyalty towards her husband was so strong that no other man could even think otherwise of her. It is this remarkable loyalty and love towards her husband that made her an ideal example to be followed by newly-weds. For a story first told in a time when wives were first prescribed the practice of ‘pativrathya’, there is no moment better than in the marriage itself; to impact the idea of unwavering faith and intimacy between them, in their minds.
They are seen as ‘double stars’, which are two stars that move around together, gravitation-ally bound to each other. Like this double Star, the couple are expected to be together for ever.
If the couple had one requirement, it was to have fun, fun and truckloads of fun and making sure all the traditions were kept. Since it was the first wedding of the generation on both sides of the family, they joined hands to make it unforgettable for Mookambika and Prasannaa. Quoting the bride, “Every member of the family took a responsibility in performing the marriage, so it was a collective effort.”
Leading to the reception hall
The Manapen Tholigal (or bridesmaids)
Moving on to the meaty details, the bride was dressed in a beautiful silk saree from SM Silks and jewelry from Tanishq. Manju, a bridal makeup artist, dressed and decked her up for the big day. The groom wore a designer suit by Syed Bawhkher. The wedding décor was done by Coddissia Group.
Black Book For The Indian Bride wishes this Salman Khan fan (him) and Amir Khan fan (her) all the best for a fun filled married life!