There are several colorful and interesting pre-wedding rituals that take place in a Maharashtrian wedding. Some of the prominent and important rituals of Maharashtrian wedding are given below -
Sakharpuda is basically an engagement ceremony that takes place a few days before the wedding. For this ceremony, the groom`s parents give the bride a saree as a token of her acceptance in their family. Her arms are adorned with green glass bangles, symbolizing her engagement. She is then given a packet of sakhar puda or sugar, which symbolizes the spreading of sweetness in their lives. Invitation cards are conventionally printed after this ceremony. The factual meaning of Sakhar Puda is a packet of sugar that is exchanged between the two families.
A couple of days before the wedding, a feast is arranged called the Kelvan, is organized in both the bride`s as well as the bridegroom`s home for the complete family gathered in that home. A puja of the Kuladevta or the family deity is also performed in the evening before the wedding.
Haldi is yet another custom special to Maharashtrian. The bridegroom and the bride have their own celebrations in their individual homes. Women from each of the families get together to apply a mixture of turmeric, sandalwood and cream to the face and body of the bridegroom and the bride. The soon-to-be bride and the groom then take a ceremonial bath in their individual homes and are not permitted to go out of the home after this ceremony.
Chuda is a ceremony specially done for the bride and her women friends to share the fun of wearing bright and sparkling green bangles. Green glass bangles are considered propitious because green is the color of new life, creativity, everlasting relationship and rejuvenation. A bangle man is invited to the home and each woman chooses her own, amidst songs, laughter and jokes. The bride is given the green glass bangles ceremonially and with her mother`s help, she wears them mixed together with gold, pearl or diamond bangles as according to the status of the family. The bride can remove the chuda only one month after the wedding. Married women adorn themselves with such chudas on all festive or religious occasions.
Five married woman come with a copper vessel and mango leaves that are weaved together over a coconut and filled with holy water go round the place arranged with neem twigs from left to right five times. The bride is sitting in the center while this ritual is being performed. Then these ladies pour the holy water, which is a symbol of driving away evil spirits. After the bath is given to the bride her maternal uncle comes, breaks the neem twigs, and asks the bride to leave and enter the house.
Antarpat is actually a silk shawl that is used to separate the bride and the groom till the actual moment of their marriage. Her mama brings the bride to the venue. The Bride is also accompanied by two of her sisters carrying an oil wick lamp and a kalash full of water, decorated with mango leaves with a coconut sitting high on the top. After the lavish meal, the boy goes centre-stage for the antarpat accompanies by all of his sisters carrying an oil wick lamp and a kalash filled with water, festooned with mango leaves with a coconut placed atop. The bride looks westwards and the groom faces towards the east.
The boy and girl hold a heavily decorated garland throughout the ceremony. This ritual is a set of eight series of mantras, with invocations to almost all Gods and Goddesses. After each series is over the priest recites: "Shubha Mangala Saavadhaan!"
The guests throw rice on the bride and the groom. This is for the first time that the bride and the groom see each other. They exchange the garlands. The sisters dip their fingers into the kalash and wipe the eyes of the bride and groom.
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