People of Gujarat are famous for their simplicity and their zeal for celebrating their festivals with dedication. Gujarati marriage is a grand affair and is generally an arranged marriage where the families of the girl and the boy choose a partner with their consent. The weddings are very colorful and joyful and the first ceremony custom is known as Mandap Mahurat where the bride’s family visit to the groom’s family and fix an auspicious wedding date by consulting a Pundit. Gujarati marriages are ritualistic Hindu weddings.
After wedding date is finalized, both the families organize a Griha Shanti puja in their respective homes and pray for the couple’s peaceful living and keeping their home free from quarrels and difficulties. After the puja, everybody in the evening wears lehenga or a traditional dress and does garba dance to celebrate the wedding. The dance lasts for many hours and is enjoyed most by the youngsters. The next day which is the day before the wedding is the mehndi night where the bride and close relatives apply henna on their hands.
On the wedding day, the women apply haldi paste and besan on the bride and groom’s body separately in their home after which they take bath and get dressed for the wedding. A Gujarati bride traditionally wears red or golden colour saree, but with changing trends many opt for lehenga. As for the groom dhoti kurta is the ideal choice but even they prefer to wear suit and shervaani. The wedding takes place late in the evening when the baraat arrives at the wedding venue and the groom enters the wedding hall where the mother of the bride performs aarti on the groom and the groom bends to touch her feet for blessings. While the groom is touching the feet, the mother tries to pull his nose with her hands which adds fun element in the wedding.
The groom sits for a puja with the pandit and recites few chants. The bride then enters holding a garland and reaches the stage where both the bride and the groom exchange garland with each other, this ceremony is known as jaimala. The Mahuparka ritual is next perform where the groom’s feet is washed with water and milk and is offered to drink a mixture of milk and honey. In the middle of this ceremony the sisters of the bride play a funny game with the groom known as Joota Chupai where they steal his shoes and return only after the groom gift them something.
After this ceremony the rituals become more meaningful and serious as in Gujarati’s, rituals hold a deep meaning which they perform with lot of pomp and show. The groom and the bride sit side by side in a mandap where the pundit recites shlokas in front of the fire and shower rice and oil from time-to-time. A veil of cloth hangs between the couple which hampers them to see each other, the veil is removed after few chants have been recited and they again put garlands into each other’s neck. After this the father of the bride performs Kanyadaan by putting the groom’s and bride’s hand over each other and pouring water over it, this signifies that from now on their daughter is groom’s responsibility and he will keep her happy all her life. The sister-in-law of the bride ties a knot in the cloth carried by the groom and the bride after which both of them take seven rounds around the fire known as saat phere. The groom then puts vermilion (sindoor) in the bride’s hair partying which symbolizes that the bride is officially married. The couple after completing the rituals is officially married and they touch the feet of their elders and take blessings.
After reaching to groom’s place the bride is welcomed by the mother of the groom by performing aarti for the newly wed and tells the bride to keep her right foot forward. She is considered as Goddess Lakshmi where she knocks the vessel filled with rice slowly with her feet. The next day, groom’s side organizes a reception party for the newlyweds where all the guests eat various dishes and dances and have fun.