Monday, April 18, 2011

My Indian Wedding - Muhurtam

Muhurtham - The Sacred Moment is the most important part of Hindu wedding ceremony. It is when the cloth separating the groom and bride is removed and they see each other for the first-time. (For the first time on that day, hopefully, not in their lives...)

The date and time of Muhurtham is fixed to the seconds by family astrologers. For us it was picked by the priest who performed our wedding ceremony, but it was also confirmed to be auspicious by Anil's mother's astrologer.

But before the cloth is removed, the bride and groom place a paste made of jaggery and cumin seeds on each others heads. Jaggery (unrefined whole cane sugar) symbolizes the sweetness of marriage and cumin seeds symbolize the brief moments of inevitable bitterness. This ceremony should also remind the couple that their relationship is unbreakable and inseparable.

I only learned about the jaggery-cumin paste ritual a day before the wedding. I was not thrilled about it and already then I asked Anil to refrain from smashing the paste on my head. I did not want to spend a whole day walking around with sticky substance in my hair and I also wanted to look decent on my wedding photos. (I'm vain, I know.)

Once the Muhurtham moment came and we were asked to place the paste on each others heads, my dearest husband was kind enough to keep it slightly above my head, as I had asked him to. However, that was not good enough for our uncle and he asked Anil to smash it on my head! I was so terrified by that prospect, that I threatened Anil to divorce him if he would dare to do it... So my love skillfully dropped the jaggery ball, hence ending the subject, the cloth between us got removed, and nobody needed to fill for a divorce :)

You can not see it but in the photos below under the leaves we have a paste made of jaggery and cumin seeds:

Here you can better see that Anil keeps his hand with the paste slightly above my head: