The Hindu Wedding Ceremony is an elaborate ceremony conducted in Sanskrit in accordance with the Vedas, the Sacred Hindu Scriptures. The Marathi wedding in itself is unique from north Indian weddings and has certain customs that are very specific to this vibrant state & culture. The Wedding takes place in he Mandap in the presence of god; symbolized by the Agni(Fire). Just like this fact, every part of the wedding has a certain significance and a certain meaning, which is lost on the generation of today. Here are some interesting nuggets of information on various aspects of a Marathi Wedding ceremony that explains why certain things are done during the wedding.
The ceremonies usually start with a prayer to Ganesh, requesting him to remove any obstacles that may arise during the ceremony. This usually starts sometime in the morning, depending on the time of the Muharat.
Kalash puja is performed to Varuna, god of Water, for purification of minds & premises. According to Hindu culture & religion, the kalash is a symbol of respect to the gods witnessing the wedding ceremony.
It is called kuldevata sthapana where in the family god is invoked to bless the couple at the ceremony.
These are prayers offered to the nine planets. The nine planets have a crucial role in Hinduism, especially astrology & the muharats that are critical in defining the wedding date. Also alignment of the nine planets defines influences they cast on lives. Hence prayers are offered tto remove any negative influences in the Bride & Bridegrooms path.
Var Poojan (Shrimant Poojan)
The brides parents pay respect to the groom by washing his feet with milk & honey. At this time, the brides cousins will try to steal the grooms shoes. Traditionally the groom must leave the wedding with the same pair of shoes that he entered with. If his shoes are stolen, he must offer the brides cousins money in order to get them back.
Sutra Veshtan (Brahma Soot)
The bride is welcomed with new clothing by chanting holy mantras. Sutra means thread, is put around her body signifies that she wore a new saree. Also turmeric is tied in Sutra and tied to her wrist. Turmeric has a natural property of combating various ailments & boosting immune systems. Tying turmeric signifies boosting of inner power of a groom to combat all unforeseen hurdles in their married life.
‘Kanya’ means daughter and ‘Daan’ means giving away. The word in itself means ‘giving away of ones daughter’. In this part of the wedding ceremony, the brides parents give her away by entrusting her to the bridegroom.
To invoke the blessings of ‘Agni’ or the god of fire, the pujari lights a sacred fire or a ‘havan’ with the chanting of vedic mantras. The main ‘prarthaana’ or prayer during the lighting of the ‘havan’ is the ‘prarthana’ 0f ‘grahast jivan’ (married life).
The groom promises lifelong protection by offering mangalsutra (sacred necklace) to the Bride and placing kumkum (vermilion, red colored powder) on the crown of his wife’s head. These two offerings signify the mark of a married woman and serve as a symbol of her husband’s love, integrity and devotion.
The brides brother puts some lhaya into her hands, assuring her that even in bad times he will be there for her. He then performs the kaanpili wherein he pulls his new brother-in-laws ears as a mock warning that he better take care of his sister or else!
This is done to pacify the grooms sister, who is Agni Swarup.
This is the most important rite of a Hindu marriage ceremony. The word, Saptapadi means ‘Seven Steps’. The newly wed couple takes seven steps around the holy fire, that is called Saptapadi. After the seventh step, the couple legally become husband and wife. Saptapadi is sometimes referred to as ‘Saat Phere’.
Lagna Muhurta (Antar Pat):
Muhurta is the sacred time to actually marry. ‘Antar’ means the innermost past of a heart & also distance. Removing ‘Antarpat’, a cloth held in between a bride & groom means, now onwards we are one by heart & removed all distance & difference in opinion.