Sunday, February 13, 2011

Quirks of a Kannada Wedding

About Smartha Kannada Weddings

Every wedding is special and unique. But some things are so typical to the smartha kannada Brahmin weddings that I have to share them with you.
‘Pe-pe-pe-dum-dum’. The volaga ostensibly called the nadaswaram is a much awaited part. Ofcourse sometimes the artists are painfully ill trained…then it becomes the much dreaded part! However pe-pe-pe-dum-dum’ is a must!

The purohit who is referred to as Shastrigalu guides the families through the rituals and is chosen with care. We are particular about the mantras and the chanting and we take it all verrry seriously. Grim faces gaze at the happenings on centre stage…and enjoy it thoroughly!

The arati tatte causes a lot of chatter. Is the arati water ready? Where is the arati tatte? Bring the arati. Who will hold the plate? And then two appointed ladies take the arati in small circles in front of the groom or bride, who drop coins or notes into the plate. No matter if the collection is Rs. 2 or Rs. 200, it is divided with much easy banter between the two ladies who perform the arati.

Arshina-kunkumada tatte...A silver plate and silver bowls filled with haldi - kumkum are prized possession. Every mother dreams of buying a good set for her daughter.

Bashinga is for the special pair. This simple adornment brings unbelievable charm and radiance to the bride. Baashingas are made of pith (now thermocol). While the bride ties it round her forehead the groom pins it to his jari-peta (turban).

Jari-peta used to be a length of while muslin with zari border and the purohit would actually tie it round the grooms head. Now we get readymade turbans with adjustable elastic to fit snugly onto the head!

Just before the actual wedding the groom decides to go away for a Kashi Yatra! Equipped with a cloth bag, a walking stick and some food he departs for this journey only to be stopped at the threshold by the bride’s father. ‘Do come home, accept my daughter as bride and embark on this journey as a happy couple’ … he tells the groom! Kashi yatra is a much awaited ritual that evokes lot of fun and laughter. The groom readily agrees and returns to the wedding hall pampered by the bride’s brother and handheld by the bride’s father.

Meanwhile the bride sits in silent prayer (provided the friends and aunts and cousins allow her to!). She distributes marada jotey to chosen ladies who bless her and send her with good wishes to the wedding platform. Marada jotey is a pair of cane sieves loaded with grains, pulses, sweets, fruits and gifts.

Anthara-pata is a much awaited part of the wedding. The bride and the groom stand on either side of a cloth held out like a partition. The boy and girl hold a fistfull of Jeerige-bella (a mix of cumin seeds and jaggery). After a long chanting at a sudden moment the purohit downs the partition, the boy and girl shower jeerigebella on each other. It is believed...the one who puts it first will have the upper hand in wedded life!

Rice plays an important role in weddings. It is cooked and served as meal. It is mixed with haldi-kumkum and sprinkled as blessing. It is washed and dried and used by the special couple to pour over each other as part of wedding ceremonies. It is offered to the bride and the goddess Gowri as soblakki (parting gift). This here is rice that has been coloured, just for some fancy photo sessions!

Silk sarees, jasmine strings, coconuts, oil-wick lamps and bags of laddu (we call it laadoo). These add fragrance to Indian weddings. South Indian weddings are noisy, elaborate, ritualistic, colourful and yes, ...
you are allowed to have a lot of fun too.

We are not comfortable with dancing, loud singing or noisy meeting...we kind of enjoy it all silently and have fun chatting and updating in the atmosphere of common joy.


  1. Thanks for this ma'am :)This got me nostalgic... For me the most difficult part was to balance the apple on the marada jotey:) Not to forget the mogginjade...

  2. @sushma, haha yes the apple and mosambi roll off even for the seasoned!! and mogginajede is painful beauty...right?

  3. That was very informative.

    Loved this part, I keep telling my north Indian friends exactly this,

    South Indian weddings are noisy, elaborate, ritualistic, colourful and yes, ...
    you are allowed to have a lot of fun too.

    We are not comfortable with dancing, loud singing or noisy meeting...we kind of enjoy it all silently and have fun chatting and updating in the atmosphere of common joy.

  4. This article brings out the things which enrich our wedding functions and make them memorable.Kudos to you!!

  5. that was really nice blog what you shared..that collection gives good information..keep update with your blogs..
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  6. Hi,
    I want to know if the basinga is essential part of the wedding. I am brahmin Iyer marrying a smartha guy. I have been undergoing constant discussions about wearing bazinga. Can there be any alternative for bazinga? Can it be worn on gold? Could you please let me know it's significance ?


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