Archive

Please reload

Tags

Please reload

Guyanese-Goan Wedding

May 25, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Photos Done Wright

Event Planning: Events Cherished

Decor: Elegant Affairs

Catering: Moghul

Staffing & Valet: Events Cherished

Ceremony Venue: Client's Residence

Reception Venue: Venetian NJ

Photo & Video: Damion Edwards

 

Guyanese Wedding Traditions:

 

The festivities commence with the engagement or ‘mangni’.  The father of the bride places the engagement ring on the groom’s finger on behalf of the bride in a simple mangni ceremony a few months before the wedding. The saying is ‘chat mangni, pat biya” – Quick engagement and quicker wedding.

 

The Tilak ceremony was an ancient custom practiced by indentured immigrants. It allowed the bride’s father to visit the home of his future son-in-law with other male members of the family and welcome him into the family, present him with gifts and place a tilak or special mark on his forehead. Tilak has virtually faded from the list of ceremonies preceding the marriage. The wedding day is preceded by the matikore, sangeet and mehendi. These pre-rites prepare the bride and groom for their new stage in life and allow them to share special moments with members of the family. They also provide an opportunity for merriment and feasting.

 

The matikore or dig dutty as it is popularly called in Guyana is essentially prayers to Mother Earth or Dharti puja and is done two days prior to the wedding. ‘Matti’ means earth and ‘kor’ means digging. The same rites are done separately at the homes of the bride and groom. At the bride’s home, her mother wends her way to a clean spot some distance from their home and to the accompaniment of the tassa drums and traditional songs offer prayers for the fertility and prosperity of her daughter’s marriage. Matikore has traditionally been dominated by the female family members. After applying sindoor, (the mark of married women) to the foreheads of the married women assembled there, female relatives would hoist the tray aloft after collecting a small sample of earth to take to the home for the puja. At her home, the bride traditionally garbed in yellow, symbolizing fertility, sits with the pandit and performs puja. She receives a protective thread or raksha sutra on her wrist and the hardi or dye is blessed. The dye which is said to have restorative, cleansing and beautifying powers is smeared on the bodies of bride and groom after the matikore.

 

Before the bride is escorted by her mother to her specially prepared chamber where she stays out of sight until the wedding day, five married ladies or little girls engage in chumawan. The bride sits with her hands filled with rice and a gold bangle; symbols of economic prosperity. Each child or lady would take a small quantity of that rice and khus grass and touch the head, shoulders, hands, knees of the bride five times. Each time the rice is cast away ensuring all negative forces are removed from the bride’s person.

 

The remainder of the evening is filled with wedding music and dance as the ladies. Tassa has always been the main form of music although many persons have added recorded music to the entertainment. Vibrant traditional marriage songs are also sung by the older ladies to the accompaniment of the dholak played by a lady.  All those present are treated to mithai and a light meal of channa and phoulorie.

 

 

The following day, friends and family meet at the ‘wedding house’ for the sangeet night. This is a very old custom and in the past talented singers would arrive from all over the country and perform traditional wedding songs as well as tent or taan singing for the enjoyment of the guests. With the loss of many of the older singers, live singing today consists mainly of filmi wedding songs. In Guyana, this night is also called the cook night and men and women cut up vegetables for the next day. The cook night has always provided the opportunity for dancing, fun and teasing of the bride and groom. The bride’s hands can be adorned with the mehendi on this night as well.

 

Elaborate mehendi nights even before the matikor are now trendy.  Female friends and relatives of the bride are invited to her home where they reminisce on their childhood, tease her, sing, dance and make merry. Someone skilled in applying the mehendi applies intricate designs on the bride’s hands and feet and even on her friends. With new technology mehendi paste can be bought in tubes or cones, making it easy to apply. Stick-on mehendi tattoos are also fashionable! The artist applying the mehendi to the bride’s hands carefully weaves the groom’s name among the designs telling the blushing bride that the groom has to find all the letters of his name on her wedding day. She is expected to keep the paste on for many  hours as it has been said the brighter the colour on the hands the more the bride will be loved by her husband.

 

VIVAAHA SANSKAARA VIDHIH

HERE BEGINS THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY

 

The main parties in the marriage ceremony are:

    VARA:                           The Dulha or Bridegroom.

    KANYAA:                     The Dulhan or Bride.

    KANYAA DAATAA:   The Bride’s Father.

 

The wedding day brings with it a buzz of excitement. Early in the morning the mothers would go to the home of a female relative for the lawa. Rikki Jai’s “Mor Tor” vividly describes the exchange of parched rice (mor lawa tor lawa) between the mother and the female relative. The tassa would be heard in rhythmic sequences, each beat telling of a different event on the wedding day.

 

Planning for the day begins early in the morning when dozens of family members take to their kitchens and backyards to cook all the food for the reception. Guyanese people (at least my Guyanese people) embrace as tradition the idea of cooking all their own food for religious events. Curries of pumpkin, mango and potato are mixed in cast-iron pots the size of tractor-trailer tires. Rice is cooked and dal is boiled. No meat, however, and definitely — hold onto your flasks — no alcohol. The rum is reserved for the day after the wedding, when a Western-style wedding reception is held.

 

Guests attending a Hindu wedding are mesmerized by the vivid colours and décor. Whether in a mandir or home, the mandap or maro or wedding canopy has always been the focal point. With the link to India strengthened by exposure to Bollywood movies, mandaps have become intricate and works of art. From those that can be rented to those constructed by family members, they reflect the blend of past and present. Mandaps were at one period of our history constructed purely out of bamboo, festooned with crepe paper or tinsel decorations, flowers and fruits and vegetables which were added to encourage fertility in the marriage. Even now, bamboo, which is a symbol of fertility, has a major role in Hindu weddings.

 

The bridal trousseau has perhaps undergone the most significant changes over the last 168 years. Brides dressed in dyed yellow cotton are but a faded memory. Access to imported Indian garments resulted in Hindu brides being draped in flamboyant red or white chiffon or silk saris generously encrusted with sequins. Even these have now been replaced by an array of designer ghararas, lehengas, fusion outfits and saris in a range of brilliant hues.

 

Over the decades, the Hindu bride has consistently been adorned with real gold jewelry be it the heirloom galihar or tilarie or simple pieces of jewelry as it is the belief that gold is fortuitous. Exposure to Bollywood films, travel to India and the Indian diaspora have resulted in brides opting for exquisite stone-work costume jewelry, modish hair styles and chic bridal outfits. The groom today can also be choosy about his apparel. He can coordinate his oufit with the bride and appear in elegant achkan suits or sherwani, reminiscent of India’s nobility with matching turban. However, unlike the brides, many grooms still continue to tread the traditional path of their predecessors, arriving garbed in a yellow or pink jora jama complete with lavishly embellished mowr.

                           

           

MILAAP

At the entrance to the wedding hall, the women from the bride’s family wait with gifts for the groom.

 

Upon the arrival of the marriage procession (Baraat), both the fathers of the bride and the groom face each other, (East-West), while the Pandit performs “Aachman”, then recites the Swasti Vaachan and other appropriate prayers.

 

The Bride’s father (Daataa) then formally greets his Samdhee (groom’s father) by embracing him. He gives him a monetary gift.

 

                       

DWAAR POOJAA

The girl’s father now formally welcomes the groom. The groom faces East, while the girl’s father faces West. The Pandit leads them in prayers to Sri Ganesha for the success of the marriage.

  1. CHANDAN: The Girl’s father puts Chandan on the Vara’s forehead.

  2. RICE GRAINS: He puts some grains of rice on the Vara’s forehead.

  3. FLOWERS: Offers flowers       

                   

PARACHAN

The Groom now proceeds towards the entrance of the yard where the bride’s mother and other female relatives welcome him with the “PARACHAN” ceremony. She puts a Tika on his forehead, throws 4 flour-loys in the 4 directions, does aratee, circles a lota with water over his head 3 times, and then pours a little on the ground. She then gives him a monetary gift. The other women do likewise.

 

JANWAAS

The bride’s father escorts his samdhee, the groom and other relatives to the JANWAAS. Janwaas is place of rest provided by the bride’s father for the wedding party (groom and baraat) who may be in need of refreshment after a long journey. The Pandit representing the bride’s father welcomes them and recites appropriate verses.

 

The bride’s father then places the food and drink in his samdhee’s hands. After consecration by the Pandit, he feeds the groom and offers him something to drink.

 

NEHCHOOR

While the rites of “Janwaas” are being performed, the bride is brought into the Mandap (Maaro). She sits in front of the Kalasha. Her mother sits behind her wearing the patmauri. Seven (7) mango leaves are used for this ritual. The brother of the bride’s mother circles each of the seven leaves over the mother and bride’s heads and gives the bride the tips of the stems to bite. She keeps the pieces in her mouth. She is given some water in her mouth, and she deposits the pieces of the mango stems, along with the water, into her mother’s hand. The mother swallows them all. The brother gives a gift to his sister. Other relatives also give her gifts. The feet and palms of the bride and her mother are then decorated. The mother takes off the patmauri and puts it on the bride.

 

The Pandit enters the Maaro and performs POOJAA to GAUREE, GANAPATI and LAKSHMEE. SANKALPA .

 

 

TAAGPAAT

The Vara’s (groom) elder brother (Barka) now enters the Maaro. He does Aachman , wears a Paithee and puts on the Taag Paat on the Bride with this mantra.

 

On behalf of the groom, he also presents her with clothes and jewellery.

He touches the gift to the Kalasha 3 times, reading the following:

He then presents her and the Bhoujee with gifts.

 

THE BRIDE RETURNS INSIDE THE HOUSE

 

VARA POOJAA

The Daataa leads the Vara to the Mandap. He puts 5 mounds of rice and flowers on the Aasana (Peerha). Both Vara and Daataa hold the Aasana and touch the Kalasha 5 times.

The Daataa shakes off the rice and flowers on the Vedee and puts down the Aasana in its place; the Groom stands behind it. The Daataa addresses him thus:

 

VISHTARA

The Daataa gives a Kusha mat or Kusha grass to the Vara to sit on.

.

The Vara takes the Kusha mat and sits on it. The Vara sits facing East, while the Daataa sits on the opposite side. PAADYA

 

The Daataa offers water to the Vara. The Vara, using a mango leaf, washes his own feet first, followed by the Daataa, reciting the following mantra.

 

MADHUPARKA

The Daataa now offers Madhuparka (ghee, honey and dahi) to the Vara saying:

The Vara accepts it and stirs it. He then sprinkles some on the ground.  He then tastes it 3 times and puts the rest on the ground. The mantras are:

- AACHAMAN

All over the body.

 

Om vaang-me aasye’stu.    [Lips]

Om nasorme praano’stu.     [Nose]

Om aksh-norme chak-shur-astu.  [Eyes]

Om karma-yorme srotram-astu.  [Ears]

Om baah-worme balam-astu. [Arms]

Om oor-worme ojo’stu.    [Thighs]

Om arishtaani me’ngaani

tanoos-tanwaa me saha santu.         

[All over the body]

 

 

HONOURING THE COW

The Daataa gives the Vara some grass to hold. The Vara recites:

 

The Vara gives up the grass reciting:

VARA VASTRA DAANA

The Daataa presents the Vara with a yellow Dhoti. He places it on the Aasan and sits on it. The mantras are:

BRIDE ENTERS MANDAP

At this stage the Kanya (Bride) enters the Mandap and sits on a separate seat, or, on the right of the Groom. She performs SANKALPA.

 

The Vara and the Kanya face each other and repeats what the pandit advises.

 

KANYAA DAANA

The Bride’s Mother now enters the Mandap. Turmeric (Dye) is applied in the right palms of both the Kanyaa and Vara. A flour-loy with money or gold enclosed is placed in the Kanyaa’s right hand.

The Daataa places the Kanyaa’s right hand into the Vara’s right hand, reciting the following:

 

The Kanya’s brother pours water from a lota upon the loy into a thaali with the following SANKALPA.

The Vara takes the Kanya’s hand and recites matra

 

THE VARA ADDRESSES THE KANYA.

 

THE KANYAA OFFERS MADHUPARKA TO THE VARA

 

 

THE KANYA WILL NOW SAY MANTRAS

THE DAATA NOW RECITES THE FOLLOWING

 

HAVAN

THE VARA LIGHTS THE HAVAN KUNDA WITH THIS MANTRA

 

THE VARA OFFERS GHEE

 

LAAJAA HOMA

The lawa from both sides are mixed together. The Kanyaa places her open-hands on top of the Vara’s open hands. Her brother then fills her hands with lawa. The Kanyaa and Vara make three (3) offerings into the fire with 3 mantras.  

 

PAANI GRAHAN

(HAND-GRASPING CEREMONY)

THE VARA TAKES THE KANYA’S RIGHT HAND

 

 

ASHMAAROHAN

STONE-CLIMBING RITUAL

The Kanyaa and the Vara place their feet on a stone and recite this mantra.

 

VASTRA BANDHAN

The Kanyaa and Vara’s garments are tied together with rice, flower, and coin with this mantra.

 

AGNI PRADAKSHINA

They go around the Fire 7 times, offering Lawa into the Fire. The Kanyaa leads for the first 4 times, and the Vara the next 3. The Kanya’s brother fills their hands each time. Appropriate mantras are recited during this rite.

THE VARA LEADS 3 TIMES

 

THE Kanyaa’s brother puts the remaining Laawa in his sister’s hands for offering into the fire with this mantra.

 

The Vara offers the remaining Ghee into the fire.

 

SAPTA PADI

(THE 7 - STEP RITUAL)

The Kanyaa and Vara make seven steps from the South to the North-eastern direction.

 

FIRST STEP

The Vara says:

 

“May God lead you to happiness and abundance of food.”

 

The Kanyaa responds:

 

“You have made me responsible for the wealth and foodstuff in the home, so that I may be able to discharge my duties of serving the household.”

 

 

SECOND STEP

The Vara says:

 

“May God bless you with Strength.”

 

The Kanyaa responds:

 

“I shall nurture the family and foster harmony by sweet and firm speech. In adversity, I shall be firm; in happiness, I shall be happy.”

 

THIRD STEP

The Vara says:

“May God lead you to Prosperity.”

 

The Kanyaa responds:

 

“I shall always be faithful to you, and we shall have pleasure together. Thought of another person will never enter my mind.”

 

FOURTH STEP

The Vara says:

“May the All-pervading God lead you to Bliss and happiness in your new home.”

 

The Kanyaa responds:

“I shall adorn myself with jewels and clothing only for you, and no one else.”

 

FIFTH STEP

The Vara says:

 

“May the All-pervading God lead you to the Sharing and Partnership of Resources.”

 

The Kanyaa responds:

 

“I shall always worship God for our welfare. I shall always be devoted to you.”

SIXTH STEP

The Vara says:

“May God lead you to the Joys of the Seasons.”

 

The Kanyaa responds:

 

“I shall always be with you when making sacrifices, offerings, or giving charity, and any other act for attaining wealth, desires and piety.”

 

SEVENTH STEP

The Vara says:

 

“You are my dearest Friend. May we be faithful unto each other. May God lead you for the fulfillment of these vows.”

 

The Kanyaa responds:

“All gathered here have witnessed this marriage whereby you have become my husband in strict accordance with the sacred vows.”

 

WATER IS SPRINKLED ON THE VARA & KANYAA

SOORYA DARSHANA

The Vara and Kanyaa look at the Sun as a witness to the marriage.

HRIDAYA SPARSHANA

The Vara places his right hand on the Kanyaa’s left shoulder.

 

EXCHANGE OF VOWS AND PROMISES

THE VARA SAYS

SINDOORA DAANA

The Kanyaa now moves over and sits on the left side of the Vara. The Vara applies Sindoor 7 times on the forehead (hair-parting) of the Kanyaa, moving his hand upward.

Four married young ladies (whose husbands are alive) apply sindoor on her head with this statement.

 

EXCHANGE OF RINGS

 

EXCHANGE OF MALAS

MANGAL SUTRA

The Vara puts on the MANGAL SUTRA on the Kanyaa to mark her new Grihastha stage.

 

HAVAN

The Vara and Kanyaa now perform Swishtakrit Havan.

 

VISHWA KALYAANA PRAARTHNAA

AASHIRVAADA

 

 

END OF THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY

       

 

                           

               

 

Please reload

Recent Posts