Though the procedure of Indian matrimonials varies from state to state, marriages in Maharashtra are held with joy and gaiety as in the Indian communities throughout the nation. The Maharashtrian wedding is vibrant where colorful customs, rituals, and traditions form its culture
Maharashtrian Matrimonials begin with the 'Sakhar Puda' (Engagement), once the horoscopes of the bride and groom are matched and the decision is made for them to marry. This is basically a pre - matrimonial ceremony.
However before the 'Sakhar Puda', on the arrival of the groom, in accordance to the community culture, a 'Simant Puja' is held where the bridegroom's family is worshipped. In Marathi weddings, the engagement takes place in a very traditional manner where a packet of sugar is exchanged between the two families. This happens, as in most cases, a day or two before the actual matrimonial ceremony. Other gifts like jewelry, silk saris and other clothing are also exchanged between the two families. Food is served thereafter. read more..
On an auspicious day, before the actual Maharashtrian matrimonial alliance, the groom's parents invite the bride's family for a meal. If the families are residing in different cities, then this is held a day before the marriage. The Maharashtrian community also holds a ritual to invoke the harmony of the planets and this is known as 'Nav Grahi Shanti Pooja'.
The pre - matrimonial alliance rituals go on in abundance, reflecting the love of the community to celebrate heartily. 'Bangdi Bharan' is held at the bride's house wherein the bride is made to wear green bangles. The parents also gift her with a gold pair of bangles. 'Mehendi' is not a traditional ritual but however the community has adopted it with time. A day before the actual matrimonial alliance, the bride is fed with her favorite food cooked by her mother, as this is her last meal before the wedding. This pre - matrimonial ceremony is known as the 'Kelvan'.
On the morning of the Maharashtrian wedding day, 'Ghana Bharne' is performed as per the culture of the community. Here, married women grind or pound grain like wheat, while the bride, along with her parents, offers prayers to ensure that the remaining rituals uptil the time of marriage go off smoothly. Turmeric paste is then applied all over the bride's and the bridegroom's body at their respective houses.
The days leading upto the actual matrimonial ritual are filled with various occasions, with the members of the family from the community cherishing the funfilled good times with music, dance and delectable food. The bride also performs what is known as 'Gauri Haar Puja' as required by the norms of the Maharashtrian matrimonial rituals. This ritual is performed until the time of the Mauhrat and is also performed at the venue of the wedding.
Meanwhile at the groom's house, the matrimonial procession gets ready to leave. The community's love for pomp and gaiety finds expression through dance and music that accompanies the procession. Once at the bride's house, 'Rukhavat', a traditional breakfast, is served to them.
In Maharashtrian matrimonials, the actual wedding ritual is performed in segments. Her mother's brother brings the bride into the mandap. The mandap decoration speaks volumes of the community's love for colour and excitement. True to the Maharashtrian matrimonial traditions, garlands are exchanged, which is known as 'Varmala'. Interestingly, the bride's mother is not allowed to witness the garlanding.
The matrimonial ritual begins with the chanting of the 'Mangal Ashtaka'. Once the mantra from the Veda has been chanted, the cloth (Antarpaat) separating the couple is removed and the family, friends and other members present, shower the couple with rice and kumkum (Akshata). 'Kanayadan' is then performed by the girl's father by placing the groom's right hand in his daughter's right hand. In Maharashtrian Wedding rituals, like most Indian matrimonials, seven rounds around the havan are taken (Saptapadi.) Like in every Indian community, the bridegroom ties a mangalsutra around the bride's neck.
As per the Marathi tradition, 'Sun Mukh Baghne' then follows wherein the mother-in-law peeks at her newly wedded daughter-in-law's face. As per the community practice the bride also receives a new name. Aashirwad is then sought by the couple by touching their elder's feet.
In Maharashtrian wedding, the luncheon that follows the matrimonial ceremony is peculiar, where the groom's family eats first while the bride's family waits at the mandap. The couple takes rounds where the guests are being served lunch. The matrimonial alliance ends with the 'Vidaai', where the groom goes to the shrine where his bride had earlier worshipped Goddess Gauri and takes the figure of the deity with him. The couple bid farewell to the bride's parents and leaves for the bride's new matrimonial home, where the groom's mother and sister greet her with an aarti.
The Maharashtrian matrimonial alliance is not complete without the Reception. Relatives and friends of the community are invited and the reception is normally held at night.