Characterized as one of the richest communities in India, it is no surprise when Marwari weddings are referred to as grand and opulent. Known to be gifted with strong values from youth, couples from this community tend to have weddings that reflect important customs and rituals.
The union between the boy and girl is marked with the Sagai ceremony which is the formal engagement wherein the male members of the girl’s family visit the groom’s house. The bride’s brother applies tilak to the groom’s forehead after which they give him gifts which include a sword, sweets and clothes thus formalizing the bond between the couple.
Once formally engaged, a havan takes place at both the bride and groom’s house prior to the wedding. This pooja known as Ganpati Stahpna is performed to place an idol of Lord Ganesh in order to remove all obstacles prior to the couple beginning their new journey.
Like all other Indian weddings, in Marwari weddings too, this journey of togetherness includes a haldi ceremony. Known as the Pithi Dastoor, this ceremony happens for both the bride and the groom wherein they are beautified with the effects of the turmeric paste. After this ceremony, they do not step out of their house until the wedding day. Though the couple has to stay in their respective homes till the wedding day, the celebrations for the forthcoming wedding do not stop. Gatherings are held separately for the men and the women. Traditional ghoomar dances are performed at the ladies gatherings whilst the men’s gatherings have singers performing for the guests. It is forbidden for members of the opposite gender to be present at the others’ gathering.
Since Marwari weddings are a lavish affair, the Mahira Dastoor ceremony is a reflection of the assistance given to families to manage the expenses. This ritual happens in both the bride and groom’s house wherein the maternal uncle is welcomed by his sister and he distributes sweets, cash and jewellery to the family as a mark of helping his sister manage the wedding festivities of her children.
Closer to the wedding, the groom goes through the Janev which is a thread ceremony. After a havan a scared thread is tied around the groom. This now makes him eligible for marriage, in other words eligible to take on the responsibility as the head of his new family. While the groom gets ready to take on his responsibility as a husband, the bride goes through the Palla Dastoor ritual a day prior to the wedding. On this day she receives her wedding outfit and jewellery from the groom’s family.
While the bride adorns herself in her wedding attire on the day of the wedding, the groom goes through the Nikasi ceremony wherein the sehra is tied to his head by his brother in law and his sister in law applies kohl to his eyes. The groom is now ready to make his way to the wedding venue.
The groom makes his way with a Baraat that only consists of male members, each carrying a majestic sword. The groom enters the wedding venue hitting the toran, a decorative flower arrangement on the door, with a stick of neem to ward off evil. After the Toranchar, the bride’s mother welcomes the groom with an aarti. Once this ritual is over, the bride enters the venue with her face fully covered. The couple exchange garlands in the Jaimala ceremony after which they take three pheras and are then led to the mandap for the rest of the rituals.
At the mandap the Granthi Bandhan is performed where part of the bride and groom’s attire are tied in a knot by the groom’s sister or a priest. Once this has been done the couple perform the Pheras where they encircle the sacred fire four times.
Once the pheras have been performed, the bride and groom offer puffed rice to the holy fire. This ceremony known as the Ashwahrohan symbolizes wishes and prosperity for the newlyweds. The bride then moves to the left of her husband as part of the Vamang Stahpana symbolizing that he accepts her and establishes her in his heart. The groom then performs the Sindurdaan where he puts vermillion on the bride’s head. The bride and groom then walk seven steps, Saptapadi, while making seven promises to each other.
The bride receives a bag full of money by her father in law in the Anjhala Bharaai ceremony. This is a way of welcoming her to the family and making her away of the responsibilities. The couple now touch the feet of the elders and take their blessings in order to begin their new journey.