Andhra Reddy Wedding Rituals are one of the most soulful and spiritual experiences. If you are going to attend an Andhra marriage, then here are some of the things you would love to know.
Among all the big fat Indian weddings, Reddy marriages are exceptionally fun-filled. Reddys are a community rooted in the state of Andhra Pradesh (India).
A traditional Reddy marriage signifies the South Indian culture and its vital ceremonies. It symbolizes the spirituality, peace and love amongst all. The ceremonies are quite different from other weddings.
Traditions may vary but the essence of love and harmony stays the same irrespective of religion. Let’s take a walk through the divine traditions and rituals of the Andhra Reddy wedding.
The conventional Andhra Reddy wedding ceremony begins with the exchange of a traditional contract, the Patrika. Patrika means a letter that has great importance in Reddy marriages. In this ceremony, both the families finalize the marriage after matching the horoscopes of the couple. The marriage date and the contact of both the bride and groom’s families are written on the Patrika which is placed on a yellow piece of cloth alongside betel nuts, turmeric, and betel leaves as per the tradition.
The priests chant mantras to complete the ceremony as the parents of the couple exchange the Patrika.
Once the Patrika is exchanged, the families meet to finalize an auspicious day/date for the wedding. The wedding date is finalized by the Pandit after matching the horoscopes of the bride and groom. The ceremonial ends by lighting a beautiful brass lamp, known as ‘Nila Vilakku’ as the couple exchange rings. Once the mahurat or the date is finalized, the bride is blessed by her future mother-in-law with gifts like bridal jewellery, clothes and silverware. The elders of both families bless the bride and the groom.
Vara puja is a custom where the groom and his family are welcomed to the wedding venue by the bride’s family. In this custom, the groom and his family are received with gifts, new clothes and scrumptious sweets and dishes. The bride’s father honours the groom by washing his feet with pious milk and wiping off.
Haldi paspu / Paindlipilla / Pendlikoothuru
Resembling the Haldi ceremony in North Indian wedding, the Haldipaspu is a tradition where the bride and the groom are dabbed with Haldi paste. The Haldi paste (called Naluga) is known to have skin-benefiting properties and is also considered auspicious in an Indian wedding.
In this ceremony, the family members apply turmeric paste on the bride and groom’s body. Thereafter, they are taken for a purification bath. The turmeric makes the bride/groom glow throughout the wedding ceremony.
This is a fun-filled and joyous occasion as friends and family get a chance to smother the “to-be-weds” with turmeric paste.
This is a ritual specific to the groom. The Snathakam takes place a few hours before the Andhra Reddy wedding, at times, even before the Muhurtham. A silver thread is tied across the groom’s body signifying his resolve to be wed.
A funny tradition, it is a conversation between the groom and the bride’s mother/brother. In this rite, the groom pretends to renounce the worldly pleasures of life and opts to become a Sanyasi by leaving to Kashi. He is stopped by the bride’s brother/mother who cajoles him to return by offering him the bride’s hand for marriage.
Mangala Snanam & Aarti
On the day of the wedding, a special bath ceremony takes place early in the morning for both the bride and the groom. After the bath, scented oils are applied on the bride and the groom thereon moving for Aarthi. This is a special prayer done for the happiness and wisdom of the couple.
Gauri & Ganesh Pooja
After the Aarthi, the bride seeks blessings from Goddess Gauri who is considered a symbol of fertility and strength. The groom, on the other hand, offers prayers to Lord Ganesha for a happy and prosperous married life.
The Wedding Day Rituals
The Andhra Reddy Wedding Rituals commence with the entry of the groom in the wedding venue straight to the Mandap. There is happiness everywhere with a melodious feeling as the bride and groom enter the Kalyan Mandapam as all eyes are on them.
The venue is decorated with beautifully scented flowers and décor items with the euphonious tunes of Nadaswarams and Thavil. The bride’s family welcomes the groom and his family by washing his feet and conducting an Aarti.
At the entrance of the Mandap, young girls stand with flowers, oil lamps, turmeric and rice. The groom sits on the right side of the Mandap and the bride sits on the left side.
The Kanyaadan ceremony is where the bride is carried to the mandap by her maternal uncle in a bamboo basket. The Pandits seek blessings from the last seven generations worth of ancestors to bless the occasion and the bride for her healthy and prosperous life with her life partner.
The bride and groom are not allowed to see each other until the Pandit says. Hence, there is a curtain placed in between them. The priest starts chanting the wedding Shlokas. He smears a paste of jaggery and cumin on the couple’s hand to denote an unbreakable bond between them.
The bride leaves to change her outfit. The bride changes to another traditional saree while the groom is dapper in a white Dhoti with a red border. While some bride opt for white saree with red border to complement with the groom’s dress, it is not mandatory and many brides go with their favorite shade of Kanjeevaram saree.
Ten married ladies accompany the bride on her walk back to the Mandap. Six of them carry Thalis of rice and turmeric powder while the other four carry Thalis with small lit lamps in them. Each one of these elements has deep meanings. For instance, the lit lamps are made from sugar, rice flour and milk that symbolizes light and sweetness in the marriage while rice represents abundance.
Mangalsutra has a significant role in Indian Hindu marriages. After specific chants by the Pandits, the curtain is lowered between the bride and the groom. At this Muhurtham, the groom ties the Mangalsutra around the bride’s neck. The three knots signify the physical, spiritual and mental union of the couple.
As the newlyweds exchange Jaimala (floral garland), the family members and the invitees’ shower Akshata (turmeric mixed in rice). Akshata signifies blessings and good wishes for the couple’s marital life.
Just like any other Hindu wedding, Saptapadi or Saat Pheras play a prominent role in Andhra Reddy wedding rituals as well. The couple solemnizes their wedding by circumambulating around the holy fire. The seven vows represent the bride’s and groom’s promise to each other.
The wedding ceremony comes to an end with the custom of Sthaalipaakam. The groom helps the bride wear a toe ring signifying that he bows down to her as his partner. He also gifts her a string of black beads to wear and ward off any evil forces.
Once the wedding is completed, the bride and the groom are received at the groom’s house with a lot of cheers and blessings. “Gruh” means home and “Pravesham” means entering. As the bride and groom step into her new life together, they are showered with best wishes and blessings from elders.
Thus start the beautiful and love-filled journey together of the newlyweds who are now officially husband and wife.
The deep, rich traditions and cultures of our country are strengthened with the love, harmony and unity among everyone, and the Andhra Reddy wedding is no exception. With enthralling ceremonies and happy wishes, Andhra Reddy wedding rituals are definitely memorable and a treat to watch.