Paint them ‘Yellow’!- An Indian pre-wedding tradition to smear the bride’s body with turmeric paste. The guests paint each other out of fun.

Paint them ‘Yellow’!- An Indian pre-wedding tradition to smear the bride’s body with turmeric paste. The guests paint each other out of fun.

 India is known for its colourful traditions, culture & spirituality. Wedding seasons in India are best time to know the flavours of India on all fronts. The costumes, the food, the traditions and the emotions that ooze out from such social event is nothing less than a cultural tour.

Dance, music & grooming night.

Dance, music & grooming night.

Recently I witnessed the wedding of my cousin Sneha. A Visual Merchandiser by profession, Sneha’s marriage too was nothing less than a visual treat! Both Sneha and her husband Ritesh being Maharashtrians (natives of Maharashtra state of which Mumbai is its capital city), the marriage followed a Marathi trend.

The bride arrives in a palanquin!

The bride arrives in a palanquin!

The first event I attended was the ‘Haldi’ ceremony. It is a pre-wedding function, where turmeric paste is applied to the bride’s body parts (face, hands, foot). This traditional custom has multiple symbolism associated with it. The yellow colour of the turmeric is considered to be auspicious and by smearing it on the bride’s body, abundant prosperity & marital bliss is wished for the bride and groom in a fun-filled manner. Other rationale behind ‘haldi’ ceremony is purely cosmetic. Turmeric being a good exfoliating agent which improves blood circulation and also makes the skin glow, it’s application is believed to help the bride and the groom to be in the best of their physical appearance on their ‘special day’. Every ‘Haldi’ event ripens into a fun sport where turmeric paste is smeared on faces of visiting guests, especially single friends and siblings of bride/groom, wishing them good companions in times to come!

The bride with her bride maids draped in traditional Maharashtrian sarees.

The bride with her bride maids draped in traditional Maharashtrian sarees.

Dance, music and good food is always part of every Indian wedding. After a long time, it was nice to see guest dancing on the tunes of raw folk music at an urban location like Mumbai! Such dance and music sets the wedding mood for all who look forward to socialize and enjoy the event. Few married women refresh their set of green bangles’ by inviting a bangle vendor to reload their wrists by a brand new set of bottle green colour bangles (symbolic of prosperous married life).

The bride about to put a garland around the bridegroom’s neck thus formally accepting his proposal of marriage to her

The bride about to put a garland around the bridegroom’s neck thus formally accepting his proposal of marriage to her

Sneha’s wedding day morn was full of hustle bustle. The muhurat (auspicious time when blessings are showered with holy Hindu chants echoing in the background) was on 20th Dec’15 at 12.09 noon. Wearing a yellow saree the bride arrived at the ceremony in a palanquin, followed by her bridesmaids, who were decked up in traditional Maharashtrian ‘Nav-vari’ saree (9 yard saree). As the chants concluded, guests blessed the couple by showering raw rice granules on the head of the bride and the groom, which is symbolic of wishing prosperity & resourceful start to their companionship life. Here is an audio link of the marriage chants in Sanskrit language which is heard at every traditional Marathi marriage ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkgsC90zlKQ

Blessing time! Bride’s parents blessing the couple, while the groom’s family watches with pride.

Blessing time! Bride’s parents blessing the couple, while the groom’s family watches with pride.

Once the bride and the groom placed floral garlands around each other’s neck, the marriage was formally accomplished. The guests then wished the couple and offered gifts. Meanwhile it was a great experience for me to catch up with my extended families and friends. We posed for photographs, took selfies, got nostalgic and shared quality time. With Mumbai’s life getting busier and swift, it becomes difficult to even catch up with all on virtual mediums like Whats App and Facebook, but at the wedding it was obvious that everyone was enjoying by connecting with each other in real time and space, for a change!

Me all ready to vibe at the wedding

Me all ready to vibe at the wedding

Every family has their own customized rituals and style of conducting a marriage ceremony. Today’s generation of youngsters are very rational & sceptical in pursuing age old traditions of one’s culture. Most of the educated youngsters these days are preferring to anyways go with the traditions, just for fun, to begin with. This I guess, is a world-wide trend. I highly recommend you to see this video link of how, like Sneha, a Marathi couple from San Francisco, U.S.A choose to enjoy their wedding as per Maharashtrian Indian tradition https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMUehRvVC5Q

My parents, brother & cousins from extended family.

My parents, brother & cousins from extended family.

I believe, so long as the bride and the bridegroom are happy marrying each other, and so are their families happy to bond & expand their kith and kin, rest all is secondary. Today, the new & empowered generation is smart enough to know that instead of debating on the validity of the age old traditions, what is more important is starting on a positive foot and further maintaining the bond of love & companionship throughout the thick and thin of life!

Catching up with buddies (clock-wise)- Rakesh, Swapnil, Vikrant & Chinmay

Catching up with buddies (clock-wise)- Rakesh, Swapnil, Vikrant & Chinmay

Best wishes to Sneha & Ritesh for a happy married life!

 

Feminine touch- vibing with the girls, Radhika & Tanvi (right)

Feminine touch- vibing with the girls, Radhika & Tanvi (right)

Photos Credits: Swapnil Amberkar & Shraddha Sankulkar. Special thanks to Siddhesh Sankulkar for technical support.

 

Rukhvat- Artistic section of every traditional Marathi wedding where creative gifts are displayed for guest to view.

Rukhvat- Artistic section of every traditional Marathi wedding where creative gifts are displayed for guest to view.

A brother & a maternal uncle bidding good bye to the tear soaked bride as she leaves the wedding premise

A brother & a maternal uncle bidding good bye to the tear soaked bride as she leaves the wedding premise

Selfie time- A beautiful moment at the Haldi (turmeric) ceremony with a little wedding guest, Ishanvi

Selfie time- A beautiful moment at the Haldi (turmeric) ceremony with a little wedding guest, Ishanvi

 

About Shraddha. C. Sankulkar

Writing has always been a passion for Shraddha. She writes poems, lyrics, fiction, non-fiction & documentary film scripts. A consulting Psychologist and lecturer of Psychology by profession, Shraddha sees herself blooming into a creative writer and wishes to present her work world-wide. She manages her own website: www.mindmatterz.net - and writes content for it herself. The website is based on the principles of Positive Psychology and aims to promote the importance of mental health & well-being. Besides possessing a post-graduate degree in Psychology, she has earned yet another post-graduate degree in History from University of Mumbai. Travelling and photography are two hobbies that she is fond of. Having visited the U.S and U.K so far, she dreams to travel to different international destinations and thereby experience the culture and history of places that she visits. She is born and brought up in Mumbai, India, where she is currently residing. Email Shraddha