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Wedding ceremonies held in the state of Karnataka are said to be the Kannada wedding, but they still have a strong appeal in the whole country. Much of the similarities are with Hindu weddings, particularly in the recitals of the marriage mantras. There are many differences in the way the procedures of marriage are held in this particular part of the country. Even, differences in costumes are found, which the bride and the groom wear at the various stages of the ceremonies. More than the ceremonies, which the groom and the bride have to go through, the guests in Kannada wedding are the ones who enjoy these moments very much. Besides, it is also an occasion for the entire family to get together and enjoy.
Various Stages of Kannada Wedding
Even though it is sometimes difficult to really appreciate the difference of Kannada wedding from other South Indian weddings, there are proper demarcations, leading up to the end. Most of the weddings usually have a pre-wedding ritual, the wedding proper and the post marriage ceremonies. Major part of these weddings is held in mandapas, which are booked for the purpose of the wedding ceremonies. During marriage seasons, people need to book these mandapas, much before the actual date of marriage. Some of the important steps followed in most of the Kannada wedding are detailed as below.
Prior to the marriage, the engagement ceremony of the bride and groom takes place. It is more like the union of two families, at least in promise of giving and receiving the bride. Betel leaves and nuts are given as offerings to the father of the bride. In return, the parents of the groom give saris, sweets and coconut to the father of the bride. This marks the start or the first step in the Kannada wedding.
Naandi puja is done in the respective houses of the bride and the groom. It is a form of offerings to the Gods, to pray for smooth conduct of the marriage ceremony.
This ritual of Kaashi Yatre is considered a vital ceremony in the groom’s home which is also quite interesting. Some families involve in lots of fanfare in this occasion. The groom starts packing his bags for travelling to Kaashi to take up the life of a celibate. But, his maternal uncle stops him and shows the picture of the future wife.
On the day or before the day, when the groom is to leave for the wedding ceremony, items required for the wedding process are kept in front of Lord Ganesha to seek the blessings. This is done in groom’s house
After the Dev Karya and other pre-wedding ceremonies are over, turmeric paste is applied on the body and face of the bride and groom in their respective houses. This is done to bring glow to the face and body of the marrying couples. In some houses, Sangeet ceremony is held in the house of the female. Also, there is the mehendi ceremony, which has nowadays become quite common in many houses because these are marked by lots of singing and dancing. The bride is decked with designs of mehendi on the hands and feet. Mehendi for the occasion is brought by the groom’s sister and brother-in-law.
Main Kannada Wedding Rituals
Mandap Puja and Yar Puja
This is the start of the wedding ceremony and is the first ritual on the day of wedding. Purification of the mandap is done where the marriage will take place. When the groom arrives into the mandap, accompanied by the bride’s father, his feet are washed by the parents of the bride, symbolic of the groom being a form of Lord. He then wears the pitambar and silk dhoti given by the parents. This is known as the Var Puja and marks the consecration ceremony of the marriage.
After the var puja, the bride is brought into the mandap accompanied by her sister. The face of the bride is covered in this situation with the help of a fan prepared from feathers of peacock. At this point, the bride and groom are not able to see each other as there is a white cloth raised between them. Amidst chanting of mantras, there is the garlanding ceremony.
Bride’s parent do the Dhare Herdu ritual, where they give away their daughter to the groom. In this ritual, the hand of the bride is kept over that of the groom and over their hands, the coconut and few betel leaves are kept, which is then sanctified with few drops of holy water. Then, the groom ties the sacred mangalsutra on the neck of the bride.
Seven rounds around the sacred fire at turned by the bride followed by the groom which is an enjoyable part of the Kannada wedding.
After the actual wedding of tying mangalsutra and garlanding is over in the mandap, there are a few other rituals in Kannada wedding which are required to be followed. These are termed as post-wedding rituals and takes place in the house of the groom.
Found in almost all kinds of marriages, this ritual is also prominent part of Kannada wedding. This is the time when the bride enters her new home for the very first time, receiving a warm welcome by the family members and parents of the groom. At the entry point of the house, a kalash filled with rice is kept, which the bride topples with her right foot.
Name Change Ceremony
After the bride becomes the wife of the groom, he selects a name to be provided to the bride which he then inscribes in a plate full of rice using a ring.
After these rituals, the husband and wife are taken to her parental home by her parents, gifted a few saris and then the groom’s parents, fetch them back after a couple of days. The gifted saris are used for different other rituals and ceremonies in the groom’s house. A number of such rituals have given a distinctive look to the Kannada wedding, which is a treat for the guests as well. Dinner reception is looked forward to by the guests and the boy’s family arranges it in a grand manner, so that everybody is satisfied with the hospitality of the hosts, as the wedding ceremony was an important event.