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Gujarati Weddings - Fun filled moments, Vibrancy and Colourfulness.

Gujarati Weddings are known for their zest, fun filled moments, vibrancy and colourfulness.

Gujarati weddings are less pompous affairs, but stands apart for their fun, warmth and simplicity. Their wedding ceremony bears a mark of being distinct in its various customs and rituals from the usual Hindu way. The actual Gujarati wedding ceremony is one of the shortest, but a treat to watch with its pristine tradition embedded rituals. Let's unravel the beauty of this affair. 

Pre-Wedding Ceremonies: 

Sagai - It is with the Sagai or engagement ceremony all set to begin. It is a pure family affair as in any regional Indian tradition and the bride and groom exchanges rings on this day. After this, the couple seeks blessings from married women on each side. Unlike other traditions in which the bride is supposed to enter groom's house before marriage, on Sagai day, the bride visits the groom's house with an earthen pot (matli) or with hand full of gifts and sweets. 

Mandap Mahurat - This is an important Gujarati ritual which will be held few days before the D day. There will be special pujas for Lord Ganesha at both homes to remove all obstacles before the wedding. 

Griha Shanti - This is another puja held at both homes to please the heavenly bodies and stars to ensure a smooth and peaceful event. 

Pithi – On the day before the D day, both the bride and groom at their respective homes will be treated by their family and friends with pithi', a paste of sandalwood, turmeric and saffron, over their faces, hands and legs. This is supposed to purify the skin and give you a glow on your D- day.

 Mehendi – Like several other regions, Mehendi raat is a big ceremony in Gujarati weddings too. The bride richly adorned, celebrates mehendi raat with her female friends and relatives, with songs, dance and other fun filled activates. 

Garba / Dandiya – The Garba is an exclusive fun filled wedding tradition of Gujaaratis. On the wedding eve, women dress in splashing colours and dance energetically to the tunes of folk songs with dandiya (special sticks). It is a fun filled event for the whole family and guests as the rhythm of music and dandiya fills the entire house.

 Jaan - This custom which is also known as Ponkvu is sweet and funny. On the wedding day, before the ceremonies, the groom comes to the bride's house on a horse in a procession, accompanied by musicians, bands and dancers. This is also popularly known as Baraat. He gets off and walks to the bride's house holding his nose. Holding nose symbolizes his gratitude and humility towards the family. The bride's mother welcomes him with ‘arti' and blesses to keep evil eyes away. She even tries to grab his nose playfully. 

The Wedding 

The wedding day starts with the Mangal Vadya (the playing of Shehnai -a traditional wind instrument) and Dhol (Indian drum). 

Madhuparka – The groom and his family is welcomed with tilak and led to the stage. Next occurs Madhuparka where the groom is given a glass of milk with honey. His feet will be washed by this mother in law as a welcome sign to the mandap. This is also a fun filled moment as bride's relatives steal the groom's shoes and returns it only if he shells out some moolah. 

Antarpaat - The bride will be led to the mandap by her maternal uncle as the pandit calls out ‘Agman Kanya’. The curtain separating the bride and groom (Antarpat) will be lowered and the couple exchange garlands in front of the sacred fire. 

Jaimala – According to Gujarati tradition, the bride and groom exchange garlands twice among chanting of mantras. The garland exchange ceremony is called Jaimala. The groom's relatives and friends' try to lift him up as high as they can for fun so that the bride cannot reach him to put the garland. Symbolically this means that the bride cannot steal her man away from his family and friends. 

Kanya Daan - This is an important as well as a sentimental custom in all Hindu weddings.

According to Gujarati traditions, the bride's father washes the groom's feet and there after gives him his daughter's hand. According to them, this ritual symbolized the handing over of Goddess Laxmi to Lord Vishnu. 

Hasta Milap - The bride's pallu will be tied to groom's scarf or dupata symbolizing the union of two souls. The couple then will be showered with rose petals and rice grains by relatives as blessings. 

Varmala - Thereafter, a cord will be tied around the couple's necks by the familial with a belief that it wards off the evil. 

Satpadi or Pheras – The couple holding their hands take seven steps (pheras) or rounds around the sacred fire symbolizing the seven vows they make for each other. On completion of this ritual they are officially declared as wed. 

Saubhagyavati Bhav- According to this tradition, seven married women from the bride's side whisper their blessings in her ears. 

Chero Pakaryo - This is another funny ritual in which the groom catches a hold of his mother in law's saree asking for more gifts. She will present the groom with gifts and cash. 

Post Wedding Traditions 

Vidaai - This is another emotional ritual which is known in different names in different regions.

The bride will bid farewell to her family and friends, and after the reception she moves into her new house. 

Ghaar nu Laxmi - This is the welcoming ceremony for the bride-groom at the groom's house. The bride symbolizes Goddess Laxmi who is supposed to bring good fortune to the house. The groom's mother keeps a vessel filled with rice at the doorstep. The bride will have to spill it with her right foot. This symbolizes the pouring of wealth and the bride's understanding of her responsibilities at her new house. 

Aeki Beki - Yet another fun filled ritual for the newly-wed, in Aeki Beki, a ring and some coins are thrown into a vessel filled with water, sindoor and milk. The bride and groom then have to find these and whoever finds the ring first, four out of seven times is said to rule the household.