Attended a Kannada wedding before? Well, many of you might not have watched weddings of the Kannadigas (as the people of Karnataka call themselves). Those who are interested in learning what goes into the making of a Kannada wedding a delightful affair must read on.
Like most weddings in southern India, Kannada weddings too display diversified styles, rituals and customs. They are simple yet elegant affairs. Kannada marriage ceremonies are similar to traditional Hindu marriages. In Kannada weddings, one can witness the following of age-old traditions. Moreover, every region of the state has its own wedding rituals but the basic structure is the same. The weddings are short and simple that lasts for around 2-3 days and are usually performed during day time.
In this guide, you’ll explore the different rituals and customs followed in a Kannada wedding.
If it’s an arranged marriage, the horoscope of the prospective bride and groom are matched by a priest in the presence of both the families. When the stars are aligned perfectly, the parents of the bride and groom agree to fix the marriage. The two families exchange plates filled with betel leaves and betel nuts. The ritual of Nischay Tamulam is akin to a formal engagement ceremony. The priest also finalizes the auspicious time and date for the wedding.
This Kannada wedding ritual is performed one day before the wedding. It is organized in the respective homes of the bride and groom to offer Pooja to God asking blessings for a smooth wedding ceremony without any hitches.
This ritual is similar to Tamil and Telugu weddings. In Kashi Yatre, the groom acts to get angry that he’s not finding a suitable bride and pretends to leave the house and go on a pilgrimage. His maternal uncle intervenes and offers him a suitable bride. The groom then changes his mind and decides to stay back home and get married to his bride. This sounds like an interesting watch!
On the day of the wedding, before leaving for the wedding, the groom visits all the temples in his neighborhood to pray for blessings. In addition to this, every item that will be used in the wedding ceremony is placed before the Lord Ganesha to sanctify the objects and seek his divine blessings for a prosperous wedding.
The day of the marriage begins with the mandap pooja as the first ritual. The mandap or the stage and the wedding hall is purified by the priest before the ceremony begins.
The groom and his entourage are received at the entrance of the venue by five sumangalis or married women. They perform aarti and welcome the groom. Now the bride’s father escorts the groom to the wedding mandap. He cleanses the groom’s feet and makes him sit at the mandap and performs aarti to honor him. Later, the groom is presented with a set of silk dhoti and a scarf called pitambar which he has to wear during the entire wedding ceremony.
It’s time for the bride to make her entrance to the mandap. Her face remains shielded with a fan made with peacock feathers until she is seated. Moreover, a cloth curtain is placed between the groom and the bride to prevent them from seeing each other. The priest starts chanting the holy mantras and the partition is then gradually removed. Now the couple put garlands on each other three times.
Next follows the ritual where the parents of the bride give away their daughter to her new husband. It’s equivalent to a kanyadaan ritual in other Hindu marriages. The right hand of the bride is placed on the right hand of the groom. And above the palm of the bride a coconut and a betel leaf are placed. The parents of the bride then pour holy water on top of the couple’s joined hands as their blessings and approval of the union.
Then it's time for the Saptapadi ritual where the bride and groom have to walk seven rounds around the fire. But before that a knot is tied between the loose ends of the bride’s and the groom’s attire symbolizing the eternal bond between the two souls. After that, the groom ties a sacred thread dipped in turmeric around the bride’s neck. Yes, it’s the same as mangalsutra. This concludes the wedding and now the two are officially considered husband and wife.
Let’s move over to some fun activities now. Okhli is an ice-breaking interaction between the newly married couple and the two families. The groom’s ring is dropped in a vessel filled with milk or colored water. The bride and her brother are given three rounds to find the ring by dipping their hands inside the vessel. If the bride manages to find the ring then it’s believed that she’ll be able to handle any marital life challenge in the future.
After all the rituals and games have ended, it’s finally time for the bride to say goodbye to her family. In the Kannada wedding tradition, the bride is sent off to her new house with gifts that are required to set up a new home such as furniture, utensils, sweets, etc. Besides, the brother of the bride accompanies his sister to her husband’s home, stays overnight, and returns the next day. Another unique feature of a Kannada wedding!
The bride is given a warm welcome by the groom’s family on her arrival at her in-law’s house. Her mother-in-law performs a welcoming aarti. The bride then overturns a vessel filled with rice on the ground at the entrance door before she steps inside the house that is Griha Pravesh.
Name change ceremony
During this event, the bridegroom decides a new name for his wife. He has to write the name on a plate of rice using his ring. The bride accepts the plate indicating that she agrees to her new name.
Visiting the bride’s house
On the second day of the marriage, the parents of the bride come to the groom’s house to take the couple to their house. The newlyweds are supposed to stay at least for a night before returning to the groom’s place.
The wedding reception
A grand reception is organized by the groom’s family to formally introduce the newlywed couple to their relatives, friends and guests. You will find the party packed with lots of delicious food and music.
A Kannadiga bride is the cynosure of all eyes as she adorns an ornamental look. White, red and gold is the best color combination a bride can wear during her special day. Typically, she wears a 9 yard length Naavari saree. Besides, her hair is done in a high bun and braid style that is further adorned with lots of fresh flowers like jasmine and rose. To complete her look she wears elaborate gold jewelry. The ornaments include a maang tikka, several gold necklaces, jhumkas on her ears, and a kamarbandh (a type of belt) around her waist. Bright colored bangles are also worn by the bride.
The Kannada groom dresses up in a white dhoti or veshti in typical south Indian style. To pair it, he wears a kurta or a sherwani over it. During the wedding rituals he has to wear a white silk scarf to match with his veshti which is known as angaveshtram. The groom also wears a turban known as pheta or pitambar either in white or orange color. He also carries a stick that has been blessed by the priest in a temple before the wedding day.
A Kannada wedding is sure to charm you with its simple elegance!