Rituals in a Konkani Wedding
Weddings are general to humanity, specialized in communities and curated for individuals!
Amidst the diversity of India, with hundreds of wedding styles and thousands of rituals, let’s peek into the uniqueness of Konkani weddings! 💑
Konkani weddings are thoroughly rooted into authentic customs true to Konkani culture. Here is a list of them all:
1. Naandi Pooja:
Indian weddings have a fair share of poojas in them. In the list of Konkani ceremonies, the first is called, ‘Nandi Pooja’. This pooja is performed ten days before the wedding, offering prayers and gratitude to God along with ancestors. Blessings from ancestors are sought after and innate.
In this holy practice five coconuts are offered to God and ancestors, in lieu of which blessings and positively energized vibes are received that can dispel any kind of negativity caused by deaths or other unwanted earthly events.
This ritual is believed to summon protective energy for the bride and groom from the heavens. To be able to imbibe it, the to-be-married couple is barred from meeting each other after this pooja, until the wedding day. They also follow a ‘Saatvik diet’ which is free from non-veg food and usage of onion/garlic for those many days. 🥗
2. Haldi Mangalsnanam:
This ritual is a ‘turmeric bath’ given to the bride/groom. Since ancient times it was conducted into the closeness of their homes and immediate family members only.
However, now this has taken the form of a grand and mass-invite ritual in huge spaces. Abiding by the modern trends ‘haldi’ is followed by a mehndi ceremony. ☘
Turmeric has two-fold benefits, one is the piousness of this ingredient makes the bride/groom pure in their vibes and the second is that it has antiseptic as well as beautifying properties, which is desirous in any wedding.
3. Kankan Survuche
To term ‘Kankan Survuche’ in a casual phrase; one would call it a ‘bangle ceremony’. It is conducted immediately after ‘Haldi’ or a few days before the wedding. It is a holy ‘pooja’ that is done for the bangles are viewed as the sign of long-life for the groom; ‘suhag ki nishaani’ as they call it.
A local bangle-vendor who is invited ‘home’ brings the magic of colours circled into bangles, luring all female hearts. It’s him or the bride’s mother who then put those bangles onto the bride’s wrist. The bride keeps wearing them until after the wedding for up to 4 or 5 days. 💫
Following the cue, all other women and girls of the family then gift themselves the pleasure of bright, matching bangles for the wedding.
4. Phool Muddi Ceremony
- This ceremony may sound like a look-alike of an engagement ritual, but the traditional Konkani style manglore-jasmine worn on the bride’s head steals the show! A similar flowery adornment is worn by the Goddess on the Vijaya Dashami day as per the Konkani culture.
- In earlier times when weddings were hosted by the girl’s family, this ceremony was meant to welcome the Groom’s family and invite them into the venue. In those days bride and groom families often hailed from different cities. This ceremony would be the first encounter of the entire family of the bride with the groom’s full-family.
- Although the bride herself is not allowed to attend this initially but later the bride is invited and the groom’s mother blesses her with sweets and a saree. The bride then adorns that saree and a ring ceremony follows. In the modern set-up a sangeet event is often clubbed.
- In the authentic style it is an evening function planned a day before the wedding where the dinner-menu can boost of the cultural rice and sambhar. 🍛
5. Ghade Udda:
On the wedding day this ritual is the first thing done in the morning by the bride’s family. In this, river Ganga is offered prayers. Water is taken from a well by the bride and her mother, they pass that water from one tumbler to another. The idea is to recognize the value and contribution of ‘water’ as an essential part of our life force. 🥃
6. Uddida Muhurat – Kaashi Yatra
- Scientifically sound and an exclusive ritual of Konkani culture is ‘Uddida Muhurat’. This is performed by the groom as well as the bride’s family, as it is the ritualistic introduction of the bride and groom to the kitchen chore of using a ‘chakki’ i.e. grinding black urad dal into its flour.
- Initially the mother of the bride starts by putting a little urad dal on the bride’s palm, which is followed by the groom’s mother and other women of the family. The bride then grinds it in the stone ‘chakki’ and using the flour to make vadas for lunch.
- Urad dal is scientifically been included here as it is considered very supportive for our reproductive health. Moong dal is also added into the vada which has calming properties.
- In case of the groom along with Uddida Muhurat, there is an added ritual where he is assumed desirous of leaving for Kashi to attain spiritual elixir and the bride’s father intervenes to offer his own daughter’s hand to the groom as a life-long partner for all his destinations. 🚶🏻♂️
7. Mandap Pooja & Dharemani:
- Temple; the word itself inspires sanctity and sacredness in thoughts and vibes! Similar is the relevance and status of a ‘mandap’ in Konkani weddings. The bride and the groom are symbolically considered; Lord Balaji and Goddess Lakshmi on that day.
- Mandap Pooja is performed by the bride when she is brought into the mandap for the first time by her mother. The bride applies haldi and Kumkum to all the four pillars of the mandap and then enters with her right-foot first. 🛕
- The bride’s mother then ties a black-bead necklace to the bride. While this necklace is called ‘dharemni’ the logic behind this is the pure loving intention of keeping the daughter safe from all ill and evil worldly-effect. It’s like the mother’s protective gear for her darling child; about to start a new life.
8. Varapooja – Sisters of the Bride:
This short and sweet ritual is about gifting the sisters of the bride as a mark of respect, love and inclusiveness.
9. Bridal Entry & Varamaala:
- The groom who is now already into the mandap occupies half of the area with his team beside him and a huge white cloth is held high, veiling him from the other half area of the mandap.
- The bride enters and occupies the other half area, and they stay separated by the thin white curtain. When the cloth is taken away, the ritual of varamaala takes place. It’s the time when they both put garlands around each other’s neck.
10. Welcoming Audience:
Bride and groom’s families spread around the mandap and express gratitude to the guests for gracing the wedding. At this hour since the lunch is served the guests are welcomed by the respective families to head for the lunch. 🙏🏻
- In this the parents of the bride ritualistically hand-over (donate) their beloved daughter to the groom. It is a pooja filled with mantras to avail blessings of God and make the groom her life partner.
12. Kashitali – Mangalsutra – tied by groom – Coral & Gold:
- Gold is associated to auspiciousness and Coral is considered to keep body temperatures in calming control. ❄
- That’s how the ‘Mangalsutra’ known as the ‘Kashitali’ in Konkani is made up of gold and coral. This is tied by the groom to the bride after the kanyadaan. It not only brings auspiciousness but also presents a calming energy to the bride.
13. Layee Homa:
- Also known as the ‘Laaja Homa’, in this ritual a hawan is there in the centre. The bride and groom align themselves while opposite to them, the maternal uncles and brothers of the bride stand in a descending order of seniority. 👨🏼🤝👨🏼
- A bag of rice is passed by the queued relatives and on reaching the end it is handed to the bride and groom. The couple eventually offers it into the ‘hawan’. Followed by this, the bride is then gifted with the toe-ring, which is put onto her toe by the maternal uncle himself.
‘Saptapadi’ signifies the seven marital vows that are taken. These vows are believed to bind the bride and groom into a bond for not only one, but many lives to come.
15. Vhara Ubborche:
Continuing with the custom of inclusiveness; in this ritual the uncle and aunt of the bride lift the bride and the groom one after the other making one more announcement of their marital tie. It is concluded by offering gifts to the couple.
16. Sheraga Ghalche & New Name:
- Literally meaning; ‘Pallu-setting’. This is a ritual where the groom’s mother sets the pallu of the new saree the bride has just adorned. It remarks her embarking upon the life of womanhood.
- This holds relevance because during all of the above rituals the bride wears a ‘Navvari saree’ and a white dupatta. Once the main rituals and Saptapadi is over the mother-in-law gifts the bride with a new saree for which she then sets the ‘pallu’.
- Also, welcoming into the new family the bride is given a new name as a customary ritual of Konkani weddings.
17. Baglari Basche:
- ‘Baglari’ means door. Here the sisters of the groom have a fun time curtailing the couple’s entry into the house post wedding. In the olden days it was done at the main door of the house but now it is performed at the wedding venue itself.
- The sisters trouble their brother with demands for gifts. Once again, the family inclusiveness is seen at play along with light hearted and joyful welcome for the bride into her new home. 🏡
Another fun-event of finding the ‘ring’ is organized after the couple has entered the house. Here, the fun begins when a ring is submerged into a milky water-filled thali. The task for the couple is to search for the ring and pull it out to declare victory. It is believed that whoever wins, turns out to be the dominating partner out of the two. Well, this is just a belief or reality; can be a subjective experience. 💍
19. Aarthi of Groom:
Indian culture places the ‘husband’ at a level where he can bless his wife. Abiding by this belief the bride performs an Aarthi of the groom and takes his blessings by touching his feet.
20. Vaina Pooja:
- Although this pooja is not followed by every family, this ritual is like a varat for those who are into worshipping Lord Ganesh and Goddess Gauri. This marks the staring of the ‘Gauri pooja’ basically the ‘Gauri varat’ that is done every year for many years to follow. 108 coconuts are ceremonially worshipped and then distributed among the female guests present in the function. 🥥
Konkani weddings are true to their core ethos. It’s the interwovenness of the culture, traditions and spiritual way of living that inspires auspiciousness in weddings across all ethnicities in India.
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