Gujarati Marriage/ Wedding - Customs and Rituals

Gujarati Marriage/ Wedding – Customs and Rituals

Gujarati community is deeply immersed in cultural ethics. They take great pride in celebrating their religious and cultural ceremonies with much devotion. They are vibrant and very lively. Hence, when it comes to Gujarati marriages, they consider it as a pious occasion that involves prayers, rituals and entertaining customs. Actually they are very eager to participate in most possible matrimony events and celebrate with great pomp and show. Gujarati Matrimony is famous for the entertaining events like music, beautiful dance, traditional garba, colorful clothing, and traditional cuisine.
Typically, the first formal approval of marriage in Gujarati community starts with the Sagaii or engagement. This is a traditional ceremony where in bride and her family members arrives to the groom’s place for formalize the marriage ceremony. At this time, generally they give holy items like kanku, sakar and shriphal to the groom’s parents to formalize the marriage between bride and groom. Now a day, there is little change observed in celebrating the engagement ceremony by exchanging the ring between bride and groom. This must be kind of innovation in celebrating events. And it is true that Gujarati community is known for their innovations and creation.
Gujarati is known for their traditional Garba and ideally they do not prefer to leave the wedding ceremony without celebrating it without this natural art of dance and garba. The night prior to the wedding day, the bride and groom families perform garba that fills the atmosphere of the venue with vibrant dressing and enthusiasm. Many Gujarati families even call professional singers or orchestra party for the entertainment. The idea behind these ceremonies is to enjoy, eat, drink, and dance with the feeling of togetherness.
Gujarati wedding is characterized with several pre wedding, wedding day and post wedding ceremonies. Pre wedding ceremonies are the significant part of the wedding ceremony to create a festive mood with family members. These ceremonies are performed individually at bride and groom’s place. Generally, the ceremonies celebrated prior to wedding are Ghari puja, Ganesh Matli, Ganesh Sthapan, Mandaap Muharat, Mehandi and Pithi. Almost all these rituals are performed in almost all the sub caste of Gujarati community.
Ghari puja is a pre wedding custom. The priest performs a puja with rice, wheat, coconut, oil, turmeric, betel nuts and number of other spices. The married women of the family grind the wheat on small old fashioned grinder which symbolizes the prosperity of the family. The groom offers handful of grains to the priest which indicates that although he is going to put his step into new lifestyle but he will always give a charity to his less fortunate family members. All this customs involves lot of family values.
Ganesh Matli is the ritual where in the bride and groom mothers dress up in their bridal finery and carry earthen pot full of water on their heads. They walk to their threshold of their homes. The son-in-law of respective families cut the water with the knife to ward off any evil spirits.  Ganesh Sthapan is the performed by the bride and groom parents’ individually which is considered auspicious for any important occasion. Mandaap Muharat is again the exclusive custom performed by Gujarati.  This ritual is about planting a holy Mandaap on the auspicious day and time. Mandaap is the kind of shelter created by cloth under which the marriage ceremony is solemnized.
Like other Indian matrimony, in Gujarati matrimonial Mehandi (Henna) is the ceremony performed wherein the bride, groom and their family members individually put on mehandi on their hands. Pithi is the ritual in which holy paste made from turmeric, oil, perfume and rosewater are applied to the bride and groom to purify them. The ceremony is again celebrated in their respective house with their nearest family members. The relatives sing traditional wedding songs by which the atmosphere becomes very lively.
Most of the Gujarati families also believe in performing Grihshanti puja before wedding ceremony which is having lot of religious values. This puja symbolizes to get blessings from the God to get prosperity, health, fertility and happy married life to the newly wedded couple.

Usually, Gujarati matrimony wedding ceremony observes very traditional ritualistic pattern which is very interesting to watch. Like traditional Indian marriages, Gujarati marriage is solemnized with Jaimala, Varmala followed by Kanya Daan and Mangal Phera. Apart from these ceremonies, madhuparka, hastamilaap and saubhagyavati bhava are the rituals exclusively celebrated in Gujarati marriage.

On the day of the wedding celebration begins with Jaimala wherein groom arrives at the wedding place. The bride mother welcomes him with the Jaimala and aarti. This is also known as Pokhvu.After Jaimala, usually gujarati bride arrives at the threshold of the wedding venue and place Varmala to the gujarati groom. Madhuparka is the custom wherein the father of the bride wash the groom’s feet. At this time, the sister-in-law steals away his shoes for which the gujarati groom has to offer money by the demand of the ladies to get back his shoes. This is one of the most fun loving events on the wedding day.

According to Gujarati tradition, the maternal uncle of the bride takes her to the mandaap to exchange the garlands. After exchanging the garlands, the bride’s hand is placed to the groom’s hand which is known as hasta milap. After hasta milap, the ritual called Kanyadaan is performed. In this ritual, the father of the bride gives her daughter hand in the groom’s hand. This is followed by mangal phera wherein the couple takes four rounds around the holy fire to solemnize the marriage. Mangalsutra is tied by the groom to the bride’s neck. Saubhagyavati Bhava is the ritual in which all the elder family members give their blessings to the newly wedded couple. In few castes, the elder married ladies of the bride’s family whisper their blessings into the right ear of the bride. Post wedding ceremony are celebrated with also very interesting which includes Vidai, Gharni Laxmi and Aiki Beki.

Vidai is having lot of emotional values where in bride leaves her parents house taking all the memories along with her. With this ceremony, she marks the beginning of a new life with her husband. Gharni Laxmi is the welcome ceremony of the bride to the groom’s home. Aiki Beki is strange but interesting and fun loving game played in the groom’s house. In this game, several coins and a ring are placed in a tray of water covered by milk. The game is played by bride and groom with the belief that one who finds ring for four times first would rule the house.


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