If you have attended a North Indian wedding you may be aware of the excitement and the stylish way the Indian grooms arrive at the wedding venue. The baraat or the wedding procession, especially in the North Indian weddings, is colourful with lots of music and dancing.
In the North Indian weddings, the groom will arrive on a horse (and sometimes on an elephant) and those who accompany him will arrive dancing to the beats of music. The bride's family will be waiting at the entrance of the venue to welcome them.
They will be welcomed by the bride's family by garlanding them. Well, as India has a diverse culture the wedding traditions and ceremonies also vary from each place to the other. If the North Indian weddings have the baraat tradition the other regions also have their own customs and ceremonies to welcome the groom and his party.
Here are some of the traditions followed at the other part of the country to welcome the groom.
In Maharashtra, the bride's side would conduct a puja called Seeman puja at the entrance of the venue. It is done to welcome the groom and his family. The bride's parents would wash the feet of the groom and apply a mark on the forehead of the groom using vermilion and turmeric stained rice. The groom is later given gifts and the elders from the family would shower their blessings on the groom. Earlier this puja was conducted at the entrance of the village of the bride but nowadays it is held at the marriage venue entrance.
The Kashi Yatra of the Tamil Iyer grooms is a unique ritual. The Kashi Yatra means the groom had a change of heart and he wishes to renounce all the worldly pursuits and go on a pilgrimage to Kashi. As soon as he steps out of the venue the bride's father will go after him and make him realise the positiveness of the married life. The groom would then accept his advice and returns to the venue to get married.
The Gujarati grooms have a ritual called Ponkhana. During this ritual, the groom is welcomed by his soon to be mother-in-law by performing an aarti. According to Gujarati traditions, they consider that the groom has to work really hard to get the alliance of the bride. As a symbol of it, the bride’s mother would hold the nose of the groom and drags him a bit to symbolise that the groom has really worked hard to get his bride. He later makes his entry by crushing an earthen pot.
In Assam as soon as the groom's side reaches the venue they are welcomed by showering rice on them by the bride's side. It is the duty of the bride's friends to protect him from being hit by the shower of rice. The friends would try to save him with the help of an umbrella. To enter the venue the groom will have to bribe the bride's side. Once he enters the venue the bride's sister would wash his feet, later he will be carried to the mandap by the bride's brothers.