In this article, we will share the details of Marwari Wedding Rituals and Traditions.
The Marwari Wedding Rituals are celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and exuberance. These wedding ceremonies are also very grand and colorful. Authentic Marwari weddings are a throwback to the ages of the Vedas and the great Indian sages.
Rajasthan is a place of Kings and Queens. The Royal Rajasthan is divided into a lot of regions as per culture and traditions. The language spoken here are different from other areas of Rajasthan. For instance, Marwar language (in Ajmer, Jodhpur), Mewar language (in Udaipur), Hadoti language (in Kota), Shekhawati language (in Nagoor) etc. Hence, it is said that while every Marwaris are Rajasthanis, all Rajasthanis are not Marwaris.
Based on the above fact, the customs and rituals differ a bit though there are no major alterations to the basic Hindu traditions. The Authentic Marwari marriage dates back to the ages of the Vedas. The rituals are still relevant and carry a deep philosophical and scientific logic in each one of them.
Here are some of the pre-wedding and wedding day Marwari rituals followed in Rajasthan.
The pre-wedding ritual starts by conducting Byah Haath at the respective homes of both the bride and the groom. Women in the family and neighborhood gather together to sing songs of purity and happiness. It is known as “Mangal Geet”. The family members also make sweets called Mangodi made using lentils and jaggery. The ceremony involves married women who bless the bride and the groom for a happy and prosperous wedding and married life. It usually happens 5, 7, 11 or 21 days before the wedding.
In Marwari wedding rituals, the maternal uncle and aunt play an important role. After proper consultation with the priest, the mother of the bride and groom visit their respective parents’ home to invite their family members – parents, grandparents, her brothers’ and sisters’ families. She gifts them with fruits, sweets, clothes and envelopes with money called Neg. She also anoints red Tilak on the forehead of her brother and bhabhi (sister-in-law). Her brothers bless her and promise her to offer full support and presence at the wedding. Often, the brothers return gifts to their sister.
In this ceremony, rice, jaggery, dry fruits, etc. are put on a plate which is covered with a cellophane paper. On another plate, dried coconuts called “gut” are also placed. This decorated gut is kept for the brother and his wife’s tilak ceremony.
Nandi Ganesh Puja
All good and auspicious beginnings start by invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha as per Hindu traditions. As per Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is considered the remover of obstacles. The Ganesh Puja is conducted to seek blessings from the Lord Ganesha so that the wedding ceremonies be completed without any hindrance.
It is also believed that Lord Ganesh assumes a mortal form and arrives in the form of a small boy. Hence, a small boy who is seen as an embodiment of Lord Ganesh – “Bindayak or Vinayak” accompanies the bride/groom in all the pre-wedding rituals.
Raatri Jaga – Thapa Mandana
Raatri Jaga is a ritual performed to ward off evil forces. In this, all holy symbols like the Swastika or Om are hand-painted on the walls or floors or white wooden boards. Around these figures and symbols, earthenware and pots containing ingredients for puja are kept. This is to ward off evil forces and establish peace in the family.
Mudda Tikka – Engagement ceremony
The family of the groom visit the bride’s home with gifts and puja items. They gift her sarees and jewellery. The sister or paternal aunty of the groom puts a ring on the bride’s finger. However, nowadays, the Sagai (engagement ceremony) is conducted on the wedding venue and the bride and groom exchange engagement rings in front of close friends, family members and few invitees.
A fun ceremony, it can happen on the day of Mudda Tikka or a day before the wedding. The bride wears all the fine jewellery gifted by her future in-laws. Women from her family and groom’s side apply ‘tikka’, sing wedding songs and dance to Bollywood songs and traditional folk music. The ceremony acts as an ice-breaker with the bride. They tease the bride and share light-hearted jokes to urge the bride to get easy.
Similarly, the groom and his friends have a bachelor’s party where they share “guy” jokes, down a few drinks and mock him about losing his freedom ways now that he will be married.
Pithhi Dastoor (Haldi ceremony)
The Haldi ceremony, also known as Pithhi Dastoor is an occasion celebrated by both bride and groom’s side. A mix of turmeric and sandalwood paste is applied on the bride and the groom while singing Marwari wedding songs. The bride and the groom are not allowed to leave their respective homes after Pithhi Dastoor till the wedding is completed.
A fun and joyous ceremony, the friends and family indulge in applying amazing artistic mehndi designs. The hands and feet of the bride are enriched with mehndi designs that are not only a sign of happiness and abundance making the bride look radiant and glowing. All the family members and friends dance to the tunes of many Hindi Bollywood Mehndi songs and have a frolicking time.
Wedding Day Rituals
Here are the essential rituals that are performed on the Big Day. The parents of the bride have to fast throughout the day until the wedding is complete.
This ceremony starts early in the morning on the wedding day. The Pandit from the groom’s house reaches the bride’s house and performs puja of the pillars of the house. This is called ‘thamb puja’ and has a symbolic meaning. It signifies the bondage between the two families will be as strong as the foundation of the house.
In this ceremony, the maternal uncle arrives at the house of his sister along with his family. In a traditional Marwari wedding, the brother is expected to be generous and bear a share of the wedding expenses. This is because the sister after her marriage cannot claim her ancestral property. He and his wife are welcomed by the bride’s/groom’s mother at the entrance. He arrives with a lot of gifts for his sister and his nephew/niece.
The sister feeds her brother rice, lentils and jaggery and other customs are also followed at the time of bhaat bharna.
This is a ritualistic bath which is given to the groom/bride on the morning of the wedding day. A mixture of turmeric, fresh milk curd, olive or mustard oil is made which is applied to the face, hands and feet of the bride/groom.
Four unmarried young women make a Pithi (a homemade scrub) and place on the forehead of the bride/groom. At the time of the bath, a precise arrangement is to be followed. The father has to first put the Jhol (curd) on his son or daughter after which the mother gives the bath.
The Bindayak has no role to play in this ritual but nevertheless sits through the Telbaan along with the bride/groom.
After Telbaan, the bride/groom and the Bindayak are given sweet pancakes called ‘Ghungra’ to eat. After that, the (Uncle) Mama of the bride/groom guides her/him in front of the Thapa and her/he has to prostrate before the Thapa. The Mama then gives a ‘Shagun’ amount to the bride/groom, which is considered to bring her/him good luck.
Kunvara Manda Yagna
A havan is a ritual where the sacred fire is lit in a havan kund (small pit). The priests sit around the sacred fire, chant Vedic mantras and offer ghee to appease the Almighty.
Once the Havan is complete, eleven priests are served lunch. What’s interesting is that both cooked and uncooked food are served that carry reasons and stories behind each of them. Also, the priests are bestowed with ‘Dakshina’ (token of money) by the boy/girl’s family. This rite is performed after the Telbaan ceremony. Once the Havan is over, both the families gather for lunch.
This is a ceremony conducted by the bride’s family where a puja invoking the blessings of Goddess Parvati is performed. Devi Parvati in Rajasthani language is also known as Gangaur. The clothes and jewellery for decking up the Goddess are sent by the groom’s family. They also send clothes and jewellery for the bride.
In Marwari wedding rituals, this ceremony is considered very symbolic. Elder men from the bride’s family visit the groom’s home along with their priest to invite him and his family to the wedding venue. It signifies that starting from the wedding day, the groom would be a key member of the bride’s family.
The groom does puja of the wedding invitation card along with some other customs that are to be followed. After this, the Baaraat is ready to leave for the wedding venue.
Before the Baaraat leaves the groom’s home, there are certain rituals to be followed called Nikasi. The Horse, which the groom would ride is caparisoned as the priest conducts a puja. All the married women of the family with male children are also gifted Sarees.
The groom’s family carries a decorated umbrella, a sword, two floor cushions, garlands and paan to the wedding venue as per the Marwari tradition. The groom leads the procession as his friends and family dance their way to the venue accompanied by a musical band.
Baraat, Dhukav, and Varmala
The groom and his family arrive at the venue. The father of the bride with family members welcome the groom and his family. The groom has to touch the ‘Thoran’, which somebody from the bride’s side holds at the welcome gate, with a neem stick. The mother of the bride welcomes the groom by applying him a Tilak after he descends from his Horse. The sister-in-law of the bride touches the shoulder of the groom with a neem stick.
As the groom enters the wedding venue, the bride arrives and puts seven suhalis – a type of snacks on the groom’s head, following which they exchange garlands (Jaimala).
Gathbandan (or nuptial knot) is a ritual where the cloth tied around the groom’s waist is tied to the end of the veil (Chunri) that covers the bride’s face. It is then put on the shoulder of the groom. The tying of the Gathbandhan signifies that the two have become one.
Kanyadaan and Panigrahan Sanskar
This is a ceremony where the bride’s father hands over the responsibility of his daughter to the groom. The bride also accepts the in-laws as her own. She accepts that all the problems of her husband’s family is her own and pledges to always support their reputation and promises to do everything to make them feel happy and comfortable.
‘Pani’ means hand and ‘Grahan’ means to accept. This translates literally to take one’s hand in one’s own. The bride’s hand is placed in the groom’s hand symbolizing the groom’s acceptance of taking the responsibility of the bride and union of mind, body, and soul.
Saptapadi or Saat Phere
The Saat pheras are common in all Hindu weddings and Marwari wedding rituals are not an exception.
As per the Saptapadi, the bride and the groom circumambulate the sacred fire (Havan) seven times. The first three rounds or ‘pheras’, are led by the bride while the next four are led by the groom.
It is said that during the first three pheras, Kamdev, the Hindu God of lust, shoots intoxicating arrows at the couple-to-be and only the bride has the power to resist the temptations of lust. Her resolve and determination act as a shield against these arrows. After each round, they pause as the bride touches small mounds of Mehendi that have been kept by the side of the holy fire with her big toe.
Another significance of the last four pheras is that they signify the union of awareness of ‘dharma’ meaning fair conduct, ‘artha’ meaning prosperity, ‘kama’ meaning earthly love and ‘moksha’ meaning release from all sorts of human attachments.
With every round, the couple takes a vow which they are expected to fulfil for the rest of their lives. After this Vedic ritual, the bride and the groom are officially considered husband and wife. Before the Saat Pheras, the bride sits on the right side of the groom inside the Mandap. But after this ritual, the groom requests the bride to sit on his left while placing his right hand on the heart of the bride. This completes the ceremony as he accepts the bride as his wife.
Sumangalika - Sindoor Daan
After the Saptapadi ritual, the groom puts vermillion on the forehead (i.e. the central hair parting) of the bride. As per Hinduism, the Sindoor and Mangalsutra are the indicators of a married woman. After this rite, the newly-wed couple stands facing the North Star and takes a vow of being as constant and committed throughout their married life just as the North Star.
After the final offerings to the sacred fire, the priests and the elders from both the family bless the newlyweds for a blissful, prosperous marriage. This marks the end of the Marwari wedding rituals.
Remember the famous song of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun – “Jhoothe Do, Paise Lo”?
This is a fun-filled custom where the bride’s sister, bridesmaids (and even cousins), hide the groom’s shoes. The groom has to bargain with the gang and settle for an amount or gift in return upon which his shoes will be returned. This is a very enjoyable ceremony and an icebreaker. The bargaining between the two sides is a thing to behold making it truly amusing.
Thape ki Pooja and Mooh Dikhai
Right after coming out of the Mandap, the couple is led into a room where the Thapa had been drawn. The mother of the bride asks the newlyweds to perform a puja of the Thapa. The groom recites some shlokas and only after the bride’s mother is convinced does she approve of the groom lift the veil and allow him to see his new bride’s face. This is another comical custom as the bride’s mother grills the groom to recite better shlokas if he wants to see his new bride.
Though this ceremony is not much relevant, it is still performed. After handling the stress of the entire day, the bride may become tired. To make her look good and fresh again, the bride’s mother with some other ladies comb her hair, wash her face and apply fresh makeup.
Nowadays, professional makeup artists and stylists make it a point to keep the bride as fresh as possible. So, just to follow the tradition, her hair is lightly combed and her face is wiped lightly and symbolically.
Sajjan Goth (Dinner)
This is an elaborate buffet spreads with a wide variety of dishes. In Marwari weddings, you will find several stalls including live counters. However, keeping with the tradition, special sitting arrangements are made for the elders for the groom’s side and traditional Marwari cuisine is served to them. They are given special hospitality by the bride’s father and other male members who tend to them. Before the ‘Sajjan goth’ dinner is served, the ‘Chhuta’ (a portion for the deceased elders) is taken out.
With changing trends, even the ladies of the house join the Sajjan Goth (aptly called Sajni Goth).
An entertaining ceremony altogether, it is also very symbolic. The couple play lots of games with initiation from an elderly lady, usually the Mami (aunt). It is to break the ice between the bride and the groom and ease the nervousness. There are very interesting and fun games where the bride and the groom are pitted against each other as competitors.
It also tests the compatibility between the couple and how well they deal with each other during the highs and lows of life. This happens in the morning after the wedding at the bride’s house. Friends and family members gather around the couple as they play the games and continuously tease and make fun of them.
Vidai - Paharavni
Before the Paharavni, the priest from the bride’s side take the newlyweds to the kitchen and asks them to perform some rituals.
During the Paharavni, bride’s family members gift a coconut and ‘Neg’ money to their son-in-law. The groom is then presented with gifts. The Pandits who have been involved with the wedding rituals are gifted with ‘Dakshina’ by the groom’s family.
Thereafter, the bride and the groom are given curd, ‘Churma’ and ‘Hari phali ka saag’ to eat and are led into the kitchen where they are asked to do ‘thali puja’ at the kitchen entrance.
Cow dung is applied to the threshold of the kitchen and ‘Swastik’ is drawn on it. The elder women of the bride’s family guide them through this ceremony. The bride is given a half-dried coconut that is filled with sugar and gold coin which she gives to her mother-in-law upon arrival at her husband’s home.
Bidaai or Vidai is an emotional moment as the bride leaves the home she grew up in. The parents and the family members escort the bride to the car so that she can start her new journey with her husband.
Check out the Post-wedding Marwari Wedding rituals in our next post.
Now you know how gorgeous and glamorous the Marwari wedding rituals are. If you are planning a Marwari wedding for yourself or your friend, then this is your best guide. Hope we didn’t miss out on something. If so, let us know in the comment section below.
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