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The first step in the Maharashtrian wedding is the kundali matching of the girl and the boy. Only when this is cleared, the marriage proposal is taken forward. The date of the wedding is decided based on the convenience of both bride’s and groom’s family and their close relatives. Once the date is fixed, the entire families begin preparing for the auspicious event and start the rituals.
One of the first things the family of the groom does is to send a box of sweets and dress meant for the bride to her home. This is called Sakhar Puda and is an indication that the bridegroom and his family have accepted the girl into their family. In a way, this is also similar to the engagement ceremony of the groom and the bride.
The parents of the bride and groom conduct extensive prayers at their respective homes in honor of the family deities to seek the blessings for a happy and prosperous married life for their offspring. These are done individually at their homes and in both cases, parents take care of the arrangements.
The smearing of turmeric is another important ritual in most Maharashtrian Weddings and is done on the day prior to the marriage. The leaves of the mango tree considered to be a very auspicious sign and are immersed in turmeric paste and then this is smeared over the bride in her home and the groom at his place. This is done to ward off any evil eye and as a sign of prosperity.
Rituals Performed in Maharashtrian Wedding
Arrival and Welcome of the Bridegroom – Seeman Pooja
After the respective rituals at home, the bride and groom reach the marriage hall. The bride and her family reach earlier and wait for the groom’s party to arrive. The minute they arrive, they are received with a lot of happiness and celebration and the bride’s mother wash the feet of their soon to be son-in-law, light lamps and chant prayers for his good health and longevity and receive him into the hall where the bride with others are waiting.
Sankalp and Kanyadan
Once the bridegroom comes inside, as per the customs and traditions, the couple is not supposed to see each other until the right moment. Therefore, they are separated by a silk cloth and they cannot see each other. This was the practice in the olden days, however in recent times, this is changing, but still they do not see each other in the marriage dress until the partition is removed. Before the cloth that bars them seeing each other is removed, there are a lot of prayers done and the elders and other relatives bless the couple by throwing rice grains on them. The couple now is on the verge of getting married.
The bride and groom keep their right hands on each other and the priest solemnizing the wedding pours holy water over it and again says prayers. After this, the bridegroom performs the most important ceremony of tying the mangal sutra around the neck of the bride and applying kumkum on the partition of her hair, thereby making her his wife. The bride thanks her husband by returning a sandal paste on his forehead.
Post Marriage Ceremonies
After the marriage has been conducted, the couple is considered to be Lord Vishnu and his consort Mahalaxmi and the bride’s parent perform the Lakshmi Narayana Pooja for them. After this, the couple takes seven pheras around the fire and this is an integral part of most weddings as this is considered to be the time when the couple actually commits to each other and promise to live together through good and bad times, stand for and with each other until death parts them. It is a very emotional moment and most elderly couples feel nostalgic and are teary eyed as they wish the newlyweds a long and prosperous life.
The bride’s father, brother and other men, gang up together and after offering prayers, get ready to send their girl with the groom and they request him to take good care of the bride who has been a darling of their family until then. The bride gets ready to leave behind her home for many years and bids good bye to her parents and family as she leaves with her man.
The bridegroom’s mother gets the home ready for the arrival of her Bahu and she welcomes her son and daughter-in-law when they come in to start a new life. The mother washes the feet of the newlyweds and requests the bride to put her right foot forward and come into her new home.