The atmosphere in a Gujarati wedding is always vivacious, vibrant and lively. The main Gujarati wedding rituals are listed below:
1.Mandap mahurat and Griha shaanti – These are two pujas that are performed at the bride’s house and the bridegroom’s house separately. The mandap mahurat is performed to ward away negative spirits and bring good luck and prosperity to the newly wedded couple. The griha shaanti is a puja that is performed to ensure that a happy married life for the couple-to-be. It is at this time that an auspicious time and date for the wedding is decided by a priest.
2.Garba – No Gujarati wedding is complete without a garba ceremony. Garba is performed a few nights before the wedding day and the families of the bride and the bridegroom come together to perform raas or dance with dandiya sticks to wedding songs. This is a time of fun and frolic before the more serious wedding rituals start.
3.Pithi – The pithi is also performed at the home of the bride and bridegroom separately. The bride and bridegroom are anointed with a paste made of turmeric and essential oils to make the skin beautiful and glowing.
4.Ponkvu – The Gujarati wedding actually begins with the arrival of the bridegroom and the welcome of the bridegroom by the bride’s mother. The welcome also includes a mirthful event where the bride’s mother tries to grab the bridegroom’s nose, symbolically implying that the bridegroom had to rub his nose at the bride’s house to ask for her hand in marriage.
5.Jaimala – The Gujarati jaimala ceremony involves a formal introduction between the bride and the bridegroom. Initially the bridegroom is on a higher platform and then later on equal footing.
6.Madhuparka – A ceremony that is meant to make the bridegroom feel like a king, this ritual involves washing the groom’s feet and given honey and milk.
7.Kanya agamana – The bride is brought to the mandap by her maternal uncle and antarpat (curtain between the bride and the bridegroom) is slowly lowered so that the rituals can begin.
8.Kanyadaan, Hastha milap, Mangalpheras and Saptapadi – The rituals at the mandap start with the Sanskrit shlokas being recited by the pundit. The kanyadaan is the ceremony in which the father of the bride gives away his daughters hand in marriage to the bridegroom. The hastha milap involves the bride and the bridegroom holding hands and taking the mangalpheras around the sacred fire and the saptapadi is the ritual in which the bride and the bridegroom make seven vows to each other as they take seven steps together.
9.Saubhagyavalti bhava – Once the wedding vows are over, seven married women whisper good wishes in the right ear of the bride. They are meant to be giving her good advice for her married life.
10.Chero pakaryo – To relieve the serious atmosphere, this ritual has the groom catching the pallu of his mother in law asking for gifts and favors.
After the wedding ceremony is complete the bride is sent off with her new husband and is welcomed in the groom’s house in a ceremony called Ghar ni Laxmi.