Kannada Wedding Rituals
India is widely recognized for its diverse deep-rooted rich cultures and Kannada wedding is one of them. The breathtaking visuals of this “not so razzle-dazzle event” can connect you with the cultural values of Kannada traditions.
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The glam and grandeur of a Kannada wedding become more surreal with the bright daylight, captivating traditional decor and beautiful attire of the bride and groom as well as the relatives. Only the 3-4 day long wedding rituals of a Kannada wedding leave an indelible imprint on the minds, souls and visions of every attendee. The wedding rituals in the Kannada wedding event are recognized as Shastras.
Let’s know how this celebration of love adds glee to the lives of Kannada people.
Pre-wedding rituals ushering the path of a Kannada wedding
1. Nischaya Tamulam –
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If the parents of a boy and girl fix the marriage, first they match the horoscopes of both individuals with the help of priests. When their stars align the marriage is considered fixed after a discussion between the parents of both sides. After this, the groom’s family members visit the bride’s place and offer her a Saree, Blouse, Coconut and Sweets. In return, the bride’s close family members also arrive at the groom’s place with a Dhoti, Coconut, Sweets and Fruits etc to gift him. This ritual ensures both the family that they will not look for any other person for the bride and groom. You can consider Nischaya Tamulam equivalent to the engagement ceremony of north Indian wedding customs. The exchange of beetle leaves and beetle nuts is auspicious during the ritual. The wedding date is also fixed by the family priests in this ritual.
2. Nandi –
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Once the wedding is officiated by the families and priests, everyone waits with bated breath for the inception of wedding shastras. Naandi is the very first shastra or ritual that takes place in both homes separately. The family priest puts a sacred copper pot filled with clean water which is symbolized as Amrit. The top of this copper pot is embellished with a Coconut. The priest offers a small yet significant puja and prays for the hurdle-free wedding of the couple. Now every member of the family including the bride and groom prays for the wellness and prosperity of the couple after their matrimonial union. After concluding this initial shastra of the Kannada wedding, the first invitation card is offered to the deities of this sect. Their presence in the wedding rituals ensures the warding off of obstacles.
3. Chapra Puja –
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The home that hosts the wedding is embellished with the sacred structure named Chapra. With the help of Coconut leaves and Banana stalks on both ends, this structure is made by the florists or family members of the bride and groom. First, the Chappra puja takes place at the home and then this structure is put up at the entrance of both the homes. People also include several flowers to adorn the structure.
4. Baale Shastra –
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This one is the bride-centric pre-wedding Shastra of the Kannadiga wedding. The bride visits a temple located near her home and attains the blessings of the almighty for her wedding. After offering the prayer in the temple, she gives bangles to all the married women of her family. In Kannada language, the Baale word conveys the meaning of Bangles which are one of the ominous signs of married women.
5. Kashi Yaatre –
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A fun frolic and groom-centric ritual occurs at the groom’s place. The groom amusingly pretends to initiate his pilgrimage journey to the Kashi as the family members are not finding a suitable girl for his wedding. He expresses some funny aggression as well and takes an umbrella, stick and some edibles like rice, dry fruits and sweets for the journey. After walking a few steps away from the home, the maternal uncle of the groom asks him to stay. When he refuses again, the maternal uncle tells him about the bride. Now he leaves the idea of Kashi Yatra and returns home. This unique ritual of the Kannadiga families adds more merriment to the wedding celebration.
6. Dev Karya –
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Though this ritual takes place on the D-day of the couple, the groom performs it before the wedding. He visits a nearby temple with some close family members to seek the blessings of lord Ganesha and other deities. All the wedding stuff is placed in front of the Bhagwan Ganesha so that he can shower his divine blessings on the sacred objects. It is believed that Lord Ganesha sanctifies the wedding things before the grand and auspicious ceremony. This ritual happens right before the moment when the groom and his family head toward the bride’s place for the wedding.
This ritual marks the end of all the pre-wedding celebrations at both homes.
Rituals that take place during the wedding ceremony in the Kannada families
7. Mandap Puja –
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The main wedding rituals usher in with the Mandap puja by the priest who is going to perform all rituals at the wedding venue. He offers prayer and a ceremonial puja at the Mandap or the altar where the wedding will happen. This puja symbolizes the purification of the entire wedding venue including the Mandap. Now the mandap is considered ready or prepared for the wedding precession.
8. Greeting the groom’s party –
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The groom’s procession including his family and friends arrives at the wedding venue where the bride’s family waits for them. They welcome them with great warmth but before the groom ushers in, five married women from the bride’s side perform an aarti of the groom. These married women in the Kannada community are called “Sumangali“. They perform aarti one after another and then the groom heads toward his bride and the sacred wedding mandap. The bride’s father escorts the groom to the wedding mandap after offering him a traditional welcome.
9. Var Puja –
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In a traditional Kannadiga wedding, the groom is viewed as the incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu. When he ushers in the mandap with his soon-to-be father-in-law, he takes a prominent seat beside his bride’s seat. Now the bride’s father wash his feet which depicts the reverence towards the groom. He is gifted with a set of Silk Dhoti and a Scarf which is called Pitambar. The groom goes to change his attire and returns to the wedding mandap in the gifted silk dhoti and scarf. Now all the further wedding rituals take place at the holy altar.
10. Jaimala –
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A quite surreal ritual of a Kannada wedding is Jaimala. The divine entry of the well-decked-up bride glorifies the wedding mandap. Her sister covers her face with a fan made up of the peacock feather. A cloth sheet is also placed between the bride and groom restricting their sight from each other. The priest starts citing holy mantras that remark the beginning of the wedding. Gradually the cloth sheet is removed and the peacock feather fan is also kept aside. Now the bride and groom lay down the first sight on each other. The couple exchanges the floral garlandsthree times under the shade of a sacred wedding mandap.
11. Dhareherdu –
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Quite similar to the Kanyadaan ritual in other Hindu sects, Kannada people follow a Dhareherdu ritual. The bride’s parents put the right hand of their daughter on the right hand of the groom. A beetleleaf and a coconut are also placed on the top of their joined palms. Now the holy water from the river Ganga is poured as a Dhara through a sacred copper pot by the bride’s parents. This water-pouring act depicts the shower of blessings on the couple by the bride’s parents who are giving their daughter’s child to another family.
12. Saptapadi –
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The end of the bride’s attire known as pallu is tied to the corner of the Pitambar of the groom. Now they both stand up and start taking rounds of the sacred fire. The priest chants the pious mantras mentioned in our ancient scriptures. A total of seven rounds are taken by the bride and groom in which the groom leads the bride. Each round is considered completed with reciting of one sacred vow by the couple. After completing all the seven rounds this ritual finishes and the bride sits on the left side of the groom. The tied knot also shows the sacred union of the two individuals through matrimonial rituals.
13. Thali –
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After the Saptapadi, the Thali ritual takes place. The bride sitting on the left side is surrounded by the five married women of the family. The groom ties a Thali known as Mangalsutra around the neck of the bride. This signifies the completion of a Kannada wedding and the bride and groom now become an official husband-wife of each other. This ritual is followed by the blessingceremony in which the newly wedded couple seeks love and blessings from every elder person present there.
14. Arundhati Nakshatra –
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This unique and meaningful ritual is celebrated in other cultures also. After the Saptapadi, the bride and groom step out of the wedding mandap. The groom helps the bride in witnessing the Arundhati nakshatra by pointing his finger in the right direction of its place. It is believed that Arundhati Nakshatra showers prosperity and blessings on the union of the couple after the wedding.
Here the wedding rituals of Kannada culture take a pause.
Post-wedding celebrations in Kannada families
15. Okhali –
The post-wedding celebration is full of fun at Kannada weddings. Okhali is one such traditional fun event in which the bride and groom compete with each other. A big vessel or bowl full of milk and colored water is placed between both of them and a ring is dropped into it. Now the challenge is to find the ring quickly and first. Whoever performs this cunningly wins the challenge. This ritual occurs thrice between the couple. It marks that whoever wins this challenge will lead a happy wedded life forever.
16. Vidaai / Bidaai –
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A bittersweet moment comes when this emotional ritual takes place in the Kannadiga family. After performing several rituals that convey the celebration of love, it is time for the bride to leave her home and initiate a new phase with her in-laws and husband. The shedding tears from the eyes of parents and bride say it all that it is quite hard to depart a child from the loved ones. The family sends her off with several gifts which make her life comfortable in the new home. The bride’s brother also goes with her and stays for a night at her sister’s new home and returns the next morning.
17. Griha Pravesh –
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The bride receives a warm welcome from her in-laws when she arrives at her new home. The mother-in-law of the bride performs an aarti of the newlywed bride. Now she places a pot brimming with rice grains on the threshold of the entrance gate. The bride gently kicks the vessel or pot with her right foot so that the rice can fall on the floor. The pot full of rice depicts the prosperity of the home while the kicking it and falling grains on the ground show the increased prosperity after the arrival of the bride. Also known as Mane Kamsudu in the Kannada language, this Griha Pravesh ritual portrays the heartfelt acceptance of the bride.
18. Gift presenting ceremony –
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The groom gives five beautiful sarees to his wife with other presents like jewelry as a tradition of a Kannada wedding. The bride adorns herself with these sarees and jewelry on the post-wedding festivities at her in-laws’ home. This ritual makes the love denser between the husband and his wife.
19. Name-changing ceremony –
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A unique custom of the Kannada wedding is changing the name of the bride by the groom after the wedding. The groom writes the new name on a plate full of rice with his ring and the bride takes this plate as the acceptance of the new name. The groom lovingly calls her wife with this new name in the home.
20. Visiting the bride’s home after the wedding –
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After completing all the post-wedding rituals the bride and groom visit the bride’s home together. Here they receive a lavish welcome by the family members and a sumptuous meal is also prepared by the family to please the newlywed couple. Staying for a night at the paternal home of the bride, the couple returns to the home the next day.
21. A grand reception –
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The groom’s family hosts a grand and lavish reception party at their place to formally introduce the bride to each relative and known person belonging to the groom’s side. The reception party is then followed by a traditional feast also. The couple receives many gifts and blessings from the people who attend this ceremony. They shower love on the union of the couple and bless them with a lovely married life ahead.
This marks the end of the 3-4 day long wedding celebration in a traditional Kannadiga family. It will be an exceptional feeling to witness such meaningful wedding rituals at a Kannada wedding.