Weddings in Andhra Pradesh are rich in the local traditions of the state and give a beautiful glimpse of Andhra’s regional culture and values. Predominantly Andhra Pradesh weddings follow Telugu customs but many a times they are a mix of both Telugu and Tamil customs.
People of Andhra have strongly imbibed cultural and religious values and hence it comes as no surprise that they are very keen on the weddings reflecting all their traditions and customs.
Any Andhra wedding is officialised beginning with an engagement ceremony called Nischitartham. This traditional ceremony has the entire families of the bride and groom in attendance where they exchange gifts, beginning jewelry, clothes, fruits and sweets. An elaborate Pooja of Lord Ganesh is performed which marks an auspicious. After this, rings are exchanged between the bride and the groom and then the family pandit reads the ‘Lagan Patrika’ and reads out a good date and time for the wedding. This is then signed by the immediate family members of both sides.
The Haldi Ceremony- Pendikoothuru
This ceremony bears a stark similarity to the North Indian haldi ceremony. A mixture of oil and turmeric is applied on both the bride and the groom. Post the ceremony, both are required to wear new clothes as a ritual.
This ritual is performed at the groom’s place where he is supposed to wear a silver thread which symbolises the beginning of his ‘grishastha’ journey. The groom formally takes the permission of the family guru or the priest through proper Vedic rituals.
On the lines of Tamil ritual, this particular one involves the groom pretending to give up on all worldly desires and move to Kashi for spiritual enlightenment. He wears new footwear, carries a walking stick, and the holy ‘Granth’ in hand. The would-be-bride’s brother then requests him to change his mind and promises his sister’s hand in marriage to him.
Wedding Day Rituals
This ritual is performed in the early morning of the wedding day where the bride and the groom are required to take a sacred bath at their respective homes.
Post this, both the families from the respective sides perform arti at their places to pray for the couple’s blissful married life.
This ritual is performed by the bride where she offers her prayers the Goddess Gauri and seeks her blessings for a happy married life.
Prior to the bride’s arrival at the mandap, the groom is supposed to perform Ganesh Pooja asking the Lord to bestow blessings on the couple and to ward off any evil or hurdles that may come in their married life.
Traditionally, the bride is carried to the mandap in bamboo baskets by her uncles. Usually, nowadays the uncles escort the bride on foot to the mandap.
In this ritual, the bride and the groom sit opposite each other and a curtain is placed between them. They then apply a paste of jeera on each other’s hands from under the curtain.
During this ritual, the curtain between the bride and the groom is removed and the groom puts the managalsutra around the bride’s neck and ties three knots on the thread attached to it. The three knots symbolize mental, physical and spiritual union respectively.
Kanyadan Akshata & Saptapadi
The bride and the groom exchange flower garlands. They then take the seven pheras known as Saptapadi. After this the groom puts a silver toe ring on the bride’s toe and the couple is now officially married.
The Andhra bride and groom wear conventional traditional clothes as per the Madhuparkam ritual. The bride is supposed to wear a cotton saree with a red border and the groom is supposed to wear a white dhoti with a red border. This is the set attire for any Andhra wedding.
The traditional menu of Andhra wedding is served on a banana leaf (aritaku). The set menu items consist of Chakkara Pongali (sweet rice), bobbatlu (pooran poli), gaare or vada with coconut chutney, pulihara( tamarind rice), plain white rice, mango curry, sambhar, pachi pulusu (soup), curd, mango pickle, poornalu (sweet dish). There could be other items as per the families’ preferences but you will always find these in a traditional Andhra wedding.
The Andhra weddings are all about celebrating the traditions and culture of Andhra Pradesh. The ceremonies are performed with all the sanctities and the guests are treated with utmost warmth, love making the wedding a pure merriment.