Source Tejas Jagtap Photography
A Simple, Traditional and Joyous Affair- that's what a Marathi wedding is.
When you're having a Maharashtrian Wedding, it's important to know all the essential rituals that play a vital role in it. From some precise rituals like the Sakhar Puda to carefree and easygoing ones like the Halad Chadavane, a Marathi wedding is composed of various, intricately designed and thoughtful rituals that create an aura of what many would call 'Simple yet Beautiful'.
Now, if you're planning a Marathi wedding, then of course you have to know about all the rituals that are essential to this celebration. You should probably have every ritual written down to make sure you're not caught blindsided by anything being skipped or done wrong. Similarly, you should have an idea of why and how every Marathi wedding ritual is performed.
So, to help you guys out a bit, here's a list of Marathi wedding rituals that will help you celebrate this regal cultural affair even better!
List of Marathi Wedding Rituals You Should Know
Marathi wedding rituals combine poojas and vows that are all about celebrating love and having fun. Some of these wedding traditions are similar to that of a South Indian wedding like the Saptapadhi and Kanyadaan. However, there is an air of uniqueness to a Maharashtrian wedding that makes this traditional affair one to remember.
1. Lagnacha Bedior
Shot by The Storyteller, Pune
This is the very first step taken in a Marathi wedding. This ritual is when the horoscopes or the 'Patrikas' of the bride and groom are matched. This was a very important ritual back when all weddings were arranged by the parents of the bride and groom. Once that is accomplished, the horoscopes or patrikas of the boy and the girl are matched by the family priests and an auspicious time and date are set for the couple's wedding.
2. Sakhar Puda
The Sakhar Puda is the first pre-wedding function that takes place at a Marathi Wedding. It is the official engagement ceremony or the Roka ceremony in a Maharashtrian wedding. In this ceremony, the groom's mother applies Haldi-Kumkum on the bride’s forehead as a blessing and gifts her saree, jewellery and Sakhar Puda or sweets. After this, the couple officially exchanges engagement rings. The Sakhar Puda is generally held a few days before the wedding.
3. Muhurt Karane
Shot by The Storyteller, Pune
Once the Maharashtrian wedding's vidhi is fixed and the Sakhar Puda is celebrated, the pre-wedding rituals go into full swing. The prep for the wedding starts months before the wedding day! Five married women, known as the 'Suhasanies' are invited by the bride’s mother to come over on an auspicious day. Together, they grind Tumeric with an iron pestle, to be used later, as well as pulses and spices, and roll papads. The rituals are followed by shopping, after which they hold the ‘rukhvat’ ritual where the bridal trousseau, utensils, sweets and other things are all artistically displayed.
Shot by The Cheesecake Project, Mumbai
A few days before the wedding, the Kelvan is performed. Here, both families perform a Pooja to their Kuldevta (primary family deity) for auspicious blessings for the union. The pooja ceremony is generally followed by a meal with the family and close relatives.
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5. Halad Chadavane
‘Halad Chadavane’ is a function common to all Indian weddings. Marathi weddings are performed a day before the wedding, where the five Suhasanies from the Muhurta Karane first apply turmeric paste with mango leaves on the groom's forehead, shoulders, hands and feet. They then take the same paste to the bride and perform the same ritual.
6. Chura Ceremony
Like in any other Indian culture, chura, churis or bangles, hold a lot of significance for the bride.Duringn the ‘chura’ ceremony, the bride is given a set of green glass bangles, along with gold or pearl ones. In Maharashtrian culture, green is seen as a symbol of life, creation and fertility. It is considered to be a lucky colour that represents hopes for a newly married couple’s happy life.
7. Ganpati Puja, Devdevak and Punyavachan
The wedding day commences with the worship of Lord Ganesha. The Ganpati Pooja is performed to bless the couple with a bright, obstacle-free future. Following this, the family deity, or the Kuldevta, is once again invoked at the mandap to bless the couple. The bride’s parents then take her to the wedding venue and ask the relatives present to bless their daughter during the Punyavachan.
8. Seemanpuja and Gurihar Puja
Source Kishor Nimat
In Seemanpuja, upon the groom’s arrival, the bride’s mother receives him with Aarti and sweets. The bride’s mother washes the groom's feet, applies tilak on his forehead, does aarti and welcomes him inside the wedding venue. This is followed by the Gurihar Pooja. The bride, who is dressed traditionally in a bright Paithani saree or a silk shalu, with gold jewellery and flowers in her hair, worships and invokes the blessings of Goddess Parvati for a prosperous life. In the same pooja, the bride's maternal uncle gives her some rich, which she then offers to Goddess Parvati.
Shot by Into Candid Photography, Mumbai
During the Antarpat, the groom arrives at the mandap, where he is made to wear the ‘mundavalya’. The mundavalya is a holy ornamental thread tied around the heads of the bride and groom. After the mundavalya is tied to the groom's head, he sits on his seat. He is hidden by a cloth curtain called the ‘antarpat,’ which prevents him from seeing the bride.
Source Photizo Studio
Now, the bride enters the Mandap. As the priest recites holy wedding chants, the bride is led to the mandap by her maternal uncle. The Antarpat is then removed and the bride and groom finally lay eyes on one another. The couple then exchanges their jaimala and everyone showers them with Akshata or whole rice.
In a ritual common to all weddings in India, the father of the bride gives away his daughter to the bridegroom with blessings. The groom accepts her and promises to love and respect his wife forever.
During the Lajahoma, the bride offers grains to the havan, or holy fire, while reciting chanting three mantras which the groom repeats. The fourth mantra is uttered silently only by the bride. Following this, the bride's parents worship the couple as avatars of Vishnu & Laxmi. The bride and groom then tie a turmeric thread on each other's hands and then the groom ties the Mangalsutra around the bride’s neck. Finally, he applies vermillion (sindoor) on her forehead.
The couple then performs the ‘saptapadi’. During the Saptapadhi, they chant the seven wedding vows out loud while taking rounds around the holy fire seven times.
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The wedding rituals come to an end with the 'karmasamapti'. During this, the couple performs the Laxmi Pujan, worshipping until the fire puts out. After this, the groom gives the bride a new name. To add a fun twist to this ritual, the bride's brother teasingly twists the groom's ear and reminds him of his marital duties. Finally, the couple takes everyone's blessings in the end.
Shot by Ganesh Das Photography, Solapur
In a Marathi wedding, Varat basically means the farewell of the bride from her parent's home to her husband's home. And while the bride bids her goodbyes, the groom carries the Parvati idol from Gaurihar Puja. Usually, a large procession follows the bride to her in-law's home.
Source Photizo Studio
During the Grihapravesh, the newlywed couple is welcomed to the groom's family home. The groom's mother washes the couple's feet with milk and water and performs an aarti. Then, while entering the house, the bride is asked to push down a Kalash of rice. Then with her right foot forward, the bride enters her new home accompanied by her husband.
Source Tasta Photography
Following all the wedding rituals, the final celebration party is held. The bride and groom are officially introduced to all the guests as a couple. During the reception, the bride wears a saree that is gifted to her by the groom’s family and the groom wears an outfit that the bride’s parents gift him.
Things You Will See In A Marathi Wedding
While all Indian weddings share common cultural and ritualistic nuances, there are certain aspects that set Marathi weddings apart. Here are some things you will only see at a Marathi wedding:
The Wedding Invitation
In a Marathi wedding, the first invitation is always offered to Lord Ganesha for his blessings. It is an integral part of the Marathi wedding traditions. And only after this is done, the other invitation cards are sent out.
Deep-rooted Cultural Practices
One thing that's synonymous with all Maharashtrian weddings is the importance of specific rituals and traditions that have been passed down from one generation to another. And even if the weddings are lavish and exuberantly decorated, Marathi weddings are rooted in simple customs, marked by sweet, soulful interactions amongst close friends and family.
The Groom's Outfit
The traditional attire for a Maharashtrian groom is an off-white, cream or beige kurta paired with a white kanche or dhoti with a thin border. Every groom also dons a red or gold-coloured stole around his shoulders which is paired with a Gandhi-style hat or a turban known as pheta.
The Bride's Outfit
The traditional Maharashtrian bride wears the most colourful silk sarees with exquisite gold borders. The saree is generally draped in a Marathi Dhoti style, with some popular colour combinations including yellow, orange, purple and green. There are two kinds of sarees worn at a Marathi wedding- a six-yard Paithani or a nine-yard Navari. For jewellery, the bride wears green glass bangles which are generally paired with pearl or gold kangans, a Thusi which is a traditional necklace, Marathi armlets and a moon-shaped bindi, all complete with the Mangalsutra.
The one element that truly sets a Marathi wedding apart is theMundavalya. It is a traditional head ornament that is comprised of thin strings of flowers, beads or pearls that are worn across the forehead and down the sides of the face by the bride and the groom.
Just like an Indian wedding, Marathi weddings are simple yet graceful; vibrant yet elegant. They're a mix of culture and traditions as well as fun and playfulness. Yet, thanks to the versatility of Indian traditions, you can easily blend something unique or new into your own Marathi wedding to set it apart from others. However, ultimately it is about having a merry time and enjoying your wedding to the fullest with your family and friends.