Majorly celebrated in Karnataka, Kannada weddings are a breathtaking affair that one should witness at least once in their life. Even though Kannada weddings are simple, without too much razzle-dazzle, their culture is rich and deep-rooted in tradition. And these celebrations have certain rituals that the cultural values and are essential to the entire wedding celebration.
Kannadiga weddings are a vision to behold and experience. They're generally set during the day, with mesmerising wedding decor and stunning outfits. While Kannada weddings have certain rituals that are unique to their culture, they do share certain similar rituals with neighbouring states. Furthermore, traditional Kannada weddings do not have Haldi or Mehndi celebrations. However, new-age couples have chosen to incorporate these into their Kannada weddings to add more fun to the celebration.
If you're wondering what else Kannada wedding rituals entail, then scroll down and read all about Kannada wedding rituals and the beauty each ritual holds!
Kannada Wedding Rituals
1. Nischay Tamulam
The Nischay Tamulam is the official engagement ceremony of the couple. The parents of the bride and groom exchange beetle leaves and beetle nuts, showering their blessings on the new couple. Then, the parents of the groom gift the bride-to-be a saree, a matching blouse, coconut and sweets. And the bride's parents gift the groom a dhoti, coconut, fruits and sweets. During this ceremony, the family priest also decides on the date of the wedding.
So, any religious ceremony or pooja in a Kannada wedding is known as Shastras. Naandi is one such shastra, that marks the beginning of the wedding rituals. Naandi is held at the bride and groom's respective houses. In this, a copper pot filled with holy water, symbolising Amrit, along with coconut is placed in the house. It's performed by the family priest where a prayer ensures that the wedding ceremony proceeds without any troubles. This shastra is also performed to bless the couple with a blessed life of abundance, prosperity, health and wisdom. Following the pooja, the first invitation card is placed in front of the almighty before the rest are sent out.
3. Chapra Pooja
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A Chhapra is a structure made of coconut leaves, tied together with banana stalks on either end. This structure is tied outside the house that hosts the marriage. The structure is put up after an intimate Chhapra Pooja is performed.
4. Bale Shastra
In Kannada, 'bale' means bangles. During this pre-wedding ritual, the bride performs a pooja to seek the almighty's blessings at a temple. Here, a bangle ceremony is held during which the bride gives bangles to the married women in her family.
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5. Kaashi Yaatre
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Known to be one of the most fun rituals of a Kannada wedding, the Kaashi Yaatre is a pre-wedding ritual where the groom pretends to walk away angrily because no one could find him a suitable bride. The ritual is named so because the groom threatens (cheekily, of course) his family members that he will set out on a pilgrimage to Kaashi if he's not found a bride. He dresses up in a dhoti and carries a walking stick, an umbrella, a fan and some edible items like rice, coconut and dry fruits. Just as he's about to leave the house, his maternal uncle stops him by showing him the bride that they've chosen for him. Ultimately, the groom is happy to hear this and decided to stay and get married to his beautiful bride!
6. Dev Karya
On the day of the wedding, right before the groom and his family are to leave for the bride's residence for the marriage, he visits all the nearby temples or a specific temple that his family generally goes to seek the blessings of all deities. During the Dev Karya, all the items that are to be used for the wedding are also placed in front of an idol of Lord Ganesha to seek his blessings.
7. Mandap Pooja
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Before the main wedding rituals can begin, a pooja is performed by the priest on the mandap (or the altar where the wedding takes place) in a way to purify the venue and the mandap and get the wedding precession started.
8. Greeting the Groom’s Party
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Once the groom and his family & friends arrive at the wedding venue, they're received at the gate by the family of the bride. Five married women from the bride's side (generally family members) take turns performing the groom's aarti and then leading him to the bride.
9. Var Pooja
In Kannada traditions, the groom is treated like the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. So, during the Var Pooja, the bride's party worship the groom after which he is led to mandap by the bride's father, where the bride is already seated. Once the groom sits next to the bride, the bride's father washes his feet and gifts him a silk dhoti and a scarf. This is known as the pitambar. The groom then proceeds to change into this dhoti and scarf for the wedding.
Till now, the bride's face has been concealed by a fan made of peacock feathers. A cloth curtain is placed between the bride and groom in the mandap, barring them from looking at each other. Then, once the priest starts reciting the mantras for the wedding, the curtain is gradually removed, allowing them to look at one another and exchange jaimalas.
What we call Kanyadaan in Hindu wedding ceremonies, in Kannada weddings it's called the Dhareherdu. In this, the bride's right hand is placed on the groom's right hand and a beetle leaf and coconut are placed on top. The parents of the bride then pour holy water out of a copper pot on top of this. This ritual is a mark of showing that the parents of the bride give their blessings for the marriage.
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In this, the end of the bride's outfit, which is generally the pallu of her saree, is tied to the scarf the groom is wearing. Then, the couple take rounds of the sacred fire seven times and the bride follows the groom for these rounds, each signifying a vow. The ritual is very similar to the Saath Phere we're all familiar with. The knot signified an everlasting bond and the vows are meant to hold the marriage together.
Once the Saptapadi is done, the couple sits down, with the bride on the groom's left side. This is followed by the Thaali ceremony. This ritual makes the couple's marriage official. With the help of five married women, who surround the bride, the groom ties the Thaali around the bride's neck, which is the Mangalsutra and they then become husband and wife. This is the last wedding ritual performed in a Kannada wedding and is followed by the couple taking blessings from their elders.
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14. Arundhati Nakshatra
The Arundhati Nakshatra is a ceremony that comes right after the Saptapadi. Here the couple steps out and points towards the sky to look at a star. This nakshatra, or star, is essential in blessing their wedding with happiness and prosperity!
Okhli is a game where the groom's ring is dropped in a huge bowl of milk or coloured water. The aim is to make the bride and groom compete with one another in finding the ring. There are three rounds of it, and if the bride is successful in finding the ring thrice, it is considered that she'll be victorious in dealing with every challenge the marriage has in store for her! Honestly, this is an interesting and fun post-wedding ritual indeed.
Vidaai is a common ceremony across many Indian cultures. It is here where the bride says goodbye to her family and goes ahead to start a new chapter of her life with the groom and his family. The family of the bride send her off with gifts required to set up a new home like a cot, cooking utensils, an umbrella and sweets. The bride's brother also accompanies her to the in-laws' home and stays the night only to depart in the morning. While it's a bittersweet moment, with lots of tears, many brides leave with a smile on their faces and excitement in their eyes.
17. Griha Pravesh
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This is the ceremonial welcome of the bride to her new home. Also known as the Mane Kamsudu, the phrase means 'welcome home'. The mother-in-law of the bride performs an aarti at the entrance to welcome her. Then, a rice-filled vessel is placed at the entrance and the bride topples it with her right foot forward and enters the home. This symbolises the welcome of overflowing wealth and prosperity to the house she has now become a part of. The groom then gifts her five sarees. Other gifts are also given during this time, and the five sarees are meant to be worn on various pre-wedding functions.
18. Name Change Ceremony
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This is a post-wedding ritual where the groom gives a new name to the bride. During this ritual, the groom writes the bride's new name on a plate filled with rice using his ring and the bride takes the plate, signifying her acceptance of the new name.
19. Visiting the Bride’s House
As one last post-wedding ritual of a Kannada wedding, the parents of the bride visit the home of their new in-laws and bring the bride and groom back to the bride's maternal home for a night's stay.
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Ending the wedding is a reception. A formal celebration that the groom's family hosts, the reception is an official celebration where the groom and his family introduce the bride to their circle of friends and relatives and blessings are showered on the newlyweds!
Wedding Outfits In Kannada Culture
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Wedding outfits are an essential part of Kannada weddings.
Grooms wear a white crips dhoti known as a Veshti, which is wrapped around the waist. The Veshti is generally made of cotton, but can also be made of silk with ornate gold borders. It is worn with an Angavastram which is a scarf that is given to the groom by the bride's father. Kannada grooms also don a Pheta or the Pitambar, which is very similar to a Safa, during the wedding. The groom also carries a stick with him, which is blessed by a priest. Furthermore, he can also choose to wear a shirt or kurta with his dhoti.
The bride's attire is extremely elaborate and ornamental. On the wedding day, the bride flaunts a stunning 9 yards Nauvari saree along with Temple jewellery (mostly gold) that includes a maang tikka/mathapatti, junkas, Kamarbandh, layers of necklaces and sometimes even a Rani Haar. Some new-age brides have chosen to rock a Kanjeevaram saree as well during their weddings. Their hair is usually tied in a long braid or a low-hair bun with a gorgeous gajra.
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While studying these rituals, we were left awestruck by the beauty of Kannada weddings and the rich cultural heritage they carry. So, if you're planning a Kannada wedding, we have the perfect vendors - photographers, wedding planners, catering services, and decorators for the day etc, right here! Similarly, if you're going to attend a Kannada wedding soon, it always helps to know the rituals beforehand.