Pre-wedding rituals in a Hindi or Bihari marriage are followed by both the Hindi brides and Hindi grooms prior to the wedding and each ritual has deep meaning. Here is a look at the typical pre-wedding rituals that happen in a Hindi matrimony:
Satyanarayan katha – This is a ceremony that is performed at the beginning of the Hindu Bihari wedding. In fact it commences with it. Here the groom's parents and the groom perform a prayer service and family members who take part in it are supposed to fast the whole day. Sacred fire lighted as part of the ceremony is kept lit throughout the proceedings.
Cheka – This is where the bride and groom get engaged. On an auspicious day family members in numbers of seven, nine or eleven in the groom’s family visit the bride’s place with gifts. After that there is an exchange of rings to formalize relationship and this ritual is once again conducted by the bride’s family.
Haldi Kutai – In this ritual, the groom’s mother and other married women grind turmeric into paste and send it to the bride’s house. The grinding happens amidst folk songs and this ceremony is likewise followed in the house of the bride.
Tilak – In this ritual, the bride’s brother visits the groom’s house to show their acceptance of the alliance. The bride’s brother applies Tilak on the groom’s forehead and gives gifts to him and his family members. The groom is presented with his attire and also with haldi paste. The bride’s brother is accompanied by the family’s accountant servant, barber and washer man. A dinner is given to him and he is given gifts to be given to his bride’s family and the bride who is given a nose ring, maang tikka and bridal attire.
Mandappachadan – This is the establishment of the Mandap for the marriage. In earlier days it was made from bamboos and decorated with banana trees and mango leaves.
Haldi – This ceremony takes place in an auspicious day, in the homes of both the bride and the groom. Turmeric paste from the in laws house in both families is smeared on the bride or the groom, amidst signing, fun and laughter. The ceremony is repeated on the morning of the wedding day.
Dhritdhaari and Matripoojan – These are two rituals carried in the house of both the bride and the groom. Its purpose is to seek the blessings of dead ancestors and to also get blessings of elderly members in the family. Parents of both the bride and the groom offer clothes and cash to such members for their upcoming marriage.
Silpoha – This ceremony is carried out by the groom’s mother in the early hours of the day of the wedding. Accompanied by her mother in law or senior women members of the family, they grind rice on a flat grinding stone, under cover of a chunni. While doing this they seek blessings of the gods and elder members of the family.
Imli Ghutal – This ceremony is performed by the groom’s maternal uncle to ward off the evil eye or any bad omens. The groom is fed a betel nut which he is held between his teeth. Half of it is taken away by his mother who eats it to show that she partakes the burden of bad omens falling on her son. After this the groom is given clothes as token of his maternal uncle-aunt’s blessings.