Weddings are a grand affair in India. So are the marriages that conducted in the Telugu belt of South India. Steeped in age-old and very meaningful traditions, Telugu marriages were conducted over a period of 6 days in earlier times. Rituals in a Telugu wedding are akin to Tamil and other Hindu marriages in quite a few aspects.
I have gone to many Telugu weddings of my friends. The Muhurat is at night because they follow the Lunar calendar; unlike Tamilians, who follow the Solar calendar. Here are some highlights of the Telugu Wedding
Pre-wedding Rituals in a Telugu wedding
Nichiyatartam is the engagement ceremony. The elders decide on the time, date and place of marriage.
Pendlikuthuru Cheiyadam and Mangal Snanam
The next Ritual is PendliKuthuru ritual. Turmeric mixed in oil is applied to the would-be bride by all the women in the family. Most ladies of the Bride families are invited for the function. This is something like the Haldi function of the north. A holy bath, Mangala Snanam, is also given. A similar function is held at the groom’s house
The groom is made to wear the Holy silver thread after taking the holy bath. After wearing this silver thread, the groom is qualified to chant the Vedic mantras during his marriage before the holy fire.
Photo by Sistak
Some Rituals in a Telugu wedding resemble the ones in Tamil weddings. Kasi Yatra is one of them. Here, the Groom takes a Bhagawath Gita, an umbrella and pretends he is off to Kashi for a sanyasi life. The Bride’s father promises his daughter’s hand if the groom stops his march to Kasi, which is of course duly accepted.
On the Wedding day
This is one of the important Rituals in a Telugu wedding, wherein the bride prays to Goddess Gauri for a happy married life. This pooja is performed at the Bride’s house before she sets forth to the marriage hall on the day of the wedding.
While the Bride is doing the Gauri Pooja, the groom prays to Lord Ganesh to ward off evil spirits and to remove any hurdles on his path to a happy married life.
The bride and the groom are made to sit in front of each other with a curtain separating them. They are given a paste made of Jeera and jaggery and they have to place it on each other’s head. This tradition, unique to a Telugu wedding, signifies an unbroken bond between the bride and the groom.
Photo by Shashank Mhasawade
Kanyadanam, Panigrahanam and Madhubarkam
Next is the Kanyadanam. The Groom is considered Lord Vishnu at this stage. The Girl’s father washes his feet and gives his daughter, Laxmi (Consort of Lord Vishnu) as Kanyadan. The groom accepts the girls’ hand and this ritual is called Panigrahanam.
The bride gets ready for Magalsutram ceremony by changing to a traditional white saree with red border. The groom likewise wears a red and white attire. White symbolizes purity and red is the symbol of strength.
About ten married ladies occupy the bride to the podium holding rice and lamps.
At this stage, the curtain is removed and the groom can see his bride now. In olden days this was the first time the groom and bride saw each other. Of course, they were very young, probably of school going age, at time of marriage. The Groom ties the Mangalsutram around the neck of the bride with three knots. These knots symbolize the Physical, mental and spiritual union of two persons – the bride and the groom.
The bride and the groom shower rice mixed with turmeric on each other. This is also an important Telugu wedding ritual.
Finally, the Groom takes the bride seven times around the holy fire while chanting Vedic mantras to the seal the bond of Marriage.
The groom slips the toe ring in the second toe of the bride and the bride also gets to wear the black beads at this stage.
The Groom also shows the bride the Arundathi star in the sky. This is a pair of two stars which are a symbol of a perfect couple.
The marriage is completed at this stage. The post-marriage rituals like Grahapravesh and Satyanarayana Pooja are performed, praying for the well-being of her husband and ensuring a good life.
Our country is an amalgamation of so many cultures. Some Rituals in a Telugu wedding are common like Mangalsutram tradition, Sapthapadi, Arundathi and some unique. Some rituals may differ but the underlying significance is same in all marriages. On the whole, every marriage in India is a family affair and the whole family, right down to the kids, enjoys it thoroughly. Do you agree?
Featured Photo by kkalyan