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Gujarati Weddings

Gujarati wedding ceremonies from western India have their own regional traditions and customs that add unique flavors and colors to the cultural masala.

The wedding day begins with the pokavu or arrival of the groom, who is greeted by his future mother-in-law at the entrance. As she performs the arati , she tries to grab his nose, playfully reminding him that he has finally come rubbing his nose at their door to ask for their daughter's hand in marriage.

After Jaimala, the ceremony of Madhuparka is performed, where the groom's feet are washed and he his fed honey and milk while sitting under the mandap. Meanwhile, the bride's sisters steal the groom's shoes. At the end of the day, the groom retrieves by offering his sister-in-law money.

The bride is then carried to the mandap by her maternal uncle in a ceremony known as kanyadaan, a tradition which has survived from the days when child marriages were common. At this point, the antarpat, the curtain separating the bride and groom, is lowered and the couple exchange garlands. It is now time for the bride to be given away in a ritual known as kanyadaan or hasta milap. The Gujaratis have added the varmala ceremony to this ceremony in which the elders of the house place an auspicious cord around the couple's necks to protect them from evil influences. During the mangal phera the couple circle the fire four times instead of the customary seven. The four circles symbolize the four basic human goals of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.

Another interesting Gujarati wedding ritual is the saubhagyavati bhava, in which several married women from the bride's family whisper blessings into the right ear of the bride.

The couple depart from the girl's house after the vidai , for the groom's house. In the groom's house a game called aeki-beki is played, by placing a ring and several coins in a tray of water which is colored by vermilion and milk. It is said that the person who finds the ring four times, will rule the house.

The day concludes with prayers to God asking love and happiness for the couple.

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