Marathi people are natives of the state of Maharashtra and are very simple in their living style which is reflected in their weddings as well. They follow several rituals in their matrimony ceremonies, which symbolize the beauty of their marriage. The Maratha matrimony is organized in the morning. Like any other community, the Maharashtra people also believe in horoscope matching and pay a lot of attention to this aspect. The matching of stars and planets is paid close attention to, as they firmly believe that the future married life of the couple depends on the matching of horoscopes.
To mark the engagement ceremony of the boy and the girl, both the families exchange sugar and the ceremony is known as Sakhar Puda. This ceremony is informal one and the next ceremony known as Wang Nischay is the formal engagement ceremony. Here they seek the blessings of family deities or “kuldevtas” and the ceremony is performed in the homes of both the boy and the girl. After the ceremony, both the families meet along with a priest to finalize the wedding date.
A day before the wedding in a Maratha Matrimony, “Haldi Chadawat” ceremony is observed where mango leaves are applied that are immersed in haldi or turmeric paste. This is applied from the feet and gradually upwards on the whole body of the both the bride and the groom at their respective places. The wedding day begins with the prayer to Lord Ganesha and sweets are also offered. It is the general firm belief of most Indians, that before any auspicious work, one must seek the blessings from God.
This is done before all the rituals and customs of the wedding to accomplish it successfully without any interruptions. Since the wedding in Maratha matrimony takes place in the morning, the groom arrives at the venue of wedding on the day time along with his entourage. The family members of the groom, his friends close relatives and all acquaintances accompany the groom. There is a lot of dancing and music that happens. To welcome of the groom and his family members, a puja known as “seeman puja” is organized. After welcoming them, the father of the bride washes the feet of the groom as a mark of respect for him. The groom is also showered him with gifts and blessings for his happy married life ahead.
The parents of the bride offer a lavish and sumptuous ceremonial breakfast for the entire family. Simultaneously with the breakfast, the bride performs a “Gowrihar Puja”.
The entire ceremony reflects an atmosphere of joy and happiness, which is enjoyed by both the bride and groom and their families as well.
The bride is brought to the mandap where wedding ceremony is performed as soon as the auspicious time for the wedding arrives. As the “antarpat” ceremony takes place, the bride and groom are forbidden to look at each other. In this ceremony, a partition made up of silk cloth is placed between the bride and the groom. The priest chants several wedding ceremonial mantras after when the antarpat is removed and the couple looks at each other. During this ceremony, the guests shower unbroken rice over the couple as a mark of blessings.
Next ceremony in the Maratha matrimony is the “kanyadaan” and “saptapadi” wherein the father of the bride gives away his daughter to the groom and the couple circle around the holy fire seven times along with the chanting of various mantras by the priests. This ceremony is also known as saat phere, which has, a lot of significance attached to it in Hindu religion.
After this ceremony, the wedding is over which is followed by a reception where the guests are offered sweets by the newly couple. The family of the groom eats first and is followed by the bride’s family. This is one of the unique features of Maratha matrimony.
After the reception is over, the bride leaves her father’s house and proceeds towards her new home. This ceremony is also known as ‘grihapravesha’ where the mother of the groom welcomes the bride, who is the new addition to the family.