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The weddings of the Kannadigas (people of Karnataka) are a simple affair focusing mainly on the traditional rituals. Yes, they may not be as grand as its other counterparts, but it promises to be an occasion of a lifetime. Paying importance to the essence of age-old traditions, Kannada weddings are celebrates the coming together of two souls. Let's see how...
Nischay tamulam: This is the first ritual pertaining to the wedding. It is to formalize the alliance between the two families and takes place at the bride's place. The groom's family presents the bride with a sari, coconut, fruits and sweets while the bride's family gifts the groom a dhoti, coconuts, fruits and sweets. As this exchange takes place, the priest matches their horoscopes and announces the date of the wedding.
Naandi: This ritual takes place separately at both the bride's and groom's places. It is performed to ensure that the wedding takes place without any hindrances. Also, the first wedding card is placed before the Lord along with a coconut and kalash (pot) with an aarti.
Kaashi yatre: This is a playful ritual involving the groom. The groom, pretending to be angry as nobody is bothered to search a bride for him, readies to go on a pilgrimage to Kashi like a true ascetic carrying only the bare essentials. At this point, his maternal uncle intervenes and convinces him by showing him the girl that he has chosen for his nephew.
Dev karya: Traditionally, this ritual was performed on the day of the arrival of the groom's family to the bride's village. Nowadays, it takes place before the groom sets for his journey to the wedding venue. All the items that are to be used in the wedding ceremonies are placed in front of Lord Ganesha to seek his divine blessings. On the same day, haldi paste (turmeric) is applied to the bride and the groom at their respective places. Simultaneously, uddin murth (a type of grain) is ground which is considered to be auspicious.
Greeting of the groom's party: When the groom and his kinsmen arrive at the wedding venue, they are greeted by sumangalis (married women). They perform a traditional aarti and lead the groom inside the venue.
Mandap puja: This is the first ritual that takes place on the day of the wedding. This puja is performed for the purification of the mandap (wedding altar).
Var puja: This ritual is performed when the bride's father brings the groom to the mandap. The bride's parents perform the ceremonial washing of the groom's feet and offers him a silk dhoti and pitambar (scarf) which he changes into for the wedding.
Jaimala: The uncles of the bride bring her to the wedding altar. It is believed that no one should see the face of the bride yet. Hence, her sister shields the bride's face with a beautifully decorated fan made of peacock feathers. The bride and the groom are made to stand on each side of a white cloth that separates them. Amidst the chanting of mantras, the cloth is finally removed and the bride and the groom exchanges garlands.
Dhare herdu: Dhare herdu refers to the the ceremony when the parents of the bride hand her over to the groom. The bride's father takes the groom's hand and places it on the hand of his daughter. The groom then holds the bride's hand along with a coconut and betel nut while the bride's father ceremonially pours water into the groom's hands. Puffed rice is then offered into the sacred fire five times.
Saptapadi: The groom's angavastram is tied to the bride's pallav into a nuptial knot. The bride follows the groom's footsteps and encircles the holy fire seven times. Five married women tie the mangalsutra while the groom holds it around the bride's neck. The couple then bows in front of the elders and seek their blessings.
Okhli: After the wedding ceremonies are over, generally a game called okhli is played. The groom's wedding ring is dipped in a vessel containing colored water. The bride and her brother are supposed to search for it thrice.
Vidaai: This refers to the tearful farewell of the bride. The parents of the bride gifts her an umbrella, vessels, cot and other things that are required to set up a new home. The bride's brother escorts her to her new home and stays for the night before returning back the next morning.
Graha pravesh: This ritual marks the bride's entry into the groom's home where she is given a warm welcome by the groom's parents. A kalash filled with rice kept at the entrance is gently kicked by the bride with her right foot symbolizing the prosperity that is to follow.
Name change: This ritual refers to the ceremony wherein the groom decides on a new name for the bride and inscribes it with a ring on a plate containing rice. On the second day after marriage, the bride's parents visit the newlyweds and take them to their house. The couple stays there for some days before being brought back by the groom's family.
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