The whole world is talking about Mukesh Ambani’s daughter Isha Ambani’s grand and opulent wedding. Global superstar Beyonce was flown in to perform at a pre-wedding function! While this is an extravagance, the wedding also had traditional Gujarati customs such as offering respects to Shri Krishna. Gujarati weddings are chock full of customs, conventions, and traditions.
Nothing excites Indians more than a wedding. A family awaits the day two beloved members come together to celebrate their union. Middle-class families save up for a daughter’s or a son’s wedding. They bring out their best clothes and prepare the most delectable dishes one can offer. Rich families try to outdo each other by hosting events at international venues or have unique themes. Guests are flown in private jets and given personalized gifts. Between the expensive gifts and designer clothes, the essence remains one of love and warmth. Whether its a wedding of a rich or a poor Indian, they want to celebrate it in the best way possible. Indians mark their wedding day through color, music, dance, and food. From East India to the West, every state has special traditions, cultures, and customs which dictate the show. As a country where we stay with our elders and parents, even young educated Indians pay homage to our roots. They follow rituals and ask for blessings from the elders in the family. Gujarat is a state where it is considered sacred to have a wedding full of holy rituals and events. While certain cultures in the South have quiet and muted celebrations, Gujarati weddings are loud, vibrant and buzzing with music.
Gujarati weddings involve 2-3 days of celebrations. Relatives and guests travel from different parts of the country and even abroad to attend it. The party begins when the marriage is fixed. In the case of an arranged marriage, the father of the bride will visit the groom’s house with some male relatives. They offer a token or gift to the groom. This ceremony marks the official beginning of the other rituals and functions. The next ceremony is called ‘Gor Dhana/Gol Dhana‘. It means ‘coriander seeds and jaggery.’A week or 10 days before the wedding, the families meet. The bride’s family presents the groom’s family with sweets, gifts, and clothes. The bride and groom exchange rings. Nowadays couples like to invite friends and loved ones too to witness this moment. A special dinner is prepared with traditional recipes and given to guests.
The food at any Gujarati wedding is vegetarian and includes traditional items such as undhiyo, dhokla, jalebi, fafda, kheer, dal, thepla, and other popular dishes. Also, no Gujarati wedding can be complete without Garba, their local dance!
The Gujarati wedding functions are quirky, special and warm. Every ritual has a meaning and a story behind it. Gujarat is also known for its beautiful fabrics and textiles so the women are always impeccably dressed. When the wedding day arrives, it starts early in the morning. The groom is driven to the venue or the bride’s house. He can also take a horse keeping with tradition or try something fun like a chariot. A music procession follows and the relatives dance to local music. This is called the ‘Baraat’ or ‘Varghodo.‘ One of the most interesting functions of any Gujarati wedding remains the ‘Madhuparka.’ This ritual doesn’t happen in any other culture and that is what makes it so unique and special. After the bride and groom exchange garlands, the mother-in-law takes the groom to a chair. He is seated and then his feet are cleansed with a mixture of milk, honey, and water. Some families prefer a mixture of milk and water. The groom is then given a drink containing milk, honey, ghee, yogurt, and sugar. He has to drink this before the rest of the wedding can continue. Madhuparka remains a tradition that is revered by Gujarati families and a way to display their affection. The wedding ceremony continues after this and guests can enjoy being a part of this special day.
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