The GSB Vhardik- Prologue

So I got married recently, in February to be precise. While all the preparation with clothes, venue, decorations and catering were underway (each deserving a post in their own right!), I realized that I had attended only 5 GSB weddings to date, 3 of which were within the age of 10! I had limited ideas about all the rituals and processes involved in the wedding. Sure “elders in the family” did help, but their last recollections too were from their own weddings! So I resorted to the one place our generation finds all the answers, the internet. But here too I was disappointed, coz apart from one blogpost about the rituals, there was not much information available.

I somehow feel being aware of the rituals helps you prepare mentally, and to plan your clothes, make-up, hair, time to meet the guests, and most importantly food intake better!! So I have taken it upon myself to document the entire process of a GSB wedding, as per first-hand experience. Here goes:

Most weddings last 1.5 days, with phool muddi on Day 1 evening and the rest of the rituals on day 2, drawing to a close with lunch. This is the case of noon weddings (Abhijin Lagnam), it’s mostly a 1 day process for an evening wedding (Godhuli Lagnam).

Nandhi:

The Nandhi is a Pooja that is held before any major occasion in the family, around 10 days before the date of the actual function. The Pooja is held to invoke blessings of all the gods and ancestors, and to ensure that the rituals and functions are concluded without any hindrance. This Pooja is held in both the Bride and Groom’s houses. It includes a Pooja to all the gods, the ancestors and the five elements (fire-earth-water-air-sky).

A thali (poleru in Konkani) is prepared with rice and 4 coconuts, called shashe poleru. This, along with an aarthi, called shashe aarthi is performed of the bride, her parents and the dheddi (a younger sister, usually the next in line for marriage). This aarthi is performed by married women in the family.

The Nandhi Pooja also involves a small Pooja to the main saree (mantpa kapad) and jewelry for the wedding. In olden days, the chapra (mantap at the entrance to the house), was put in place on this day, and was an indication of the impending wedding in the household.

The shashe poleru along with the Nandhi is then kept in the Pooja room of the house, and a lamp has to be lit in front of the Nandhi every day until after the wedding.

On Nandhi Pooja the bride is also given glass bangles (a la shagun ki chudiyan) that she wears throughout the wedding.

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Nandhi Pooja

DAY 1

PRARTHANA

Rituals on Day 1 begin around 3pm, with both the families gathering at their respective houses and praying for the blessings of almighty and ancestors, for an occurrence free wedding.

The bride’s brother goes to the groom’s house and invites them to the wedding venue, with a box of sweets and flowers for the women in the family.

 

YEDURU KANSANI

The bride’s brother goes to the groom’s house and invites them to the wedding venue, with a box of sweets and flowers for the women in the family.

Once the groom and party have reached the venue, they are greeted by the bride’s family. The women in the family all stand with different thalis, these include:

  1. The Shashe poleru (with rice and coconuts from the Nandhi)
  2. Flowers (usually rose/ jasmine)
  3. Beetle leaves and Areca nut (Veedo)
  4. A thali with a Kalash, a decorated coconut on top, a mirror with a golden chain around it- the Kalash-Kannadi- this one is held by the sister of the bride/groom
  5. A paneerdaani (Rose water sprinkler)
  6. Haldi-KumKum

 

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Shashe Poleru

The women in the Groom’s family also have identical thalis. The yeduru Kansani begins with the women exchanging Haldi-KumKum, flowers and veedo. They also pick akshat (which is really the star of the wedding, occupying center stage in all rituals!!) from the shashe poleru and then the sisters go around with the kalash-kannadi, with every member on both sides seeing their reflection in the mirrors. The rosewater is then generously sprinkled on the opposite party, which is followed by an akshat throwing competition of sorts!

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Paneerdaani

All of this is symbolic, with the rose water to refresh the party’s after long travel to the venue, the mirror for everyone to check their appearance, the veedo as a sign of respect to all elders on either side and the Haldi-KumKum and Flowers for the women to adorn themselves with before the upcoming rituals.

With all of this exchange done, the bride’s father gifts the groom with a coconut, nowadays a well decorated one, (ours was in the shape of a peacock), and leads him by the hand to the stage/ mantap.

After this the Phool Muddi begins. Phool Muddi translates to flowers and ring in konkani, and was supposedly the equivalent of an engagement/ ring ceremony of present times.

An important thing to notice in a konkani wedding is that none of the rituals right up until the kanyadaan require the bride and groom to be in the mantap at the same time. It’s always bride enters-groom leaves or vice versa.  However, the bride and groom are not left alone on stage, they are always accompanied by a dheddi/dheddo. This used to be any younger member of the family, but of late the next eligible bachelor in the family is the dheddo/dheddi as it is quite an opportunity for the extended family and other guests to know whom to approach next with a rishta! Usually, if one has multiple siblings, they take turns as dheddi for each ritual.

The dheddi’s fashion choices and makeup are as scrutinized as the bride’s if not more, during the wedding!!

PHOOL MUDDI

The phool muddi includes the groom and dheddo occupying center stage first. The bride’s parents gift the groom with a ring (the muddi), and then both the groom and dheddo are gifted with a pair of clothing. After this the married women in the family all perform an aarti of the two in pairs and shower them with akshat.

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Kalash Kannadi

A similar process follows for the bride and her dheddi, except the ring is replaced with flowers (the phool). The bride then returns to the dressing room and changes into the saree gifted by her mother in law.

This effectively marks the end of the Phool Muddi ceremony. And is usually followed by the tyrant group photos (beware of them!! They are going to follow you right up to the reception!). The guests and family then proceed to dinner and then some much needed rest before the long day ahead.

 

 

Day 2 rituals here The GSB Vhardik- D-Day!!

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