Here is the story of the wedding ceremony of the parents of our friend, interspersed with comments and additions regarding the Hindu wedding tradition.
“My dad’s name is Padurag Shankar Gookar.
He has three brothers and four sisters, they lived in a large house in Kolam. Both our families – dads and moms – come from the Chhetree caste, in which the traditional occupation was fighting and management.
The matchmaker was my mother’s parents’ neighbor. She went to her grandfather’s house with an offer, and then they came together to my mother’s parents’ house. Soon after, my grandfather and her dad visited their mother’s parents’ house so that they could get acquainted. In those times the young did not visit each other, they did not go to other houses in the guests.
Then my mother’s parents told my neighbor to tell my father that my mother liked him. A marriage was arranged for a month or so later. My mother was 23 years old at the time.
My mother’s name was Mahesha Sagdu Gookar as a bride. When she married Dad, he took his name instead of his father’s name – Sagdu – and a new name for himself. After the relationship is established, it is called Meena Padurag Gookar. The wife’s name is chosen jointly by the family members of the future husband.
Children from this relationship also bear the father’s name in second place after their own name. And so my name is Vishita Padurag Gookar, and my brother Vishnu Padurag Gookar. In the birth documents of children, there is only the father’s name, the mother’s name is not included in the documents.
My dad’s mom was dead, and his older brother’s wife was in the household. My parents lived in this house after the marriage.
When the decision was made daddy gave mom the mangasutra – a necklace combining gold and black stones – the most important attribute of a married woman. Mangasutra is obligatory in both Hindu and Muslim communities, although some wear it only on the occasion of great holidays or visits to the temple. In our community, the woman wears this necklace every day, just like the skinny green glass bracelets.
Then, an Indian priest was consulted to establish the mantle – a convenient date for the union. Most of the connections are made after the end of the Divali festival in November, and just before the New Year December 31 – which is also celebrated in India, regardless of the region and the calendar in it.
During this month, it was necessary to complete all the formalities and ceremonies by the set wedding date. In the first place, each house was celebrated more intensively than the usual puja for Ganesha embodied with wisdom and salvation.
Ganesh Pasha is the first element of any ceremony. In this case, the summoning of Lord Ganesha removes all obstacles that might arise during the wedding ritual.
To make good relationships with members of the future family, there is a time of personal gifts:
Dad presented mom a sari in a dominant pink shade, which she dressed for mandap – the most important wedding ritual. He gave his daughter – my mother, my grandma – a yellow sari for this occasion. The future son-in-law got a black suit from her.
A few days before the ceremony, there is time for all the prayers and prayers necessary for a successful relationship. Then the bride and groom collect wedding gifts together. Family and friends stand and give their young ones in turn.
The standard is that family members give young, more expensive gifts to equip the house with basic equipment, while friends and distant friends from the villages or other provinces bring cheaper gifts. The parents received on the occasion of their wedding, among others: a modern washing machine, an elegant set of furniture, a comfortable sofa, a steel set of pots, and sets of table glass in various styles.
In the week preceding the union’s conclusion, and immediately after the first registration visit, Sakharpuda, or Rupaya Naral, goes to the office. The meaning of this ritual is the final verbal consent of parents to a young union. Literally, ‘sakhar puda’ means ‘a packet of sweets’, which coincides with the fact that at the meeting the table is sumptuously filled with sweets. This ceremony is also the moment of exchanging wedding rings between the young.
The day before the wedding, Kanyadan, or Haldi Ceremony, is performed – a paste based on coconut oil and turmeric lubricates the face, hair, hands, and legs of the bride, which guarantees her long years of health and dazzling beauty throughout the marriage. The family and neighbors come to the guests and sing together.
Marathi’s wedding tradition (of the states of Goa and Maharastra) requires that my uncle, my mother’s older brother, be presented with her thin, green glass bracelets that she carries during the marriage ceremony. The grandmother, on the other hand, my mother, gives her gold bracelets as a gift. Their number – minimum two! – depends on the status of the family, but they must be golden.
Before the marriage ceremony – but sometimes after it, as it was in the case of my parents’ wedding – nine planets from the Grahashanti ritual are called from the name, which literally means ‘peace for the home’. This ceremony takes place in the future home of the bride and groom – there are many – 5 or 7 – priests. Together with family members, they perform a puja, arrange butter lamps at home and sprinkle rice.
During the ceremony, my mother was dressed in a colorful sari, which she received from her dad. In the color scheme of a wedding, sari must necessarily occur red, as well as other colors – it can not be black or white. In addition, she had large gold earrings, a golden necklace around her neck, a large gold nath – a nose ring, and a bangatilo (maang tikka) hanging on her forehead – also of gold.
Daddy was dressed in a suit of black color, which he received as a gift from his grandmother – my mother’s mother. The groom paints the future wife tikka with turmeric and on the forehead, at the base of the hair a marriage sign – sindur – with red paint, which from now on she must have every day – until the death of her husband. Then pujas and sung mantras are celebrated.
The ritual involves a sevenfold bypass of the mandapas – the temple where the ceremony takes place – and the making of seven promises. Seven piles of rice are sprinkled on the road – each promise is sealed by a future husband with a leg of one heap. During this time, the mantra is singing seven times.
Here are the seven holy promises of marriage in Hindu culture:
- The groom says: ‘om esha ekapadi bhava iti prathaman’ which means ‘You will offer me food and help me in every possible way. I will love you and ensure prosperity and happiness for you and our children. ‘The bride says in response: ‘dhanam dhanyam pade vadet’ – ‘I am responsible for the house, the farm, the finances, and the food.’
- The bridegroom: ‘om oorje jara dastayaha’ – ‘We will jointly protect our home and our children.’Bride: ‘kutumbum rakshayishyammi sa aravindharam’ – ‘I will be on your side as your courage and strength, I am happy for your happiness, in exchange, you will love me completely.’
- The bridegroom: ‘om rayas santu joradastayaha’ – ‘May the prosperity and wealth in our family increase and may we actually try to educate our children so that they will live long in happiness.’Bride: ‘rava bhakti as vadedvachacha’ – ‘For the rest of my life I will love only you because you are my husband, every other man in my life will be secondary. I vow to remain clean.’
- The bridegroom: ‘om mayo bhavyas jaradastaya ha’ – ‘You have brought holiness to my life and made me complete. Let us be blessed with obedient and dignified children. ‘Bride: ‘lalayami cha pade vadet’ – ‘I will shower you with joy from the head to the tips of your fingers and try to please you in every possible way.’
- The groom: ‘om prajabhyaha santu jaradastayaha’ – ‘You are my best friend and you always wish me the best. You have entered my life to ennoble it. Be blessed. ‘Bride: ‘arte arba sapade vadet’ – ‘I promise to love and adore you as long as I live. Your happiness is my happiness, and my sadness is your sadness. I will trust you and respect you and try to fulfill all your wishes.’
- The groom: ‘rutubhyah shat padi bhava’ – ‘Now that you have gone through six more steps with me, my heart is filled with great happiness. Will you always fill my heart with happiness in this way?’To which the lady replies: ‘yajna hom shashthe vacho vadet ‘-‘ I will always be on your side. ‘
- The groom: ‘om sakhi jaradastayahga’ – ‘Now we are a husband and wife, we are one. You are me and I am you for eternity. ‘The bride accepts this statement and responds: ‘attramshe sakshino vadet pade’ – ‘Now I am your wife. We will always love, respect and cherish. ‘
After all seven promises have been made, the puja is celebrated again. Next, the groom dresses the future wife’s finger on the second toe – both left and right – for three silver jodavi – toes on the toes. My mother, as a married woman, wears jodavi all her life, just like a mangasutra necklace and tikka and sidur on her forehead.
Then the whole company goes to the house, where the wedding feast takes place.
On the wedding day, you can not eat meat or fish, but only vegetable dishes – mushroom curry, egg curry, rice, daal, puri, kabuli khan, salads, ice cream, cold drinks. On this day, there are no poor or richer in the village, all guests are treated equally and everyone can come to refresh themselves and make a wish. In total, about 100 people appeared at my parents’ wedding.
The next day, the feast continued throughout the day and my mummy prepared everything for the guests, with about 15 people helping – both women and men. On this day, you can already eat meat – apart from vegetable dishes and sweet dishes, also chicken dishes, goats and fried fish were prepared.
After the union was concluded, the parents went to the office. A visit to the office is three times when marrying. The first time comes before the ceremony to submit the documents of the young, who contain the relationship, the second to confirm the conclusion of the relationship. At the first and second visit the official asks the young key question – ‘Do you like him/her?’. If any of them answered for example – ‘No, I love another!’ – then the relationship can not be concluded. He asked my mother and my dad about it both at the first and the second visit. The third visit is only to collect the document about the marriage.
After marriage, my mother takes care of the house, cleans, cooks, and runs a shop with her dad. Her ordinary day starts at 5 am. She cleans the house, then rinse the house wet, cleans the kitchen and toilets. He cooks breakfast for the whole family and milk tea for everyone. Then he goes to open the store – our family runs two grocery stores and our entire family shares their responsibilities in this interest.
In the beginning, we lived in Kolam, together with my grandfather, my dad’s father. But when my father’s next brother got married, the house was too small for us. I was 10 years old and moved to Patnem, where we have a house near our store.
Now the times are different and the young people meet in pubs and tee shops, which then includes love marriage – i.e. relationships for love. I do not go to such places. My mother advises me not to pay attention to the boys in the village, better to find a good husband later when I finish my studies and I will have my job. I know that if I started to be interested in boys now, my teaching would go a lot worse, yes, I was the leading one among my peers.