For us Indians, haldi has always managed to hold a very special place, be it in our cuisine or the auspicious rituals. The several medicinal properties and healing capacity of haldi have made it an inseparable part of our culture and traditions. Our daily lives thrive on it and our taste buds are so accustomed to its taste. Apart from food, it is also used for healing of wounds, as a skin cleansing pack and as an antiseptic too. But you will truly fathom the importance of this spice when you know that there is a dedicated ceremony – haldi ceremony – which is observed in almost all parts of India both by the bride and the groom before they are married.
It Is An Auspicious Colour
The bright yellow color of Haldi is considered an auspicious color in the Hindu tradition. It signifies purity, fertility and glowing health. The color is incorporated in many attires and rituals. In Marathi culture, the color is the base of the bride’s wedding attire and no mulgi is seen without her brand new yellow and green sari specially chosen for the wedding. The color of Haldi brings a sense of peace and prosperity which is considered an auspicious aspect as one embarks on the journey of married life ahead, with the blessings of God and elders.
The Haldi ceremony also serves as an occasion to have some fun amidst all the tension and chaos that are a part and parcel of wedding prep. Friends and family of the bride and groom take part in it and apply the Haldi paste on each other. With friends and family having a good time, it is surely is a stress-buster for the bride and groom too.
The Wedding Glow
Turmeric is extremely good for the skin and several skin-care products have turmeric as a basic ingredient. The ubtan is a mixture of some of the most effective skin-rejuvenating ingredients, such as sandalwood, curd, gram flour and so on along with Haldi. The Haldi ceremony, therefore, ensures that the bride and groom shine through the wedding with glowing, fresh skin. One might say that the ceremony is held as a home spa and beautification routine for the soon to be newlyweds!
Haldi is a strong antiseptic that is applied over cuts and bruises to prevent them from getting septic. That is why Haldi is chosen as the main ingredient in the Haldi ceremony to bathe the to-be-married bride and groom so that their skin is healed of any bruises and cuts and that there are no chances of any pimples and acne. The strong yet desirable smell of Haldi also purifies the air around making it free of germs and bacteria.
Preparation for the Wedding
Lastly, the participants of Haldi, ubtan give their blessings to the future newlyweds as they help them get ready for the ceremony. The ceremony itself is meant to prepare the bride and groom for the big event. It is also meant to help them relax. The family members come together to help them slowly start gearing up for the wedding itself.
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
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 At The Haldi Ceremony?
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.
For the haldi ceremony, the colour yellow is preferred. The bride is draped in a nice yellow sari of cotton or silk with minimal jewellery or ornaments made from petals and flowers. The key is to keep the ornamentation to the minimum and the yellow colour of the clothes is preferred as any other colour will show the haldi stains quite apparently even after several washes. So, choosing yellow colour for the apparel and minimal jewellery or none at all is a prudent choice for sure. Even the family, friends and relatives of the bride and groom dress modestly and colours are generally limited to various hues of yellow with highlights of red and green.