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The people of Kannada, 'Kannadigas' as they like to be referred to, are some of the most disciplined groups of people in the entire Indian subcontinent. They are known for their simple sophistication, fierce loyalty towards their roots and clear distinctions of rituals and ceremonies that remain unfazed as the world ages.
The Kannada marriages are no different. Owing to the cultural diversity of India, the 'Kannadigas' have their distinct series of customs, traditions and rituals that set them apart from other wedding processions. Nevertheless, most Kannada wedding rituals are similar to typical South Indian weddings. They prefer intimate settings, and the wedding ceremonies are usually conducted in the affinity of close relatives. A Kannada wedding spans a couple of days. Each ritual has a profoundly symbolic historical relevance and is crafted to keep up with local 'Kannadigas' practices.
It is founded on culture and faith in God. The practice of several rituals conducted before, during, and after the wedding day is one of the most notable aspects of the Kannada wedding. Since the ceremonies are generally effortless, it gives a lot of time for families from across the country to gather for the festivities and spend time together.
Kannada wedding cuisine reflects the rich cultural heritage and diversity of the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The cuisine is known for its delicious and flavorful dishes that blend traditional and modern culinary techniques. Using locally-sourced ingredients such as spices and vegetables is a prominent feature of Kannada wedding cuisine, which gives the dishes a unique taste and aroma.
The marriage items list included in the cuisine of a Kannada wedding is spectacular. One of the most popular dishes served at Kannada weddings is the Bisi Bele Bath, a traditional rice and lentil dish cooked with various spices and vegetables. This dish is a staple at weddings and is often served as a main course. Another popular dish is the Ragi Mudde, a ball of ragi flour usually served with a spicy curry or sambar. The wedding menu also includes a variety of sweets, such as the Mysore Pak, a traditional sweet made from gram flour, ghee, and sugar, and the 'Rave Under', a sweet made from semolina. These sweets are not only delicious but also have tremendous cultural significance.
In addition to these traditional dishes, many weddings also include a variety of international dishes, such as Chinese, Italian and continental, to cater to a diverse guest list. Kannada wedding cuisine is also known for its non-vegetarian dishes such as chicken, mutton, and fish curries.
Apart from the food, Kannada shaadi also has a custom of serving a variety of fruits and nuts to the guests as a sign of abundance and hospitality. In addition, the guests are also filled with traditional drinks such as 'neer more' (a type of buttermilk) and 'tender coconut water,' which are considered the perfect thirst quencher during the wedding ceremonies.
In conclusion, Kannada wedding cuisine is a perfect blend of traditional and modern dishes known for their rich flavours and use of locally-sourced ingredients. In addition, the variety of dishes and sweets served at the wedding ensures something for everyone to enjoy. Whether a traditional Bisi Bele Bath or a modern continental dish, Kannada wedding cuisine promises to leave a lasting impression on the guests.
Kannada weddings are traditional ceremonies in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The attire adorned by the bride and groom and the guests is an essential aspect of the wedding and reflects the rich culture and heritage of the region.
The wedding karnataka bride wears a saree or a traditional kannada wedding dress called a 'Kancheepuram saree.' The saree is typically made of silk and is adorned with intricate gold zari work and embellishments. The bride also wears a traditional necklace called a 'mangalsutra,' a sacred symbol of her marriage. The groom typically wears a traditional Indian wedding outfit called a 'dhoti-kurta' or a 'veshti-mundu,' a dhoti is worn with a long shirt.
The guests at a Kannada wedding also dress in traditional attire. Men usually wear a dhoti-kurta or a veshti-mundu, while women wear sarees or traditional Kannada dresses. The attire is generally in bright and vibrant colours to match the festive atmosphere of the wedding.
In addition to traditional attire, the wedding also involves a lot of conventional jewellery and accessories. The bride typically wears a lot of gold jewellery, including bangles, earrings, and a necklace. The groom may also wear a traditional turban or headgear.
In summary, the Karnataka marriage dress is a critical aspect of the ceremony that reflects the region's rich cultural heritage. The bride and groom and the guests dress in traditional attire, typically a saree or a traditional Kannada bridal dress, and the groom a traditional Indian wedding outfit. The attire is usually in bright and vibrant colours to match the festive atmosphere of the wedding and is often accompanied by traditional jewellery and accessories.
A platter containing primely betel leaves or 'paan ka patta' and a betel nut, popularly known as 'supari', is exchanged between the two families. However, before this, it is important to analyse whether the bride and groom are a perfect fit for each other. This is done by consulting the charts and houses. Once the pandit approves of the wedding, only then further rituals commence. Coconut makes its way into most wedding rituals in the Karnataka wedding tradition. Once the official engagement ceremony is over, the priest fixes a date for the wedding.
This ceremony marks the start of all Kannada brahmin wedding rituals. Emerging from historical practices in all Hindu traditions, it is customary to seek the blessings of the Almighty before beginning any important event. Hence, in the 'Naandi' ceremony, the family members of the to-be bride and groom beseech God to remove all obstacles in the upcoming rituals and shower his blessings on the couple. A coconut is placed on top of a copper pot called a kalash. The pot is a symbol of the Nectar of life. The purpose of the ritual is to ensure that the pair is bestowed with a journey of prosperity, well-being, wisdom, and long life. The first invitation card is placed at the foot of God, seeking blessings. Then the other wedding cards are distributed to relatives and friends, making the announcement official.
The Kannada version of the ‘Kashi Yatra’ ritual begins with the groom lamenting over his bachelorhood. He says that since no suitable bride is being chosen for him, he has decided to turn into an austere and lead his remaining life in Kaashi away from all worldly possessions. He adorns a dhoti, holds an umbrella, a walking stick, and a fan and 'runs away'. The family member persuades the groom against taking such a step. The groom refuses to budge. This is when the maternal uncle steps in and offers a suitable bride for him. He then pretends to be in a dilemma where on the one hand, he is overjoyed with the news of his wedding but, on the other hand, wails over his lost bachelorhood but finally agrees upon the marriage. This ritual takes place amongst the chaos of animated dramatics and over-enunciated dialogues. Laughter erupts.
This wedding ceremony involves visiting a temple to seek the blessings of Almighty. It is more significantly practised by the groom. All evil spirits are said to be removed during this wedding ceremony.
Mandap puja refers to the purification ritual conducted by Kannada priests. The mandap is the holy ground on which all wedding rituals are performed. Hence it is considered important to ward off any impurity or evil wandering around the sacred grounds.
Groom's welcome and Var puja
A parade of married women, typically five in number as per tradition, wait at the entrance to welcome the groom and his tribe. The women lead them to a beautifully decorated room where the Var Puja is to be conducted.
The Kannada tradition places great emphasis on the worship of Lord Vishnu. The groom is considered an incarnation of Lord Vishnu during wedding rituals. Thus the Var Puja ritual is performed with great devotion and enthusiasm. The bride's father washes his to-be son-in-law's feet, and a puja is held in his honour. Additionally, he receives a silk pitambar outfit consisting of a dhoti and scarf. He must participate in the wedding ceremonies wearing the garments that the bride's parents gave him.
The Jaimala ritual commences with the entry of the bride. It is a spectacular sight to watch. The bride, complete in her exquisite traditional karnataka wedding dress, makes a grand entrance accompanied by her bridesmaids. Her sister is one of the bridesmaids. She holds the fan of peacock feathers to cover the bride's face. A clothed veil shields the bride as she proceeds towards the mandap. As the ritual commences, the pandit asks the veil to be lowered slowly amongst the holy chants, and the bride finally reveals her face. This is the first time the bride and groom have seen each other. Finally, the Jaimala ceremony concluded with the exchange of garlands. A unique aspect of this ceremony is that three separate garlands known as the Karnataka basinga.They exchanged three times per the rituals.
The Indian tradition of Kanyadaan has been modified into the Kannada tradition of Dhareherdu. First, the bride's and groom's right hands are clasped together, and a coconut and a betel leaf are placed on the combined hands. Then, by pouring holy water, ideally from the Ganges River, known as dhara, on top of the couple's linked hands, the bride's parents bestow their blessings and acknowledge their acceptance of this union. It is a unique and beautiful ritual, and all family members witness it.
The official ritual that joins the couple in holy matrimony is called Saptapadi. They popularly go by the name of 'Saath Pheras'. A knot is tied by the loose edges of the bride and groom's attire, thus connecting them as one. They then take seven rounds around the holy fire, also known as a yagna. At the end of the seven rounds, the bride is seated to the groom's left until the priest concludes the chants of the union. Once done, the married couple asks for the blessings of the family members separately. This is an important aspect of all Hindu wedding traditions.
With the custom of 'Saptapadi', all the wedding rituals of a traditional Kannada shaadi come to an end. It's now time for the post-wedding rituals, which usually consist of ice-breaking sessions for the bride to make her comfortable and a grand reception to share the joyous occasion with the bride and groom's extended family. An important aspect involves fulfilling the marriage items list in Kannada weddings.
A beautiful aspect of an arranged marriage is the ice-breaking activities conducted in the presence of families to get to know each other better. One such post-wedding game played by Kannadigas is Okhli.
The bride and groom resign to their rooms for rest once the wedding rituals are over. Once they gather some energy, it's time for fun and games. The Okhli tradition is one such game. The groom's wedding ring is hidden in a bowl of milk or coloured water so that the hidden ring becomes invisible. Then, the ring must be extracted from the jar by the bride and her brother. If the bride finds the ring, it is believed that she will be able to bear any challenges that come with marriage.
The bride is perceived as an incarnation of goddess Lakshmi. Hence, her welcome is special. The groom’s mother stands at the doorstep of the house and performs an Aarti in the new bride’s honour. This signifies the incoming wealth of the family. Before the bride enters the house, she overturns the pot of rice with her right foot. This indicates that her presence has increased the prosperity of her new home and caused the vessel to overflow. With this ritual, the bride finally steps into her new home.
Name changing ceremony
It is customary for the groom to christen the bride with a name of his choice. First, he scribbles the name into a plate of rice. He then passes the plate of rice to the bride. As she accepts the place, she is believed to have accepted the new name. This beautiful ceremony signifies the groom's first present to the bride in their marriage.
The reception is a spectacular affair of delectable food per the kannada wedding cuisine. People dressed in Kanchivaram sarees bond over wedding gossip and age-old reminiscing stories forgotten over time. An atmosphere of laughter, fine food and beautiful songs, music and dance persists.