Gujarati Wedding Rituals

Gujarati weddings are the portrayal of colorful Gujarati culture which includes a warm welcome and hospitality of guests with delectable vegetarian cuisine. The grounded traditions and customs of Gujarati weddings add love and fun to the wedding ceremonies.

You can have an insight into the Gujarati culture through the series of vibrant wedding festivities that are segmented into three parts – Pre-wedding rituals, rituals on the wedding day and post-wedding rituals.

 

Pre-Wedding Rituals of a Gujarati Wedding –

Numerous traditions and rituals take place till the morning of a Gujarati wedding day. Here one can know them all in a stepwise way.

 1. Chandlo Matli – Acceptance of the Marriage

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A formal announcement of the wedding in Gujrati Culture by the families of the Bride and Groom is recognized as Chandlo Matli. For performing this initial wedding ritual, the father of the would-be bride visits the home of the would-be groom with four male members of the family. He hands over a Matli (Steel utensil) to his would-be son-in-law which is full of sweets, gifts and symbolic cash. Before this, the father draws a Chandlo (a circle shape) on the forehead of the groom with vermilion.

Both families decide the auspicious date of the wedding as well on this first wedding ritual.

2. Gol Dhana – Official engagement ceremony

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The term “Gol Dhana” signifies the seeds of coriander and jaggery. This pre-wedding ritual occurs at the home of the groom where the bride visits with her family members. The couple exchanges the rings and the family offers “Coriander seeds and Jaggery” to the guests and other family members. Five married females of each side (Bride and Groom family) bless the new couple for an auspicious wedding.

The family of the Groom organizes a grand feast for relatives, friends and the family of the bride at the end of the Gol Dhana ceremony.

3.Mehendi / Heena ceremony

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Akin to the other wedding customs, the Mehendi ceremony is an integral part of the Gujarati wedding ceremonies. One or two days before the wedding the other females of the bride’s family draw intricate heena designs on the palms and hands of the Bride. All the ladies of the family also celebrate the mehendi ritual by applying the heena paste on their hands.

The dark colour of the heena/mehendi signifies the dense love and bonding between the would-be-married couple. Women also sing and dance to the cultural Gujarat wedding songs.

 4. Sanjhi or Sangeet Sandhya – An evening full of dance, singing and fun

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Popularly known as the Sangeet ceremony in other’s wedding rituals, this fun frolic event adds vibrance to the Gujarati wedding rituals. The family of the groom is welcomed at the bride’s place and both families eat, sing, dance, love and laugh together. The filmy songs, Gujarat traditional songs and folk songs are played during the grand event. Apart from dancing on modern songs, people enjoy playing Garba and Dandiya for long hours.

This Gujarati wedding ritual offers a chance for both families to strengthen and simplify the nascent relationship between them.

5. Mameru or Mosaalu – Gift offering ceremony

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The maternal uncle or Mama visits the home of the Bride with some wedding gifts like Saree, Jewelry, Bangles and Sweets etc. Right before one or two days, this unique Gujrati wedding ritual takes place that depicts the love of a maternal family towards the would-be bride.

6. Mandap Mahurat and Ganesha Puja

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Asking for permission from mother earth for an obstacle-free wedding is a blissful ritual of Gujarati culture. Both the parents of the Bride and Groom perform this ritual together before placing the Mandap by digging a small place in the land.

As in our Hindu culture, Ganesh Pujan takes place at the beginning of any auspicious work, so parents offer a prayer to Ganesh Ji after Mandap Muhurat. A priest or Pandit Ji guides the families of the bride and groom during the Mandap Muhurat wedding ritual.

7. Griha Shanti – Prayer offering to all the Nine Planets

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A mandatory pre-wedding ritual of Gujarati weddings is offering prayer to all the nine planets of the Solar System. The couple and their family members take part in Griha Shanti puja which is organized right after the Mandap Muhurat ritual. This puja or wedding ritual plays an important role in the married life of a couple as it wards off any obstacle created by any of the nine planets.

 

Rituals on the Big Day of Bride and Groom –

After a long wait, finally the D-day comes and brings several other traditional and fun rituals with it. Have a quick look at the wedding day rituals at a Gujarati Wedding.

8. Pithi – A ritual to add glow

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Another mandatory pre-wedding ritual that takes place on the morning of the wedding day separately in the homes of the bride and groom is – Pithi. A beauty paste including turmeric powder, sandalwood powder, rosewater and perfumes is prepared by the paternal aunt “Kaki/Chachi” of the bride and groom.

Other family members apply this paste on the face and body of the bride and groom. After that, both of them take a bath.

9. Varghoda or Barat – Arrival of the Groom at the bride’s home

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On the wedding day, the Groom arrives at the home of the bride with his male friends and other relatives. This group is referred to as Baraat. But before that, the sister of the Groom waves a coin pouch over his head to prevent him from any evil eye. Now the Groom sits on the horseback, his male companions burst firecrackers and move forward with dancing and enjoying.

10. Ponkvu / Jaan / Aagaman – A fun welcome of the Groom

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When the groom arrives at the bride’s home or any other venue where the bride’s family is present, his would-be mother-in-law welcomes him in a funny way. First, the mother of the bride performs Aarti and puts Tilak on the Groom’s forehead. After this, the mother of the bride tries to catch hold of the Groom’s nose. A unique and fun ritual of Gujarati wedding depicts the respect towards the mother of the bride as she is giving her child for a lifetime to him.

During this ritual, the family of the bride welcomes the Barati with huge grandeur and takes care of them.

11. Jaimala – Garland ceremony

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Jaimala is the inception of all major wedding day ceremonies when the bride and groom meet with each other for the very first time on their D-day. The groom stands on a higher pedestal when he puts the garland on the bride but on the bride’s turn, he steps down and shows equality with the bride.

12. Madhuparka – Washing the feet of the Groom

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After the ceremony of exchanging garlands, the mother-in-law of the groom leads him to the mandap where his feet are washed with milk and water. This ritual is recognized as Madhuparka. The groom is also offered a drink named Panchamrit which is made up of yogurt, honey, ghee, milk and sugar. The Madhuparka wedding ritual is performed by an elder male member of the bride’s family.

13. Antarpaat – An opaque cloth between the bride and groom

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After the rituals related to the groom are completed at the Mandap, the bride reaches there with her Maternal uncle. An opaque cloth is placed between the bride and groom and the priest chants the sacred mantras of the scriptures.

14. Kanyadaan – An emotional moment for everyone

 

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Similarly the other wedding rituals, Kanyadaan takes place in Gujarati wedding traditions also. At this moment the father of the bride keeps full faith in his son-in-law and gives her daughter for a lifetime. This ritual also symbolizes that from this moment the son-in-law will be responsible for the happiness of the bride.

15. Hastamilap – Tying the knots

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Before the Phera ceremony, the priest ties the knots of the Bride’s saree and the Groom’s shawl and cites the holy verses of our Hindu scriptures. This signifies the pious union of two souls and family members shower floral petals and rice grains on the couple as a blessing. The priest also conveys the blessings of Goddess Parvati and Lakshmi to the couple.

16. Mangal Pheras – The four life goals

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Usually, the couples complete seven pheras around the sacred fire “Agni” but in the Gujarati wedding, the couple takes only four Pheras. The priest guides them with the information of four basic goals of a married life that are- Dharma, Artha, Kaam and Moksha. The couple also seeks blessings of Agni Devta after completing the Phera ritual.

17. Saptapadi – Taking seven steps together

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The recitation of seven vows and promises for the wellness and happiness of the bride for her whole life comes under this Gujrati wedding ritual. The bride and groom take the seven steps together and reads the seven vows of a happy married life.

18. Sindoordaan – Embellishing the bride with the signs of Marriage

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Sindoor and Mangalsutra are the main signs of a married woman. The groom puts the Sindur / Vermillion on the forehead of his bride and ties the Mangalsutra around her neck.

19. Kansar – A sweet end of wedding day rituals

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After all the wedding rituals in a Gujarati wedding, the bride and groom feed sweets to each other, this ritual is called Kansar.

 

Post-wedding rituals of a Gujarati Wedding

The traditional way of blessing couples and asking for gifts even after the wedding creates the post-wedding ritual moments of a Gujarati wedding fun-packed and full of emotions.

20. Aashirwaad – Time to shower blessings on the couple

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Unlike the other wedding customs, in a Gujarati wedding, the seven married women whisper good luck in the right ear of the newly wedded wife. The married women say ” Akhanda Saubhagyawati Bhava” which is a sign of good luck for new couples. It is also considered that this whispering wards off all the evil intentions from their life. After that, all the elder family members and attendees bless the newly wedded couple and pray for their lifelong wellness and togetherness.

21. Chero Pakaryo – A sweet demand of son-in-law from his mother in law

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When the mother-in-law of the groom walks away from the wedding place he pulls her Saree Pallu and lovingly asks for some more gifts. The elder persons present there fill the Pallu with gifts and cash and they will later send to the Groom’s place. It is a unique Gujarati post-wedding ritual that brings a smile to the faces of everyone and makes the emotional atmosphere a little bit lighter.

22. Juta Churai – Now it’s the groom’s turn to pay!

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The whole bride’s sisters’ gang steals the wedding footwear of the groom when he put them off during the Madhuparka ritual. All sisters hide it and do not return it until he gives them some cash or gifts. The sweet and funny negotiation between the sisters of the bride and the groom makes the whole Gujarati wedding memorable.

23. Bidaai – An emotional goodbye to the family

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After many fun and joyous moments, the emotional moment comes when the beautiful Gujarati bride leaves her paternal home and embarks on a new life journey with his husband and in-laws. The bride put some rice grains on her mother’s Saree Pallu. This shows her gratitude towards her mother for doing her marriage. The family members, close friends and relatives of the Bride’s family shed tears on her Bidaai and become too emotional to hold back their tears.

24. Ghar Nu Lakshmi – Bride brings luck to her new home.

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When the bride arrives at the home of her groom, her in-laws welcome her and consider her goddess Lakshmi for their home. The groom’s family places a Kalash full of rice grains on the threshold of the main door. She gently kicks the Kalash and rice grains fell on the floor. Now she moves forward and her mother-in-law puts a Tika on her forehead and performs Aarti.

25. Aeki Beki – Spot the ring!

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This is the very first fun ritual that is conducted in the groom’s home. All the ladies prepare an opaque liquid with milk and Sindoor (Vermillion) and put some coins and a ring inside it. Now the bride and groom are asked to find the ring with their fingers in this four-round fun ritual. Whoever finds the ring for the maximum time, is considered the ruler of the household.

26. The grand Reception – Introduction of the new bride

Gujrati wedding rituals

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The family of the groom organizes a great welcome party for the new bride and their guests who are meeting the bride for the very first time. Relatives, friends and family members offer gifts to the new bride.

 

Repleted with great pomp and meaningful traditions, a Gujarati wedding is no less than a three or four days long festival. Both sides – Bride and Groom families are considered equal in all the wedding rituals. The rich way of dressing up and the diverse Gujarati cuisine in the wedding festivities makes a glamorous Gujarati wedding more traditional.

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