Every region of Karnataka has its own custom of wedding but the basic rituals of Kannada wedding is same all over. Usually all Indian weddings are characterised by pomp and show but Kannada weddings are known for their simplicity and adherence to old tradition. A Kannada wedding lasts a couple of days and consists of various ceremonies which have deep and has intricate meanings. Let us take a peek into how a Kannada wedding takes place.
The engagement ceremony in a Kannada wedding is called ‘Nischay Tamulam’. This is the ceremony when both the bride and the groom’s horoscope are matched and the wedding is fixed. The groom’s father gifts the bride new clothes, coconut and sweets and the same is gifted by the bride’s father to the groom. A priest then fixes an auspicious day for the wedding. ‘Naandi’ is a ceremony which is observed next in the household of both the bride and the groom. It is a puja performed by the family priest to ensure that the wedding is without any obstacles. A traditional kalash with a coconut is placed which symbolizes the beginning of the wedding ceremony. The first invitation card is given to the family deity so that the would-be couple is blessed. ‘Kaashi Yatre’ is a fun filled tradition observed in Kannada weddings. The groom pretends to be angry with everyone for not finding a suitable bride for him. He threatens his family to go for a pilgrimage to Kaashi and packs up rice, coconut, umbrella, walking stick and dhoti. At this point the groom’s maternal uncle stops him and places the chosen girl in front of him. The groom changes his mind and agrees to stay and get married to the girl.
‘Dev Karya’ is a ritual observed by the groom on the day of the wedding. He visits all temples in the neighbourhood and seeks blessings from the deities. All articles that will be used in the wedding ceremony are placed in front of Lord Ganesha and his blessings are sought and the articles are sanctified.
The main wedding ceremony starts with the welcoming of the groom and his party at the venue. Five Sumangalis or married women perform aarti of the groom and then he is ushered inside the marriage hall. A puja is performed by the presiding priest where all the rituals of the wedding will take place. It is called ‘Mandap Puja’. This is done to sanctify the wedding mandap. The next ritual is the ’Var Puja’. The groom is considered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and he is worshipped by the bride’s family. The bride’s father washes his feet, performs puja and presents him with silk dhoti and scarf known as pitambar which the groom wears during the entire wedding ceremony.
The bride is now brought to the mandap, her face covered with peacock feather fans held by her sisters. There is a cloth curtain between the bride and the groom to prevent them from seeing each other. The curtain is gradually removed as the priest chants the mantras and the bride and groom have the first glimpse of each other. After that the floral garland is exchanged three times which is called ‘Jaimala’. ‘Dhareherdu’ is the kanyadaan ceremony. The bride’s right hand is placed on the groom’s right hand and coconut and betel leaf is placed on top of that. The bride’s parents now bless the union by pouring holy water on top of the joined hands. The couple now goes around the sacred fire seven times with the nuptial knot tied. This ritual is called ‘Saptapadi’ and the bride follows the groom. Together they utter the sacred marriage vows.
The bride and the groom now sit down and the groom ties the mangalsutra around the bride’s neck assisted by five married women. With this ritual the wedding concludes and the couple seeks the blessings of the elders of both the families.
There are quite a few post wedding ceremonies in Kannada weddings. ‘Okhli’ is a post wedding game played to break the ice between the two families. The groom’s ring is dropped in a vessel containing milk and coloured water and the bride and her brother has to find the ring. Three rounds of the game is played and if the bride is successful in finding the ring then it is considered that she will be able to manage all challenges of her marital life.
The bride’s final and tearful goodbye from her parental home is called ‘Vidaai’. All things required for starting a new home like cot, utensils, cooking pots, umbrella, etc. are given to the bride and her brother accompanies her to her in-law’s house. He stays there for the night and returns the next morning. The welcoming ceremony of the bride at the groom’s house is known as ‘Griha Pravesh’. Her mother-in-law welcomes her with an aarti and the bride enters the house by turning over a vessel full of rice with her right feet symbolizing overflowing prosperity with her arrival.
There is a ritual of cloth presentation by the groom to the bride. She is presented with five sarees which she is to wear for various post wedding ceremonies. The ritual of name change ceremony is also a speciality of Kannada weddings. The groom chooses a new name for the bride and writes it with his ring on a plate of rice which is presented to the bride. The bride accepts the plate symbolizing her acceptance of the new name. On the second day of the marriage the bride’s parents visit the groom’s house to take the newlywed couple to stay at least one night at their house after which they return back to the groom’s house.
In order to introduce the bride to the family, relatives and friends, the reception ceremony is arranged by the groom’s family. The bride is blessed by the elders and gifts are presented to her. With this the joyful and traditional Kannada wedding ends and the couple starts their blissful marital life.
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