A north Indian wedding may resonate in your ears for days but a South Indian wedding stays in your heart forever. Traditions may vary with miles but the essence of love and harmony stays the same. So, let’s walk through the colourfully divine traditions and rituals of an Andhra Reddy wedding.
Pre Wedding Rituals at a Reddy Wedding
Here is a list of all the pre-wedding rituals involved in a Reddy wedding:
An Andhra Reddy wedding ceremony begins with the exchange of a traditional contract, the Patrika. This exchange occurs between the father of the bride and the groom in presence of a priest. This contract signifies that both the families are willing for the alliance, happily and heartily.
After the Patrika, both the families meet to finalise an auspicious date for the wedding. The wedding date is finalised by a wedding pandit, who matches the horoscopes of the bride and groom. The ceremonial save the date ends by lighting a beautiful brass lamp, known as ‘Nila Villaku’ and the couple exchanging rings. After the mahurat or the date is finalised, the bride is blessed by her future mother-in-law with gifts like bridal jewellery, clothes and silverware.
3. Pendlikoothuru/Paindlipilla or Haldipaspu
Similar to the Haldi ceremony in a North Indian wedding, the Haldipaspu is a tradition undertaken for both the bride and groom during an Andhra Reddy wedding. The Haldi paste (called Naluga) is expected to add to the bridal glow and brighten their happy faces, dabbed by the eager hands of friends and family. After the ritual, all married women are given sweets, flowers, bangles and betel leaves as they bless the bride and groom.
A ritual specific to the groom, the Snathakam is held usually a few hours ahead of the Reddy wedding, sometimes even before the Muhratam. In this ceremony, a silver thread is tied across the groom’s body, signifying their resolve to be wed.
5. Kashi Yatra
This is a funny tradition or engagement between groom and bride’s brother/mother. In the ceremony, the groom pretends to renounce the worldly pleasures of life and walks out of the house to become a priest. He is held back or stopped by the bride’s brothers or mother, who then reminds him of his worldly responsibilities and offer him the bride’s hand for a wedding.
6. Mangala Snanam & Aarthi
On the morning of the wedding day, a special bath ceremony takes place for the bride and the groom. After the bath aromatic oils are rubbed on both bride and the groom, after which they move for Aarthi, which is a special prayer done for the well-being and wisdom of the couple.
7. Gauri & Ganesh Pooja
After the Aarthi, the bride seeks blessings from Goddess Gauri, who is considered a symbol of fertility. The groom, on the other hand, enters the wedding venue and offers prayers to Lord Ganesha to seek his blessings for a happy and prosperous married life.
Andhra Reddy Wedding Day Rituals
Here are the rituals which are followed on the wedding day:
The Andhra Reddy wedding day rituals begin with the Kanyadaan ceremony where the bride is carried to the mandap by her maternal uncle in a bamboo basket. Well, isn’t that just the right way to carry a princess on her big day! Then the priests seek blessings from the last seven generations worth of ancestors of both families.
With curtains between the bride and the groom, the priest starts chanting the wedding Shlokas. Smearing a paste of jaggery and cumin on the couples’ hand to signify an unbreakable bond the wedding ceremony is commenced at the most auspicious hour.
This ritual calls for an outfit change. The bride adorns a stunning white saree with a traditional red border, and the dapper groom makes an appearance in a white Dhoti with a red border complementing his bride’s attire. The pairing of these colours represents strength and purity.
10 married ladies accompany the bride on her walk back to the Mandap. Six of them carrying Thalis of rice and turmeric powder, while the other four carry Thalis with small lamps lit in them. Each one of these elements has a special meaning associated with them. The lit lamps are made from sugar, rice flour and milk signifying light and sweetness in the marriage and the rice symbolizes abundance.
Now, finally, the curtain between the bride and the groom falls while reciting prayers. This is when the groom ties two strings of Mangalsutra around the bride’s neck. physical, spiritual and mental unions are signified by tying three knots.
6. Kanyadaan Akshata
After tying the Mangalsutra, the bride and the groom exchange floral garlands or jaimalas. This moment is celebrated by their friends and relatives with a shower of turmeric mixed in rice. This mixture is called as Akshata and signifies blessing and good wishes.
Like in any other Hindu wedding, Saptapadi ceremony plays an important role in an Andhra Reddy wedding as well. Here, the couple solemnise their wedding through Pheras around a holy fire. Each one of these Pheras holds a promise that the bride and the groom make to each other.
The wedding ceremonies come to an end with the custom of Sthaalipaakam. The groom helps the bride don a toe ring, signifying that he bows down to her as his partner. He also gifts her a string of black beads to adorn to ward off any evil forces.
The rich traditions of our beautiful nation are blessed with a soulful essence of love, harmony and unity, and an Andhra Reddy wedding is no exception. With a bit of whimsy and a lot of wishes and Andhra Reddy wedding is celebrated with enthusiasm and zeal.
Which one of these wedding traditions touch a chord with you? Let us know in the comments below!