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- Here’s Why Turmeric (Haldi) Is Used In Indian Wedding Celebrations
Here’s Why Turmeric (Haldi) is Used in Indian Wedding Celebrations
Sarika Rana | Updated: October 29, 2017 12:36 IST
- The wedding season is here and there’s a lot of excitement in the air
- Indian weddings are full of many colourful and traditional rituals
- A common pre-wedding ceremony is Haldi or Maanjha
The wedding season is here and there’s a lot of excitement in the air. Indian weddings are full of many colourful and traditional rituals and ceremonies. A common pre-wedding ceremony followed by many is the ‘Haldi’ ceremony, also known as Tel Baan or Manjha ceremony. The ritual is held at the bride’s house and also at the groom’s house. It involves applying haldi or turmeric on the couple’s face and hands. It is celebrated either on the morning of the wedding day or a day before. You may have attended this fun ceremony many times but have you ever wondered why only turmeric is used as ubtan during this wedding celebration?
Significance of Applying Haldi
Applying haldi on the bride and groom before their wedding has been a prominent ritual in the Indian culture. However, is it just an age-old tradition that is being followed or is there a real reason or significance of using haldi? We have got some answers for you.
1. Symbol of blessing
The first and foremost reason why haldi is used in wedding celebrations is that it is considered as a symbol of blessing for the couple and a healthy marital life. According to Indian customs, all the married ladies of the house apply haldi to the bride and the groom in order to bless them with a long and strong relationship.
2. For radiant and natural glow
Turmeric is known to brighten your skin and has various tangible benefits when it comes to the skin. The application of haldi ensures that you have radiant and glowing skin on your wedding day. It helps in removing dead skin cells only to reveal young and rejuvenated skin.
3. Purification of the heart and soul
Haldi is known to purify and cleanse the body of the couple entering into holy matrimony. It also marks an auspicious beginning of a new life together.
Haldi is known to purify and cleanse the body of the couple entering into holy matrimony
4. To ward off evil
Haldi is believed to protect the bride and the groom from any bad omen that might harm them before the big day. It is the reason that brides are prohibited from leaving their house after her mehndi and haldi ceremony; they are allowed to go out with someone, but not alone.
5. Curbs the pre-wedding jitters
Turmeric has an active compound known as curcumin that acts as a natural remedy for headaches and anxiety that one may experience during the many wedding ceremonies. It makes for a good remedy to calm the nervous mind.
Now you know why this age-old custom of applying haldi on the bride and groom is being followed since so many years. If you know of any other reason, do let us know!
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The Haldi Ceremony at a Hindu Wedding
A couple days before a Hindu wedding , the bride and groom each organize a haldi ceremony (sometimes called pithi ceremony) at their respected homes. From this point until the time of the wedding, the couple should not see each nor should they leave the house. Though, I believe many do see each other for logistics sake, or they sneak around.
The haldi paste is made from turmeric, rose water (or water), and sandalwood powder. It is gooey and cold but smells strong and pungent yet refreshing. Organic body wash for the win. Plus it is an antiseptic too. The paste is put on five places: the feet, knees, arms, hands, face. I am not sure why those five places and why start from the feet going up but that’s how it goes.
The paste serves as a cleanser for the body and soul and signifies the bride’s preparation and welcoming into adult married life. The haldi in some Indian communities also signifies protection, hence why the couple cannot leave the house after the ceremony.
What you need:
- Haldi powder (turmeric)
- Rose water, or water
- Sandalwood powder
- A nice bowl
- Mango leaves – to apply the paste
- Puja thali – for the women to perform the pooja
- Stools to sit on
- Scrub – to get the paste off of you when showering
What to wear:
- Good Indian clothes that can take a beating
- Light Jewelry
- Basic Makeup – your face will get covered but let you eyes shine!
Because our wedding is an inter-everything, the groom and his family celebrated the haldi with us. We both sat on stools next to each and women from both families did the puja and applied the paste. Then all our female friends applied and eventually the boys felt left out. It is not customary for men to apply haldi but since our friends formed a line and looked excited, we let them join in on the fun.
Traditionally after the ceremony, the bride (and groom) are washed off by their own family members. Our families were kind enough to let us de-yellow ourselves. And it takes time to scrub all off the goo and ensure the bathroom isn’t completely yellow either (and that you haven’t made a mess everywhere!) Haldi stains don’t come out easily so be sure to wear not your finest clothes.
We did look a lot like The Simpsons characters after being doused with yellow paint.