Coincidence is a funny thing.
The very day that I returned to work from my honeymoon, I received an email with the happy news that Gauri, a colleague from Village Ways
in India, had just tied the knot herself. On 30 September. Exactly the same day that I had walked up (and down!) the aisle.
After spending countless hours (and a significant part of my bank balance) perfecting the finer details of my own wedding, I was naturally interested to learn more about Gauri's celebrations, so I gave her a call to congratulate her and find out all about her special day…
Gauri was married in a Maharashtrian Hindu ceremony. Though the exact rituals and traditions vary from area to area and family to family, Maharashtrian weddings are generally known for their relative simplicity and bright, vibrant colours. Gauri’s ceremony was fairly modern, lasting approximately 2 hours.
As with any wedding, her first task was to find a suitable date. For most Marathi families, this is done in conjunction with the family priest, who helps the couple to select the most auspicious date, often taking their astrological signs into account. I have to confess that my own approach to choosing a wedding date was slightly different – 30 September was the first available Saturday after the cricket season, when I could be sure my cricket-mad brother, friends and (most importantly!) fiancé would be free to attend.
With the date fixed, Gauri and her husband-to-be then held their engagement ceremony. The Sakhar Puda
is the first of the Maharashtrian pre-wedding rituals and a chance for the respective families and friends to meet, and for rings to be exchanged. The literal translation of Sakhar Puda
is ‘packet of sugar’, and it is this that the mother of the groom traditionally gives to the bride, symbolising her acceptance of her future daughter-in-law and publicly welcoming her into the family.