The Gujarati Wedding starts with Ganesh Sthapan; an invitation to Lord Ganesh to be present at this occasion. His presence is believed to ensure the smooth running of the ceremonies and to remove any obstacles, bringing happiness and prosperity.
Next follows the Mandap Mahurat. Although family and close friends attend the “Mandap mahurat’, only the women of the household observe the ‘puja’. The ‘pujari’ performs a brief ‘puja’ at the shrine then puts ‘tikka’ on the foreheads of four men from the family, usually brothers of the bride/groom. He goes on to give them a small bamboo stick with ‘nada chari’ (red thread) wrapped around it and Manek Sthumbh (the pillar of gem).
The men link their hands and carry this to the site of the ‘Mandap (the canopy under which the wedding will be held)’ and embed it into the earth. This stick is symbolic of one of the poles of the ‘Mandap’, which will support the canopy.
This follows the ceremony of Grah Shanti which is performed in presence of the parents and along with relatives and friends. The priest will tie Meendhal to the right hand of the bride/groom, symbolizing an emblem of purity.
Thereafter is the Pithi which entails rubbing a paste made out of green beans flour, turmeric, rose water, and other variable ingredients, on the brides’s/groom’s skin. Supposedly, the paste when rubbed on is excellent for the skin and evens out skin tone. Family members and friends often times have fun getting the groom completely covered in the paste.
With all of these ceremonies conducted in the day, the Garba party is held in the evening. The Garba party is where all friends and family come together for a fun filled night. It is just a night to share the joy and happiness together with each other and everyone, the young and old dance all night long! You just can’t miss this!