Wedding Rituals in a Telugu Wedding
The non-South-Indian community of our country often takes it for granted that all South Indian weddings are the same. Little do they realise that every south Indian state has its own set of values and priorities.
For the people of Andhra Pradesh, weddings are a ritual filled event with two distinctive features. Firstly, Telugu weddings are based more on spirituality that on caste or religion based practices. This is quite different when compared to other state weddings where your ancestral place of origin and the particular caste influence the wedding ceremonies to a great extent. Secondly, women are given a very high place of importance in every ritual and rite conducted throughout the wedding celebrations.
Listed here are some of the key wedding rituals in a Telugu Matrimony and their significance.
Pre Wedding Rituals
Choosing the right time and date of the wedding is the first step in planning a Telugu Matrimony. The Telgites perform a ritual with the aid of a priest to confirm the auspicious time of marriage called the “Muhurtham”.
Similar to the haldi ceremony of the north, Nalugu, which means turmeric, is the ritual where the bride and the groom are titivated with turmeric paste and oil. The ritual is considered as the washing away of all the evil before uniting in holy matrimony.
Post the application of the turmeric paste all over the body, the bride and the groom are made to shower before being decked up for the main event. During the bath, the groom is made to wear a silver thread across the body thus denoting his readiness to start a family of his own.
• Kashi Yatra
The Kashi Yatra is one of the oldest practices in the Telugu culture. During the ritual, the groom pretends to renounce all the pleasures of life and set off for a pilgrimage to Kashi. He walks out of the mandapam, when the brother of the bride convinces him to marry his sister. He then welcomes the groom by washing his feet and adorning them with turmeric and vermillion.
The Wedding Rituals
• Mangala snaanam
On the wedding day, the rituals start with the “holy bath” of the bride and the groom. The bath is organised in an auspicious time and is considered vital for the performing of the sacred rites.
Following the holy bath, the couples make a prayer to God in their respective homes with their families for a happy life together.
• Ganesh Puja & Gauri Puja
The groom and the bride then perform the Ganesh and the Gauri puja respectively. While some families conduct the pujas at their homes, some choose to have it done in the mandapam. The meaning behind these rituals is the welcoming of goodness and prosperity into the lives of the newlyweds and to ward off the evil eye.
Kanyadan literally means the giving away of the blemish free daughter to the groom’s family. The groom accepts his bride with the promise of loving and respecting her till his last breath.
• Tying the knot
The groom then ties the “mangalsutra” around the neck of the bride and all the family and friends of the couple bless them with yellow coloured rice and flowers. This ritual pronounces the bride and the groom as an officially wedded couple and they are therefore ethically and legally allowed to start a family together.
Post Wedding Rituals
After tying of the knot, the ambience in the marriage becomes much lighter. Fun filled rituals with a profound meaning follow the tying of the mangalsutra. During the Talambralu, the bride and the groom pour pearls and turmeric mixed rice grains on one another’s head. The priest continues to chant mantras and prays for the togetherness of the couple.
It is now the turn of the relatives and other elders to shower the turmeric rice on the couple. This practice is considered as a way of showing your happiness and showering your blessings on the couple.
This ritual demands the bride’s parents to officially send their daughter to her new home. This is one of the most emotional scenes in a Telugu wedding. The parents of the bride are seen wit tear filled eyes and the bride with much anxiety enters into the new phase of her life.
The ritual where the groom’s mother welcomes the bride and the groom into the house with an aarti is called Grihapravesh.
To put it in a nut shell, Telugu weddings are full of small endearing rituals that prepare the couple spiritually to take on the next important chapter of their lives.