Laughter, leg-pulling, camaraderie and the pungent, tangy whiff of turmeric in the air - a Haldi ceremony is all this and more. Either held on the wedding day or coupled with the Mehndi, the Haldi is a dash of heady fun with family, alongside the sometimes emotional chords that a Shaadi often evokes. Here, we pay homage to its yellow shades and talk about the significance of the ceremony, alongside a few ideas to make it count!
The Haldi Ceremony
The Haldi ceremony came into being as a purification (and beautification) ritual to ensure that the bride and groom 'glow' before they step up for the ceremony. The bitter turmeric root is touted for its medicinal prowess everywhere - it adds flavour, acts as an anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral ingredient to Ayurvedic medicines and is even known for its anti-depressant properties. And so, over time, it became a stand-in as a herbal beauty and medicinal ritual during the umpteen preparations for one's big day.
1. For the Auspicious Yellow colour
2. As a remedial measure against the 'Evil Eye'
3. For Beautification: To add a golden/yellow glow to the bride and groom
4. As a Herbal remedy: To prevent or curb breakouts or inflammations on the big day.
5. For its cooling properties, especially required in a summer wedding
There are also those who believe that 'Haldi' can help soothe pre-wedding jitters, helping the chosen two to be calm and in control for their big day.
The Familial Touch
The Haldi ceremony is often marked as an intimate gathering, just ahead of the main wedding ceremony. So, it's where your family - mums, sisters, cousins, close friends and near relatives will shower their love on you (proverbially and sometimes literally), blessing you against 'Buri Nazar' and for a happy married life ahead. These blessings are blended (often with regional and cultural variations), with either milk, rose water, sandalwood, curd and other herbs and then spread liberally over the bride and groom's face, arms and legs.
There is the traditional Punjabi wedding, where the Haldi ceremony is often combined with the Chura ceremony; the Marathi wedding, where Haldi Kumkum has its own role to play; the Gaye Holud (at a Bengali wedding), Nalugu for a Telegu wedding and so on.
Many couples also choose to combine the Mehndi and Haldi ceremonies for their massive photo-op and fun potential.
Haldi Ceremony Ideas - Painting the Town Yellow
Here are a few ways in which you can make your Haldi ceremony one of the most vibrant experiences in your wedding journey:
1. Planning the Haldi Ceremony:
The Haldi is an intimate ritual, where your family and loved ones really pull out the stops in order to ensure that the apple of their eye (the Laadli/Laadla) is covered for their wedding day and their married life ahead. So, keep it so. Here are some things you (or your wedding planner) should keep in mind:
- Keep the guest list in control - The bride/groom and their loved ones should be able to enjoy both the emotional and fun aspects of the day and shouldn't mind getting a little messy.
- Choose your venue in line with your guest size - Outdoors are ideal, though the Haldi is often organised at home
- Choose your decor, props and colour code - Yellow (naturally) works best for day functions, photographs and the mood of the day, but feel free to experiment
- Create a Haldi Playlist - Add as many Bollywood numbers and Indipop tunes as you want. These will set the tone for the function and add to the overall fun vibe of the occasion.
- The Haldi menu - Keep it light, high on beverages
2. The Auspicious Side
The Haldi ceremony is a beautiful mix of traditions and a fun day out. However, people often tend to ignore the traditions, in favour of a peppy round of fun. And while this isn't a bad idea, it may end up leaving the elders feeling left out or neglected. Here's how one can balance this:
- Delegate responsibilities to your elders, in terms of planning the traditional ceremonies - they would know familial customs best.
- Plan the first half of the event for the ceremonies, leaving plenty of time for dance, fun and music later
- Check with your makeup artist on how much Haldi application is okay with their wedding makeup plans.
3. At the Ceremony Venue:
On the day of the Haldi ceremony, things may become a little overwhelming for the bride or groom. This is when they should let go and simply let the day go by. Here are some ways in which one can do that:
- Take up an on-the-spot Holi or petal shower with flowers and colours alongside the bright yellow
- Take a dip - especially if you're hosting a poolside Haldi ceremony
- Have activities on the side - Think of a nail bar, fun games, a dance competition to keep the mood swelled
- Pose - With elan - A Haldi ceremony is often the last time one can let their hair down with their loved ones. Make the most of it for your photos, wedding video and as an time-out, before the formal events.
4. Special notes - For your guests
The guests for a Haldi ceremony deserve that special 'Thank You' for being with you on their special day. Leave these for them as:
- Special favour bags
- Festive jewellery (can be Gota, floral or even satin/thread jewellery)
- Haldi face packs
- Floral Crowns
5. Culinary Notes
While we've already talked about planning an easy menu, this doesn't mean that you provide forgettable fare. Plan the Haldi ceremony menu around visually appealing snacks, beverages and sweet bites that anyone can pick up and munch while they're having fun with the paste. You can add Kulfi and other desi icecreams for the sweltering summers or hot cups of masala tea for a wintery wedding.
Don't forget your skincare essentials. Ensure that the paste is freshly prepared, though to avoid any breakouts or skin irritation at the last minute. All you need is some rosewater, turmeric, sandalwood and curd and you’re all set!
We hope this helps you plan your Haldi ceremony. Do share your thoughts in the comments below. Plus, help us with your own experience, by adding them to our Real Weddings section.