A marriage is more than a bride and a groom. It is a Sangathan, a blend of cultures, families, rituals and life-long promises. Conducted in strict accordance with age-old customs and traditions, Telugu weddings are a mesmerizing affair. While the wedding does seem similar to many other South-Indian weddings, Telugu marriage rituals are unique in its own way. In Telugu weddings, a bride is bestowed as the most important part without whom any ritual is bound to remain incomplete. While the ancient Telugu weddings continued over a period of 16 days, today the weddings have shortened to a period of a couple of days without comprising on any of the rituals.
With this ceremony, the bond between the bride and groom is made official by exchanging rings. However, the grandeur of this event is unparalleled and aesthetic. Both the bride and groom’s familiesdecide upon the most auspicious day to hold marriage. The fixing of a wedding date and time is a small ritual in itself called Muhuratam. Later on, gifts and presents are exchanged between the families of the bride and the groom.
The first step towards the marriage, this ceremony is conducted to decide upon the most auspicious day suitable for the wedding. From the bride to the groom and all the members of their family participate in this event. The wedding date and time is decided by bearing in mind astrology, planetary positions, and horoscopes.
This wedding ritual marks the start of the marriage preparations. While this ceremony is held separately at bride and groom’s home, the key aspect remains the same. Both, the bride and the groom are smeared with oil and turmeric. The reason is that the skin of both bride and groom should scintillate on the weddingday. Post applying the paste of oil and turmeric, the bride and the groom are bathed and presented with new clothes. However, the bride has also gifted with new jewelry and some elegantly looking and stunningly scented flowers.
Deemed as the declaration by the groom that he has graduated from a bachelor and is ready to become a family man, Snathakam is a fun-filled affair held at the groom’s house. In this ritual, the groom is made to wear a silver thread which serves as the declaration for the groom to take up his mantle as a husband and bear responsibilities of a family. This is ritual comes from ancient belief when Brahmins would send a boy to learn the scriptures and on his return would
One of the fun-filled and entertaining rituals at Telugu weddings, Kashi Yatra involves drama, promises, and masti. During this ceremony, the groom decides to take off to Kashi to become a sage and presume monkhood. However, the bride’s brother stops and knocks some sense into the groom. He also promises to offer his sister in an alliance to the groom in marriage in order to stop him from pursuing sainthood.
On the wedding day, the bride and the groom take an auspicious bath to cleanse and purify themselves prior to the proceedings of the wedding. The sacred bath makes them pious so that they can perform the sacred and holistic wedding rituals in the mandap.
A girl is often thought of as an avatar of a goddess. Before the wedding ceremony commences, the bride offers her prayers and seeks blessingsfrom Goddess Gauri by performing a pooja to please the almighty goddess. Goddess Gauri is said to represent fertility and thus, the bride seeks her blessing so as to bear the joy of being a mother.
While the bride is performing the Gauri pooja, the groom is busy offering prayers to Lord Ganesh, the god of prosperity. The groom requests the blessing from Lord Ganesh, to make the upcoming marriage life prosperous, joyful and hassle-free.
The wedding commences as the bride is seated in a basket of rice. After she is seated, the maternal uncle offers to carry her along with the basket to the mandap. All the time the bride is prohibited from looking at the groom and thus, a silky translucent curtain called terasella is placed between them.
The literal meaning of Kanyadaan is to offer the bride. In this ceremony bride’s parents wash the feet of the groom and offer their daughter to the groom in marriage. The groom responds in a calm and assuring manner to take care and fulfill all his duties towards their daughter, his wife. Sweets and gifts are presented to the groom as opposed to a cow which was offered in ancient times.
Jeelakarra is nothing but a paste of cumin and jaggery which both, the bride and the groom apply on each other’s hands. The bride and the groom place the paste in each other’s hands over the curtain, promising to stay together through thick and thin, happiness and sorrow and bitter and sweet phases of their life. Post this ceremony the couple is identified as husband and wife and the curtain is thus, removed.
The curtain between the bride and the groom is lifted off and the groom ties mangalsutra around the bride’s neck with three knots. The three knots symbolize the mental, physical and spiritual bonding between the bride and the groom.
After the bride is brought into the mandap by her maternal uncle, Panigrahanam is performed as the groom holds the hand of the bride. The significance of this ritual is that the groom thanks the gods and the goddesses for offering him such a beautiful bride and promises to never part with her until his death or eternity.
This ceremony means to take seven steps around a sacred fire to destroy of all evil and act as a witness of this holy bond. The end of the bride’s pallu is tied to the groom’s shawl and both of them circumvent the holy fire resembling the seven vows of marriage according to the Hindu tradition.
The wedding is announced complete when the groom places silver toe rings on the second toes of his wife’s feet. Followed by this, is the tradition to make bride adorn a necklace of gold and black beads to ward of effects of an evil eye. Post this ceremony the bride is officially separated from her birth family and is now a part of her husband’s family.
Telugu marriages are all about pious and sacred rituals which span over the course of the marriage. While they are extremely significant, they are exciting and fun-filled. Be sure to witness one in your life and enjoy the content of your heart.
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