Among all the regional community marriages in India, a Maharashtrian wedding is perhaps the simplest and a vibrant ceremony. The marriage process begins by matching the horoscopes of the girl and the boy called Lagnaachi Bedi. Further, the family pundits match their compatibility according to their stars through a process called Guna Milan and if 18 or more gunas match, the rest of the wedding procedures are planned for the prospective bride and the groom.
In a Marathi wedding, an auspicious day is chosen for the wedding as well as to fulfill the pre-wedding customs according to the Panchang. Weddings are usually celebrated during the daytime.
Several vibrant pre-wedding rituals take place in a Marathi marriage. Here are some of the important pre-wedding rituals of a traditional Maharashtrian wedding:
The Sakhar Puda ritual
The official engagement ceremony is called Sakhar Puda which is held before the wedding ceremony. The ritual is signified by Sakhar (Sugar) or sweets which are exchanged during the ceremony. The rituals are quite simple in a Sakhar Puda. The bride – to – be is given a sari as a token of love and acceptance from the family of the groom – to – be after which they exchange rings. Along with the saree a set of green glass bangles and a sugar packet is gifted to the bride – to – be. This ceremony is considered as the official announcement of the wedding and the invitation cards for the wedding are printed after it.
The Kelvan ritual
A couple of days before the wedding, a feast called Kelvan is organized at both the bride and the groom’s home here the entire family is invited. During this ritual, the extended families are introduced during this ceremony. The ceremony ends with puja of the Kuldevta or the family deity.
The Halad Chadavane
This ritual is conducted in most of the regional weddings in India but with different customs. In a Marathi wedding, Halad is considered as an important pre-wedding ritual. The bride and the groom have their own celebrations at their respective homes. Women from each family gather around the bride and the groom to apply a mixture of turmeric, sandalwood, and aromatic oils to the face and body of the bride and the groom to make their skin glow. The turmeric paste from the bride and the groom is then exchanged. The ceremony is completed by giving a bath to both the bride and the groom with sacred water. This ritual is held the a day or two before the wedding and both the bride and groom are barred to step out of the house until the wedding ceremony.
The Chuda Ritual
Chuda is a set of green glass bangles that are given to the bride to be worn along with gold or pearl bangles as per the status of the family. Green glass bangles are considered auspicious because green is the color of new life, creativity, and rejuvenation. The bride can remove the Chuda only after one month of her wedding. Along with the bride, her friends, cousins and other female members of the house also wear the bangles of their choice. This ceremony is carried out amidst a fun-filled environment, where women sing wedding songs and enjoy the custom.
The wedding ceremony in a Marathi marriage starts after Muhurta Patra is set up. Muhurta Patra is set to count the time until the auspicious marriage ceremony. The Marathi wedding ceremony is a very pretty and heartwarming affair which initiates a spiritual bond between the bride and the groom.