The sounds of Dhol, Nagada, Turi, Taturi and Murli are the first that you would hear when you attend a Gujarati wedding. The sights are equally beautiful. Wedding guests who are decked to the nines in colourful Bandhej, whirl along to the Garba music.
In this piece, we explore this vibrant set of wedding traditions and see how they make each moment of three-day spread stand out. And leave us your notes in the comments below.
The Gujarati Wedding Ceremonies:
Confused about everything that happens at a Gujarati wedding? We break the details by pre-wedding rituals and wedding day rituals.
1. Chandlo Matli
Once a marriage is fixed, four male relatives accompany the bride’s father to the groom’s home and shower him with blessings and a token gift. The main element of this ritual is the red circle of vermillion, known as Chandlo, drawn by the bride’s father on the groom’s forehead.
2. Gol Dhana
This is the Gujarati wedding equivalent of an engagement ceremony. Here, a ‘Gol Dhana’ formed from coriander seeds and jaggery marks that the couple has been hitched. This time, it’s the groom’s family which visits the bride’s family, bearing sweet and savoury gifts packed in Matli. Rings are then exchanged by the bride and the groom and the couple-to-be receive blessings from five married women. Of course, a delectable Gujarati feast adds a mouthwatering footnote to the ritual.
3. Mandap Mahurat
After the ‘Gol Dhana’, it’s time to start with the ceremonies and preparations for the main wedding day. And this happens with the 'Mandap Mahurat'. A priest or pandit is invited to perform a Puja at both the homes, seeking blessings from Lord Ganesha. He prays that the God protect the couple and their families from harm and ward off any possible obstacles that may hinder the couple’s path ahead.
4. Griha Shanti
Next, we pray for peace. The priest performs a Griha Shanti Puja, seeking God’s blessings over the couple, their homes and all wedding-related tasks ahead. They pray for an extended envelope of peace and happiness over in the households.
The enthusiastic Mehndi function blends well with a colourful Gujarati wedding. Held two days prior to the wedding, the Mehndi ceremony sees the womenfolk and the bride don henna designs and spend some quality time together, with music, playful moments and stories.
6. Sanjhi or Sangeet Sandhya
Held the night before the Gujarati wedding day, this is a fun-filled evening of music and masti. A Sangeet Sandhya or Sanjhi is powered by energetic performances with Raas, Dandiya and Garba on traditional celebratory tunes. Nowadays, families also prepare wedding dance performances on Bollywood songs and folk music to make it a stellar night indeed!
This ceremony is the Gujarati equivalent of the Haldi ceremony. Warm hues of sunny yellow fill the room with joy and the aroma of sandalwood and rosewater from the Haldi paste fills the air. With palms upturned, the bride and groom sit on a Bajat in their respective homes and all the relatives take turns to apply this Haldi paste on their hands and feet.
8. Mosalu and Mameru
A day before the wedding, the groom’s maternal uncles, Mama and Mosa, visit the bride’s house carrying presents for her, ahead of her wedding day. Traditionally, these gifts include her bridal outfit - a Paanetar saree, bridal jewellery sets and bridal chura, along with sweets and dry fruits.
Wrapping up all the pre-wedding rituals, a Jaan is performed to ward of any evil.
Gujarati wedding day rituals
Varghodo is the Gujarati wedding version of a Baraat. The groom arrives at the bride’s house on a horse and is followed by a dancing procession lead by his family members and friends. Of course, the family members are also accompanied by a group of band members playing instrumental music.
The bride’s side grandly welcomes the groom’s Baraat with the ritual of Ponkvu. The bride’s mother welcomes the groom with Aarti and Tilak after which she playfully pulls his knows while he tries to evade.
The bride and groom exchange floral garlands as the formally meet each other for the first time on their wedding day. During the Jaimala they exchange the garland twice while playing a whimsical game where their relatives lift them higher so that they don't get snared first.😉
The bride’s mother leads the groom to the Mandap where she washes his feet with milk and water. She then offers him Panchamurt, a drink made from the goodness of ghee, honey, sugar, milk and yogurt. And while the groom is busy in the ritual, the bridesmaids take advantage of this opportunity and go for Juta Churai.
After the groom, bride’s maternal uncle walks her down the aisle heading towards the Mandap. Antarpaat is then placed between the bride and the groom like a curtain to prevent them from seeing each other.
6. Kanya Daan
The father of the bride washes the groom’s feet with milk and water, after which he gives his daughter’s hand to him and blesses the couple with a lifetime of happiness together.
7. Hasta Milap
The priest then unites the two by knotting the groom’s shawl with one end of the bride’s saree while chanting verses from sacred scriptures.
8. Mangal Pheras
The bride and the groom circle around the sacred fire four times, each with its own special meaning and commitment – Dharma, Artham, Kama, Moksha. The priest chants sacred verses and also asks the couple to repeat after him.
9. Saptapadi and Sindoor
The bride and the groom recite their sacred vows while touching a straight line of seven betel nuts with their toes. After that, the groom applies Sindoor on her bride’s hair parting and ties a Mangalsutra around her neck.
The wedding ceremony comes to an end with the newlywed touching their elder's feet seeking their blessings.
Post-marriage rituals for a Gujarati wedding
1. Ghar Nu Laxmi
The bride finally reached the groom’s house where she is warmly welcomed by her mother-in-law with an Aarti and Tilak. The bride then enters her new home after knocking down a pot full of rice.
2. Aeki Beki
A fun game welcomes the bride to her new home to make her feel welcome and comfortable in a new household. Aeki Beki is a game in which several silver coins and a ring is placed in a bowl full of water and milk. The bride and the groom are asked to search for the ring and it is believed that whoever finds the ring first, rules the marriage!
Like all the cultures in this diverse country, a Gujarati wedding is also a vibrant affair full of love, and enthusiasm. It has a rich mix of traditions with a dash of whimsy. Adding the cherry on top are the fun traditional and folk Gujarati wedding songs and dance forms.
Are you attending a Gujarati wedding soon? Which ritual are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments below!