In Telugu culture marriage or ‘kalyanam’ is an essential ritual. It is regarded as a sacred bond between two individuals and their families. Telugu marriages are vibrant, colourful, and full of ancient customs and rituals. It symbolizes the love, commitment, and respect the couple has for each other and their families.
The Telugu marriage is a multi-day celebration, filled with elaborate ceremonies. These have been passed down from generation to generation. Here, we’ll delve deeper into the Telugu marriage ritual and explore its customs, traditions, and beliefs.
Telugu marriage has a series of pre-wedding ceremonies. It starts with the proposal and culminates with the wedding day. Here are some of the significant pre-marriage rituals:
Nischitartham is the engagement ceremony. Here, the families of the bride and groom exchange gifts and formalize the wedding date. The priest reads out the auspicious time for the wedding and blesses the couple.
2. Pasupu Kumkuma
Pasupu Kumkuma is a traditional ceremony of high significance. Here, the bride and groom exchange turmeric and vermilion. This ritual is performed to ward off evil spirits and ensure a long and happy married life.
3. Mangala Snaanam
Mangala Snaanam is the purification bath taken by the bride and groom on the day of their wedding. It’s believed that taking this bath purifies their mind, body, and soul and prepares them for the wedding ceremony.
Pellikuthuru is like a bachelorette party where the bride’s family and friends gather to celebrate her upcoming wedding. The bride gets lots of gifts, and henna is applied to her hands and feet.
Snatakam is a purification ceremony. Here the groom shaves his head (but not in modern-day weddings) and takes a bath to prepare for the wedding. It is believed that this ritual purifies the groom’s body and soul.
6. Kashi Yatra
In a light-hearted and humorous ritual. The groom pretends to go on a pilgrimage to Kashi (Varanasi) to renounce worldly pleasures. The bride’s father intervenes, convincing the groom to marry his daughter and embrace family life instead.
The Wedding Rituals
The wedding ceremony in a Telugu marriage ritual is a grand affair. It usually takes place during the daytime. Here are some of the significant wedding rituals:
1. Gauri- Ganesha Pooja
The bride performs the Gauri Pooja. She seeks blessings from Goddess Gauri and prays for a prosperous married life. The groom performs the Ganesha Pooja, seeking blessings from God Ganesha hoping that all goes well without any hindrances.
2. Bride’s Entry
The Bride’s entry is a lively event which symbolizes the beginning of the marriage festivities. It is an occasion filled with joy, music, dance, and vibrant cultural traditions and brings both families together.
Kanyadaanam is the most important ritual of a Telugu wedding. It is the giving away of the bride by her father to the groom. The father performs the ritual by placing the bride’s hand in the groom’s hand. This ritual signifies the groom’s promise to take care of the bride for the rest of his life.
4. Jeelakarra Bellam
Jeelakarra Bellam is a ceremony where the bride and groom apply a paste of cumin seeds and jaggery on each other’s heads. This ritual is believed to remove evil spirits and bring good luck to the couple.
Madhuparkam is a ritual where the groom presents the bride with a silk saree and a dhoti. The bride and groom then change into their new clothes, and the groom applies turmeric on the bride’s body.
6. Sumangali Prarthana
Sumangali Prarthana is a ritual where married women in the family pray for the well-being of the couple. The women offer prayers to Goddess Gowri. They seek her blessings for a happy and prosperous married life for the couple.
7. Mangalsutra Dharana
Mangalsutra Dharana is the tying of the sacred thread around the bride’s neck by the groom. It is a symbol of their union and commitment to each other for the rest of life.
Talambralu is a fun ritual. Here the bride and groom exchange garlands of rice and turmeric powder. The bride and groom shower each other with garlands, signifying their love and affection for each other. Lots of laughter relaxes the couple.
Saptapadi is the most important ritual of the Telugu wedding ceremony. It is the seven steps the couple takes together. It signifies their union and commitment to each other. The bride’s brother places seven small mounds of rice on the floor, and the couple takes seven vows as they walk around the rice mounds.
10. Arundhati Darshan
Arundhati Darshan is a ritual where the groom shows the North Star and the Pole Star to his bride. The North Star represents stability, while the Pole Star represents guidance. This ritual symbolizes the groom’s promise to guide and protect his bride throughout their married life.
Vidaai is an emotional moment where the bride says goodbye to her family and leaves for her new home. It symbolises that the groom is now responsible for his bride’s well-being.
The post-wedding ceremonies signify the coming of the bride to her new home. It is concentrated on welcoming the new permanent guest. Here are some of the significant post-wedding rituals:
Grihapravesham is the ceremony where the bride is welcomed into her new home. The groom’s mother performs the ritual by placing a pot of rice at the entrance. The bride knocks the rice pot with her right foot before entering the house.
Sthaalipakam is a ritual where the bride cooks a sweet dish and offers it to her husband. It is a symbol of her love and affection towards him.
The reception is the splendid ceremony of the Telugu wedding where a grand feast is offered. It is a majestic celebration where the couple receives blessings and congratulations.
The Telugu marriage ritual is an elaborate affair that celebrates the love, commitment, and respect between two individuals and their families. Telugu marriage is a vibrant and joyous occasion filled with ancient customs and rituals mixed with modern day element.
- Why is the Grihapravesham ritual important?
The Grihapravesham ritual is important because it marks the bride’s entry into her new home and family. It is a symbolic way of welcoming the bride into the groom’s family and making her feel at home.
- What is the importance of the Saptapadi ritual?
The Saptapadi ritual is the most crucial ritual of a Telugu marriage ceremony. The seven steps the couple takes together signify their union and commitment to each other.
- What is the significance of the Mangalsutra in a Telugu marriage?
The Mangalsutra is a sacred thread that the groom ties around the bride’s neck during the marriage ceremony. It symbolizes their union and commitment to each other.
- How long does a Telugu marriage ceremony last?
A Telugu marriage ceremony can last for several days, with various pre-marriage, marriage, and post-marriage ceremonies. The marriage day itself usually lasts for several hours.