Hinduism is considered to be one of the oldest religions in the world. Some of its traditions exist still today, while some of these have lost or changed with time. Hindu wedding, an important rite, is composed of these traditions and customs. This religion does not only focus on the bride and groom but also on the unification of two families. Its customs are mentioned in the holy scriptures of this religion and the people of this community strictly follow these. One of the popular traditions of the Hindu wedding is the Varmala ceremony. Due to the cultural significance of this ceremony, many couples get a symbol of this ceremony printed on Hindu wedding cards.
Varmala is also known as Jaimala and it holds a significant position in the Vedas. It is one of the oldest traditions followed in the wedding ceremony and still followed in India. During this ceremony, the bride and groom put garlands around each other’s neck. Generally, Varmala is composed of fresh flowers and some couples prefer using artificial flowers, but it is good to use the natural ones to keep the ceremony eco-friendly. Its size can vary in different parts of India. For example, in south India, it is usually big and heavy, whereas, in the north part, it is light.
This ceremony is followed right after worship at the arrival of the groom and his friends and relatives at the venue. The bride stands on the stage waiting for the groom. When the groom arrives, she puts a garland around his neck depicting that she has accepted him as her husband. He also puts a garland depicting that he has accepted her as his wife. This whole ceremony is performed in the presence of priests and families of couples. Priest enchants the mantras. It is not only about exchanging the garlands, but it depicts affection between the bride and groom.
There are various rituals associated with this ceremony. In some parts, the bride’s mother performs small worship and pinches the nose of the groom reflecting that he is asking her daughter’s hand by rubbing his nose in front of her. That is why friends of groom try to cover his nose with a cloth, so she cannot pinch. It is also considered that a person who gets a garland put first will listen and obey others for the lifetime.
Well, this is a short description of the popular ceremony at the Hindu wedding.
As soon as the groom reaches the stage along with his baraat, the exchange of garlands takes place. Both the bride and groom put on the garland to display that they have agreed to remain with each other for the whole life. The exchange of garlands also gives out the message that both the bride and groom have accepted each other as their life partner.
This ceremony takes place in many ways. There are versatile ideas in which the bride and groom can exchange the “Varmala” (Garland). Some people, who perform their marriage events in temples, usually exchange the garlands in temples in front of gods and goddesses. Lots of people who celebrate the marriage event in garden areas usually prepare for a stage on which the “Varmala” ceremony is done. Some people prefer to exchange garlands on a big rotating machine made up of the flowering stage. Some people arrange the garland ceremony near fountains or fires. Some people arrange the garland ceremony for the bride and groom at hotels. As per the choice, the garland ceremony is prepared and organized. Different people have different likes.
Even the garland ceremony is organized based on castes, creed, and culture. Many people arrange the garlands ceremony before the “Saath phere”. Many people arrange the garland ceremony after the “Saath Phere”.
Due to Indian movies and songs, at the time of climax just when the girl and boy are above to marry, the Jaimala ceremony has been highlighted. A message of love, respect, purity of the marital bond is displayed through Jaimala (Garland ceremony). As such Indian weddings are tremendously famous on the globe and this ceremony is yet another ritual which is a stunning tradition.
As per the customs, Varmala includes a variety of colorful flowers. The flowers of white color, red color, yellow color, green color, pink color, etc are mostly seen in Varamala. Flowers like roses, carnations, orchids, marigolds, etc are used to make garlands.
The flowers symbolize beauty, pleasure, excitement. All the flowers tied together imply the union due to the marital bond between the two souls. Modern Mala’s can consist of rupees or dollar bills which is termed as a good luck charm for the couple.
Use of Varamala in the Past
History explains that in past times a girl used to choose her groom by locating a garland around his neck. This ceremony was termed as Swayamvar. In many old scriptures and epics, such as Ramayana, there is mention of such ritual. Sita had located a Jaimala around lord ram’s neck after he ruptured the bow with his hand. This event from Ramayana signifies that Sita accepted Ram as her husband.
Even in Mahabharata, Draupadi had to choose her husband for herself. There were many princes from many kingdoms have gathered together for the swyamvar ceremony of Draupadi. In the end, she chose Arjun to be her husband and put the garland on the neck of Arjun. There are many such interesting stories from history where the Swyamavar ceremony was held with much spectacle and gratification.
Indian weddings are popular for their customs and tradition. With much fun and beauty, rituals are set up in Indian ceremonies. Every ceremony has its importance. In the same way, Jaimala has its importance. This particular event has rejoiced with flowers and pomp. For thousands of years, the practice of exchanging Varmala between the bride and groom are going on. Even today, this ritual has not loosened its significance.