Maharashtrian marriages are among the simplest and least spectacular in the entire country. There are no pointless pre-wedding ceremonies with no spiritual importance, and the wedding traditions reflect Maharashtrian culture’s essential principles. It is not, however, to be confused with this drab and stuffy affair. Marathi weddings are vibrant and full of exciting rituals that are sure to add spice to the proceedings.
Horoscopes and Matchmaking
Lagnaach Bedior finds an appropriate match as the first step in a traditional Maharashtrian marriage ritual. The boy’s and girl’s horoscopes, or patrikas, are then matched by the family priests. The many stages leading up to the wedding commence after the horoscopes align.
Pre Wedding Rituals
Sakhar Puda– One of the first ceremonies that mark the start of the wedding process is Sakhar Puda. It’s similar to a traditional engagement ceremony. It usually takes place a few days before the wedding. The two families get together, and the groom’s mother presents the bride with a saree, jewellery, and a packet of sugar, or Sakhar Puda, as a sign of her welcome into the family.
Muhurt Karane– The family priest determines the exact date and time of the wedding, and wedding preparations begin at both houses by asking five married women, or ‘Suhasanie,’ to participate on a pre-determined auspicious day a few months before the wedding. The women pound turmeric or halkund to be used later in an iron pestle laced with mango leaves. They prepare Sandage and roll out papads (pulses soaked and ground, mixed with spices and dried in the sun). Following the rites, the bride’s side often hosts a rukhvat — a display of the bride’s handmade decorative and food items.
Wedding Invitations– Wedding invitations are usually chosen and printed on both sides months or weeks before the wedding date. Lord Ganesha is always given the first wedding invitation as a symbolic plea for him to grace the auspicious day with his heavenly presence.
Kelvan– A puja is offered to the family deity by both the bride and groom’s sides a few days before the wedding, with their respective relatives and friends in attendance. The Kelvan is the name for this ritual, which is usually followed by a supper.
Halad Chadavane– It is a pre-wedding ceremony that takes place the day before the wedding. The same five Suhasinis use the turmeric pound at the Muhurt Karane rite. They use mango leaves to apply the turmeric paste to the bride’s head, shoulders, hands, and feet, as well as the groom’s. The ceremony takes place first at the groom’s home, after which the leftover turmeric paste is delivered to the bride’s home and applied to her.
For the wedding, the Maharashtrian groom wears a modest white or beige cotton kurta with a white Kanche or Dhoti with a thin border. They wear a crimson or gold-colored ornamental piece of cloth across their shoulders. They may wear a pheta turban or the customary white Gandhi style cap on their heads.
n traditional Maharashtrian trouser style, the bride wears a silk saree with ornate gold borders in vivid colours. Yellow or marigold with green or purple borders is the most popular colour combination. The saree might be Paithani, which measures roughly 6 yards, or a traditional Nauvarisaree, which measures 9 yards. Green glass bangles or Choodas, mangalsutras with two hollow gold cups at the centres, Thusi or traditional necklaces, the classic Maharshtriannath, and Vaaki or armlets are all worn by Maharashtrian brides. Her forehead is adorned with a moon-shaped bindi, which is distinctive of Maharashtra.
A headband called as ‘Mundavalya’ is worn by both the bride and groom. Two rows of pearls dangle down from the headband in front of the ears, and two strings of pearls are knotted horizontally across the forehead.
Ganpati Puja– The wedding day begins with Lord Ganesha’s adoration and a request for his favour on the couple’s future and that their lives be free of obstacles.
Punyahvachan– The bride’s parents then accompany their daughter to the wedding venue, where they ask everyone present to bless their daughter.
Devdevak– The family deity, also known as Kul Devata, is then invoked at the wedding location.
The Seeman Puja– The groom and his family arrive at the wedding venue, and the bride’s mother washes the groom’s feet, applies tilak to his forehead, performs his arti, and feeds him, sweets.
Gurihar Puja– The bride wears traditional bridal clothes, which are usually given to her by her maternal uncle, and she worships a silver statue of Goddess Parvati that is put atop a mound of rice. She presents the Goddess with some of the rice and asks for her blessing for a prosperous life.
The Antarpat ritual– The groom now enters the mandap with his head covered by a traditional hat or turban, wearing the mundavalya and sitting in his allocated spot on the mandap. The Antarpat is a garment that is draped in front of the groom to keep him from seeing the bride.
The Sankalp ceremony– The Mangalashtakas, or holy wedding vows, are said by the priest during the wedding. Her maternal uncle leads the bride to the mandap. The Antarpat is removed, and the couple can see each other for the first time. They exchange garlands and are showered with akshatas (rice that has not been broken).
The Kanyadan ritual– This ritual entails the bride’s father giving his daughter to the groom, along with his blessings, so that they may begin a life of Dharma, Artha, and the Kama. The groom takes his blessings and declares that he is receiving love in exchange for love and that the bride represents Divine love that descends from Heaven and is received on Earth. The bride requests that he pledge to love and honour her. The bride’s parents regard the couple as Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi avatars. Kankan bandhane is a rite in which a couple attaches a piece of turmeric or halkund to each other’s hands with a thread.
The Satapadhi ceremony– It entails the couple doing seven circumambulations around the sacred fire while reciting the seven ritualistic wedding vows aloud.
The Varat ritual– After the wedding rites are completed, the bride bids her family a sorrowful farewell and is brought to her husband’s home. During the Gaurihar Puja, the groom picks up Devi Parvati’s silver idol. The Varat refers to the bride’s departure from her paternal home and arrival at her husband’s home.
The Grihapravesh– It is the first ceremony performed after the wedding. The new couple is embraced by the groom’s mother, who washes their feet with milk and water. Following that, the bride is requested to enter the house by knocking over a glass of rice that has been placed at the entryway. With their right foot, the pair enters the house.
Reception party– Last but not least, a reception party is held, during which the newlywed couple meets and greets all of their family and friends while delectable cuisine is served. The bride wears a saree and jewellery from the groom’s side, while the groom wears the bride’s side’s outfit.