I started my journey as a wedding photographer from Pune. Although my first wedding assignment was a mix of a Marwari-Punjabi cultural wedding.
It didn’t take long to shoot my first Marathi wedding being in the cultural capital of Maharashtra, Pune. Marathi weddings are quite simpler and fast-paced as compared to our other Indian Hindu weddings.
Marathi wedding rituals are quite similar to other Hindu wedding rituals. There are some minor twists in how similar wedding rituals are performed in other traditions. And there are times when the names of wedding rituals are also similar or similar sounding.
I will divulge into all the important Marathi or Maharashtrian wedding rituals one by one from a wedding photographer’s perspective.
PreWedding Rituals in a Marathi Wedding
It is one of the main pre-wedding Marathi wedding rituals. It all starts with Sakhar Puda – the engagement ceremony. All though ring exchange was not a mandatory part of Sakhar Puda. But these days ring exchange is almost a part of every Sakhar Puda ceremony in Marathi culture.
It is also called Waangnischay or verbal agreement.
Sakhar means sugar in Marathi and Puda means packets. It involves sugar packets, clothes, and jewelry for the bride. And coconut, gold (or silver) coins and clothes for the groom.
Sugar has an important role as it signifies sweet beginning for the couple. The bride and groom families exchange gifts with each other. It ends with a ring exchange by the couple. Both the families feed each other sweets to celebrate the new beginning.
The Sakhar Puda gifts or boxes are packed in a very peculiar way, decorated with very colorful cones and ribbons.
Traditionally speaking, the ceremony was done a day before the Lagna or wedding day. The current city life had made changes in the timing and how Simant Puja is performed.
Seemant or simant is a word used for boundaries or limits. In this puja or ceremony, the groom and his family are welcomed by the bride’s family. The ceremony starts with the bride’s mother cleaning the feet of the groom with water.
The feet are applied with tilak and aarti is performed by her. The groom is showered with gifts as a part of blessings. The groom’s mother reciprocates the bride with gifts like sarees, jewelry, perfumes, and other bridal accessories.
Post the ceremony it is all fun and food. The two families sit and eat together to know each other better.
Kelvan is pre-wedding Marathi ritual which happens 2 or 3 days before the wedding day. The primary reason for the ritual is to strengthen the bond between the two families.
The families of the bride and groom invite each for meals and exchange gifts. The kelvan ceremony invite also includes close family and relatives from both sides. The idea behind the ritual is to show respect and know each other better.
Haldi Ceremony or Halad Chadawat/Chadavane
The Haldi ceremony in Marathi wedding these days happens on the wedding day just before the wedding or a day before the wedding. The Haldi is applied to both the bride and groom which is followed by the bath.
The halad is applied in a very peculiar way as a part of the ritual. The halad or turmeric paste with the help of mango leaf is applied on the face, arms, and legs.
The Maharashtrian brahmin wedding ceremony happens for both the bride and groom. The Haldi left after applying the groom is sent over to the bride’s place. The same Haldi paste is used for the bride’s Haldi.
Haldi ceremony is quite a playful activity with a lot of good opportunities with good pictures. Make sure you have hired a wedding photographer with a good eye for moments.
Gaurihar puja is the worshiping the goddess Parvati by the bride. The bride dresses up in a traditional bridal saree given by her maternal uncle. The bride offers rice to the goddess for a prosperous happy married life. The rituals are performed by the bride sitting on a paan leaf while offering rice to the silver idol of goddess Parvati.
Antarpat ritual is an important ritual in a Marathi wedding. A silk shawl is placed in between the bride and groom as a curtain while the priest is reciting shlokas and mantras.
The couple is not supposed to see each other during these rituals. The family members of each side stand beside the bride and groom. The rice is showered over everyone present on each side of shawl partition.
The word kanyadaan is derived from two words kanya and daan. Kanya means girls and daan means donation. It may sound little off but it is donating your daughter to the groom.
The daughters are closer to fathers. This ritual is about fathers trusting the groom more than himself. The father expects the groom to take care of his daughter. This is one of the most sentimental rituals for both the father and the bride.
Once the ritual is over, the groom’s sister performs a small ceremony where she ties the knot of one loose end of the bride’s saree with the scarf of the groom. The knot contains betel nuts, coins, and rice. It is considered to be the beginning of an eternal bond between the couple. It brings peace, harmony, and prosperity in the lives of newlywed.
The Saptapadi or the seven steps are also called the Saat phere in Hindi. Saptapadi is a Sanskrit word. In this ritual, the bride and groom take seven rounds around the fire or Agni. Each round has a specific significance and is equivalent to vow.
These vows come straight from the ancient Hindu scriptures and are chanted by the priest.
- The first vow is about the responsibilities of the bride and groom for each other. The bride is responsible for food and household whereas the groom vows for financial responsibilities. Together they will contribute to the happiness of the home.
- The second vow is about the mental and spiritual well-being of the home including children.
- The third vow is about the prosperity of the home and increasing the finances to support and provide comfort to the family.
- The fourth vow is about mutual love, admiration, and respect for each other.
- The fifth vow is about lasting friendship and to be there for each other in thick and thin.
- The sixth vow is about filling each other heart with happiness in your married life.
- The seventh vow is about loving and honoring each other till eternity.
Karmasamapti ritual is the end of the Marathi wedding ceremony. The couple shows gratitude to the Agni and prays for happy married life. The bride’s brother twists the ear of the groom playfully to make him realize his responsibilities of newly married life. The bride and groom feed each other sweets. Its significance is to bring closeness and spread love within the couple.
Post Wedding Rituals in a Marathi Wedding
Varat is a Maharashtrian post-wedding ritual involving the bride’s farewell from her house. This ritual is modified now as the bride’s family is expected to take a procession from the bride’s house to the groom’s house. But these days the procession is not carried out. The groom carries the Parvati idol from the gowrihar puja to his house.
The grihapravesh is the entry of the newlywed couple into the groom’s house. The mother of the groom performs aarti at the door of the house. She washes the feet of the bride and groom with milk. The ritual ends with the bride pushing down the kalash ( bowl ) of rice kept at the entrance. The couple enters the house with their right foot first.