Indian weddings are grand and beautiful. But behind all that splendor are festivals filled with love and celebrating the bride, her beauty and happiness. Pre-contouring, foundation, eye-shadow and all that makeup, Indian brides only had nature’s tools to help them look their best. Hence, some of the wedding festivities are specifically focused to help the bride look stunning on the most special day of her life. Last year my sister and I both got married and had the joy of experiencing all these wonderful traditions. Excited to share all these moments and tips with you in the next few weeks.
This week: The Haldi Ceremony.
What is the Haldi Ceremony?
This is a ceremony that is performed on the bride, a day before the wedding. It is a ceremony where turmeric (haldi in Hindi) is applied to the bride to help her look beautiful. I know in the pictures below my sis nor I look very pretty, if anything we look a bit terrified – but wait till you see the results 😊.
How does the ritual work?
In order for the ceremony to begin, the bride’s mother collects all the ingredients. Each ingredient is put into a ceramic bowl.
All of these ingredients are known to help bring out the bride’s natural beauty. Here are the ingredients and their benefits: (starting from left to right):
•Yogurt: The lactic acid present in yogurt hydrates the skin, hence alleviating the tired look; so important for a bride the day before the wedding.
•Sandalwood powder: As you know we use this in our Face Gems, but a quick reminder. It helps protect your face from the harmful environment around you. The natural smell relaxes the face and evens out the skin tone, giving a natural clear and clean look.
•Mustard Oil: Massaging mustard oil on your face can significantly reduce tan, dark spots, and skin pigmentation. The oil is rich in vitamins A, B complex, and E, all of which promote anti-aging and healthy skin.
•Turmeric: It is known to be a strong antiseptic. It can prevent acne and pimples, and remove dead cells, hence enriching and brightening the skin giving a healthy and rejuvenated glow.
•Henna: Application cools and moisturizes the skin.
How does the ceremony start?
Once the bride sits on the little red chair, the women of the family using grass sticks dip it into each of the ingredients and make a paste. The women then apply this paste to the bride’s face, hands and legs.
Here is a bit of cultural information:
When the married women of the family are putting the paste on the bride; it is to give blessing to the future MRS, from one Mrs. to next. But when the unmarried women put it, it is to give them good luck to get married next; kind of like throwing the bouquet just messier!.
Ironically my sis did it for me, and she got married 4 months later! So maybe it does work?! And since I got married before my sis, I did it for her. 😊
Both my sister and I were a bit nervous about this paste! The oil and yogurt were cold!!! And it was sticky sticky business!! In that moment we were both hoping this paste will make us pretty and not yellow!!!
Why Turmeric? Does the bride really want to be YELLOW?!!
We were definitely freaking out about being yellow on our wedding day. If you have never used turmeric, it stains! So, you can imagine with both of us looking like the way we were: why would we agree to this? Why take the risk?
The haldi ceremony isn’t just about beautifying the bride, it has other significance as well:
•To keep the evil eye away: According to religious Hindu texts, turmeric has powerful properties that protects the bride from evil forces. Hence, applying the paste can ward off any bad omens before the wedding.
•Sacred Color: The yellow color of turmeric is considered very fortunate in Indian traditions. The auspiciousness of this ingredient and its color welcomes prosperity for the couple.
•Give a blessing: Turmeric and performing the ceremony is considered a blessing from the family to the couple for a healthy marital life.
•Purification: According to Hindu texts and tradition, turmeric purifies the body and soul. Application of its paste is believed to cleanse the body and mind from any negativity, thereby marking the couple pure for their new life together.
What are the results?
In a word: FANTASTIC!! As you can see, we both looked incredible on our wedding day. These are pictures from the day we got hitched. We were not yellow, but instead glowing and radiant! I would recommend every bride to have a haldi festival, not just for the beauty benefits, but also it is a ceremony filled with fun and laughter.
And in case you’re wondering, we had to throw our haldi ceremony clothes out. Our faces might not have been yellow, but the clothes were! Next week is all about the ceremony that happens right after the haldi event, which includes flowers and rose water!