Marathi Wedding Rituals

Marathi Wedding rituals

In a Maharashtrian wedding, the essential rituals play a vital role in uniting the two individual persons and their respective families. The easygoing yet intricately designed Marathi wedding rituals enhance the glory of this unique culture.

Every single wedding ritual of a Marathi wedding holds significant meaning and helps in making the love and reverence denser between the bride and groom along with their respective families.

Though there is the least place for any non-meaningful ritual in the Marathi wedding, the fun and lighter moments of some rituals spice up the whole Marathi wedding event.

Here is the stepwise way of learning about the age-old Marathi wedding culture and its importance.

Pre-wedding customs of the Marathi culture –

1. Lagnacha Bedior –

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If the parents of a boy and girl fix the marriage then they take the very initial step of matching Horoscope or Patrika with the help of their family priest. This ritual is called Lagnacha Bedior. When the horoscopes of the boy and girl match, the families fix the marriage and they also decide the date and muhurat of the wedding. This ritual is the beginning of ringing the wedding bells in traditional Marathi families.

2. Sakhar Puda –

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A formal ceremony of an engagement or an intimate gathering between the families of the would-be bride and groom is Sakhar Puda. In this initial pre-wedding ritual the bride’s forehead is adorned with Haldi and Kumkum by her would-be mother-in-law. She is also given a Saree, Jewelry and Sugar packet or sweets that is called Sakhar Puda. This auspicious beginning of a wedding signifies the acceptance of the bride by her in-law’s family. A similar ritual is performed by the bride’s family which offers gifts, clothes, jewelry and sweets to the would-be groom.

3. Muhurt Karane –

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The actual start of the Marathi wedding festivities is Muhurt Karane when Five married women are invited to both houses. All five women known as Suhasaine grind the turmeric in an iron pestle tied with auspicious mango leaves. They also roll papads and make Sangade (a recipe made with pulse and spices and then soaked in the sun) to use on wedding days. With this ceremony, the wedding shopping is also started by both families. After this at the bride’s home Rukhavat ceremony is organized where the decorative utensils, jewelry, food items, bridal lehenga,  sarees and kitchen items are presented in an exhibition. This ritual takes place on a very favorable day a few weeks before the wedding.

4. Wedding Invitations –

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Selecting the invitation cards for inviting each other’s family and other guests is the next step of pre-wedding rituals in Marathi culture. The very first wedding invitation is offered to Bhagwan Ganesh and both families pray to him for gracing the wedding with his pious presence. This pre-wedding ritual takes place a few weeks before D-Day. The family of the bride and groom offer invitation cards to each other before distributing them among relatives and other known people.

5. Kelvan –

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A few days before the big day both families visit the place of Kuldevta/Kuldevi (Family Deities) with the bride and groom separately. They offer prayers to them and seek blessings for obstacle-free wedding ceremonies. After the Kelvan ritual, close relatives and family members relish a traditional meal together. These people also shower blessings on the bride and groom for their new beginning in life.

6. Halad Chadavane –

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The Haldi ceremony of a north Indian wedding is recognized as Halad Chadavane in a Marathi wedding event. Right before a day of D-day, the same five married women “Suhasanie”, apply the turmeric paste on the head, shoulders, hands, feet and other visible parts of the body. In this ritual the same turmeric is used that was prepared at the Muhurt Karane and the same five women ” Suhasanei” are invited to initiate this. This ceremony first takes place at the groom’s home and then the leftover turmeric paste is sent to the bride’s home. Now first married women apply the paste on the face and body of the bride with the help of mango leaves.

7. Chuda Ceremony –

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The shiny bangles are an integral part of any bride’s attire. In Marathi culture green bangles mixed with golden and pearl are offered to the bride. The green colour in Marathi culture is a symbol of good luck, charm, prosperity, fertility, life and creation etc. It is believed that wearing green bangles by the bride brings love, luck and positive hopes in the married life of the couple. The traditional Marathi bride wears this set of green bangles till the last day of the month after her wedding.

Main wedding rituals of Marathi culture –

Now the auspicious wedding rituals take place at a common location where the bride and groom’s family and their relatives gather. The celebration of love begins with great pomp yet simple customs.

8. Ganapati Puja –

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The significance of Ganesh ji in Marathi culture needs no introduction hence the wedding festivities are commenced with the invocation of Bhagwan Ganesh. A pious Ganapati Puja is organized at the wedding place where every attendee prayers for the obstacle-free conduction of the wedding event. The family priest cites the sacred mantras for pleasing Ganapati Ji and helps the family members in offering righteous prayer.

9. Punyahvachan –

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This unique wedding ritual of Marathi culture helps in cleansing the ambiance and people and enables them to perform a Vaidik kriya at the wedding. This custom occurs on the big day of the lucky groom and beautiful bride. The parents of the bride and groom tell everyone that today is the auspicious wedding of their children and ask them to pour valuable blessings on them. The priest also guides the parents or guardians of the bride and groom to seek the blessings of all elder ones. Close family members also perform Varuna pujan and Matru pujan in the same ceremony.

10. Devdevak –

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At the sacred place “Wedding Mandap” where the wedding ceremony is going to take place, the Kuldevta (Family Deity) is again invoked with the holy mantras chanting. The divine presence of Kuldevta makes the wedding and married life of a couple free from hurdles. In many Marathi families, this ritual is also called Kuldevta Sthapana.

11. Gaurihar Puja –

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The bride decks up in the traditional Marathi saree that is gifted by her maternal uncle and worships the silver idol of Ma Parvati. The priest places the goddess Gauri’s idol on a pile of rice and cites the holy mantras. Then bride offers some rice to the goddess Gauri and asks for showering blessings that lead to a prosperous and congenial wedded life.

12. Seeman Pujan –

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It is an honorable welcome of the groom at the wedding event. The bride’s mother shows reverence towards her would be son in law by washing his feet and putting a tilak on his forehead. She feeds him some sweets also after performing a small aarti of the groom. The close family members and relatives of the groom are also welcomed by the bride’s side in a very warm way. Some families offer gifts and jewelry also to the groom during Seeman Puja.

13. Antarpat ritual –

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When the groom reaches the sacred wedding mandap in his wedding attire, the Antarpat ceremony occurs. First, the family members help the groom in wearing Mundavalya, which is a head ornament made with pearl strings. The bride also adorns her head with Mundavlaya. Now a cloth is placed in front of the groom so that he can not have a glimpse of her bride. The groom sits at his designated place in the mandap for further wedding rituals. The cloth piece is called the Antarpat in this unique Marathi wedding ritual.

14. Sankalp ritual –

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Now it is the bride’s turn to glorify the wedding mandap with her arrival. The bride enters the wedding place and the priest chants the Mangalashtakas. The Antarpat is removed from its place and now the bride and groom can lay their eyes on each other. Right after this, the Garland Exchange ceremony takes place and all the relatives and family members shower Akshat or unbroken rice on the couple. This signifies the blessings from all attendees towards the bride and groom. The family members leave no chance to add fun to the garland exchange ceremony by making it difficult for the couple to perform it.

15. Kanyadaan ritual –

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One of the most sensitive Marathi wedding rituals is performed by the father of the bride and is recognized as Kanyadaan. This symbolizes that the bride’s parents are giving their daughter to the groom and asking him to love and care for her forever. The bride’s parents also bless the couple to initiate the wedded life with three essential rules – Dharma, Artha and Kama. The groom says he is receiving love in exchange for love. The bride’s parents worship the couple as an Avatar of Bhagwan Vishnu and Devi Lakshmi. Now the groom seals this ritual by trying the Mangalsutra around the bride’s neck and putting the vermillion in the hair parting of the bride’s head. The bride also put a sandalwood tilak on the forehead of the groom.

16. Lajahoma –

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The bride offers the grains to the holy fire and chants three mantras and the groom repeats these three mantras after the bride. But the fourth mantra is chanted by the bride silently. Now both the bride and groom tie a sacred thread on the wrist of each other, this ritual is known as Kankan Bandhane.

17. Saptapadi –

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This ritual includes the seven sacred steps around the holy fire by both bride and groom. The priest guides them with the seven vows of marriage and the bride and groom follow him by reciting the seven ritualistic vows loudly. Now the bride steps on a grindstone and the groom holds her hand or feet. This shows that “the groom will always support the bride in every situation of life.” This wedding ritual is performed in other Indian cultures also but is known by different names or rituals.

18. Kama Samapti –

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This ritual conveys the end of a Marathi wedding ceremony. The bride and groom pray to Goddess Lakshmi till the holy fire goes out and attain the divine blessings for their new phase in life. The groom also gives a new name to his wife to lovingly call her.

19. Kaan Pili –

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A cheeky tradition of a Marathi wedding is twisting or pulling the ear of the groom lovingly by the brother of the bride. This fun ritual shows that the bride’s brother is reminding the groom to love and take care of his sister for a whole lifetime. After this joyful ritual, the couple gets up from the wedding mandap and seeks the blessings of every elder person who belongs to the families of both bride and groom.

Post-wedding rituals in the rich Marathi culture –

After the completion of wedding rituals that unite the bride and groom, some more iconic tradition awaits the couple. Have a look at their meaning and significance in married life according to Marathi culture.

20. Varat ritual –

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The bride waves an emotional goodbye to her paternal home. Every relative and family member sheds tears as she walks away from her parents and home. The groom takes the idol of Devi Parvati which was worshiped during Gurihar pooja. The bride leaves her home and heads towards her husband’s home.

21. Grihapravesh –

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The newlywed couple when arrives home, they receive a grand and soulful welcome from the family members of the groom. The mother-in-law of the bride washes the feet of a couple with milk and water and performs a small aarti of the united bride and groom. Now the bride gently pushes the ricefilled pot on the floor with her right leg and enters the home with her husband.

22. Reception Ceremony –

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The final celebration of the Marathi wedding is recognized as the grand reception party where the couple is formally introduced to every relative and other known people. On this occasion, the bride wears the traditional saree gifted by her in-laws’ home and similarly the groom decks up in the attire which is offered by the bride’s side.

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