Indian weddings consist of myriad rituals. Each ritual, with its own significance, lends character to the entire ceremony. An extremely significant ritual in not only Hindu weddings but also for other religions, the haldi ceremony is one of the important pre-wedding rituals. Also known as ubtan or tel-baan, let guide you through its significance.

The haldi ceremony in an Indian wedding; Photography: Sanjay Austa

What is the haldi ceremony?
The haldi ceremony refers to the pre-wedding ritual held just a day before the wedding, usually at both the bride and groom’s places. Haldi means turmeric. The haldi paste is made from turmeric, sandalwood and rose water. Applied on the face, hands and feet, the haldi ceremony is an Indian beautification process for the bride and groom before their D-day. It is believed that once the haldi ceremony takes place, the bride/groom is not allowed to step outside till their wedding.

An emotional moment during the haldi ceremony; Photography: Atul Chauhan

Haldi and its significance
Like all other rituals, the haldi ceremony has its intrinsic significance. When the beauty and cosmetics industry was not where it is today, the grannies and great aunts had their own ways of beautification. With its medicinal properties, haldi was (and still is) nature’s best gift to mankind. With its antiseptic qualities, haldi acts as the protective shield for the bride/groom from cuts, bruises and any other seasonal ailments. Application of haldi also infuses a natural sheen and glow to the skin, readying the bride/groom for their wedding celebrations ahead.

Turmeric paste for haldi ceremony

While modern-day brides have an array of services to choose from the best salons, the age-old traditional haldi ceremony has still managed to enamor all. The color yellow is also considered auspicious, ushering in prosperity and happiness for the soon-to-be married couple’s conjugal lives. Hence, mostly the bride/groom is made to wear yellow attires while haldi is applied to them.