Parsi Marriage Ceremony

Parsi Marriage Ceremony

In Parsi community, there is a belief that God revealed to Zarathushtra, the prophet, that not only is marriage a righteous act, but it is also a commitment, which makes even the earth rejoice.

Wedding Attire
The Parsi groom wears a traditional white overcoat "dugli", white cotton pants and a hat called "pughdi" or "fetah" especially designed for the occasion. The bride is usually dressed in a white sari embroidered with silver or gold. Her head is partially covered. White is regarded as a symbol of purity in Zoroastrianism. The groom's parents generally gift the jewellery worn by the bride.

Pre Marriage Ceremony

The engagement
ceremony begins by the groom's side gifting a red sari (Adravadu), jewellery and accessories to the bride.The bride's family goes to the groom's house with gifts such as clothes, etc. Inside the groom's home, both the bride and the groom are made to stand on a wooden plank with a "rangoli" design. The bride's mother puts a "tilak" on the groom's forehead, garlands him and offers a coconut to him. Then rings are exchanged.

Mandav Saro
"Mandav Saro" is a Parsi ritual, which is performed four days prior to the marriage ceremony. A flowerpot with a mango plant, planted in it is kept in the house. The flowerpot is placed above a rangoli design. Then a square with a cross in center is drawn on the wall with "haldi"(turmeric) and "kumkum paste. A plate is decorated with coconut, curd, sugar, betelnut, kharak, a little packet (pudi) of small green and red motis and coins. All these ingredients along with milk, water and a 1.50 paise coin is put into the flowerpot after removing the mango plant. A coconut is circled seven times around the pot and then smashed against the wall or ground. Everyone prays that the marriage should take place peacefully.

On the eve of the marriage the bride and groom take a religious bath or "Naha" who bathe with consecrated water drawn from the well in a Fire Temple - "Nirang" or consecrated Bulls urine,which has to be sipped, and a pomegranate leaf which has to be chewed and spat out. The Parsi priest stands outside the door of the bathroom and instructs the candidate. The "Nirang" is to purify the body while the pomegranate leaf is to imbibe wisdom, the fruit being a symbol for wisdom. After the holy bath the bridal couple dress for the occasion until its time to go on the wedding platform.

The Achu Michu Ritual

This ritual is performed to purify the mind and body of the bridal couple. Female members of the respective families carry two silver platters each containing the following items. The first tray (Achu Michu) contains the following items: egg (symbolizing life giving force), coconut (symbolizing inner and outer worlds), betel leaf and areca nut (symbolizing suppleness and strength), unshelled almond (symbolizing virtue and honesty), dried date (symbolizing resilience), sugar crystal or sugar biscuit (symbolizing sweetness), dry rice (symbolizing abundance), rose petals (symbolizing happiness), a glass of water (symbolizing purity, sanctity and perfection)

The second tray contains the following items: silver cone (symbolizing the mountain of sweetness from which good spirits are believed to descend), coconut (symbolizing the inner and outer worlds), grains of rice or wheat (symbolizing abundance), vermilion (symbolizing the receptacle of holiness), sugar crystals (symbolizing sweetness), green leaves (symbolizing nourishment), pomegranate (symbolizing immorality), pistachio nuts (symbolizing firmness), silver and gold coins (symbolizing wealth), garland of flowers (symbolizing joy).

The bride's mother then performs the ceremony. The bride's mother takes an egg in her right hand from the "Achu Michu" tray, rotates it seven times in a clockwise manner over the groom's head and breaks it on a stone placed to the right of the groom's feet. Then the bridegroom's mother takes the betel leaf, areca nut, dried date, and almond and sugar crystal in her right hand and rotates it seven times in a clockwise manner over the groom's head. Then the coconut is rotated over the groom's head and broken on the stone placed to the right of the groom's feet. Afterwards, a few grains of rice and rose petals are taken out of the tray, while water is sprinkled on the remaining rice and rose petals and the tray is once again rotated over the groom's head. The mixture is cast down on both sides of the groom's feet. A handful of dry rice is showered over the groom as a token of invoking blessings. The groom is garlanded and given a fresh coconut to hold. A vertical "tilak" is applied to his forehead in vermilion. The groom then steps onto the stage with his right foot and awaits the arrival of his bride. The bride also goes through the same rituals as undergone earlier by the groom. Upon the completion of all the preliminary rituals, the bride steps onto the stage and is seated opposite the groom.

Marriage Ceremony
Once the bridal couple is seated opposite each other on the stage a white cloth is held between them so that they cannot see each other. The bride's family makes a bundle of two threads entwined. This is offered to the priest, who holds both the right hands of the couple beneath the cloth and makes seven rounds of thread on their hands. Family members who are married hold this thread from the right and seven rounds are taken on the stage while the priest chants prayers. The couples then throw some rice on one another and then the cloth is removed. The couple then sits facing east and then the priest asks in Persian three times "Do you wish to marry this man/woman" and the couple have to say "Pasande Kardum". After completion of the blessing rings are exchanged and the priest declares that the couple are officially married and the groom kisses the bride.

Post Marriage Ceremony
The first task after the marriage ceremony is to legalise the marriage. A representative from the office of the Registrar of Marriages is invited as an honoured guest to stay for the marriage feast. The young couple signs the documents of marriage registration and the official seal is then stamped on the paper. After this the couple head straight for the Fire Temple to offer prayer and take blessings of the God. And then the couple attends the reception party. After the party the bride and the bridegroom leave for home separately guarding a "diya" in a small silver container. The bridegroom reaches home first and carefully places the "diya" on the sidetable in the bedroom. The bride is then accompanied by her aunt or other female relatives and she also guards the flame and on reaching home to her impatiently waiting husband places the lamp next to his in the bedroom. And this culminates the marriage.

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