This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.
Swayamvar ceremony is the main event for the whole wedding and it literally means ‘Choosing the Groom by the Bride’. In the past, the bride had the right to choose one among many suitors. Nowadays, in the majority of marriages, Swayamvar is just a ceremony followed by Janti in Newari / Nepali wedding. For us the Swayamvar ceremony and Janti ceremony took place in two different days.
The Sahit sent during the Supari ceremony has an auspicious time written for the Swayamvar ceremony. For us the date and time was 24 June at 9.00pm. Therefore, it was going to be an evening ceremony.
For this ceremony, I wore a red Dupata (silk with sliver work) sari, Dupata shawl around my arms and Ghumto (net red shawl similar to a veil) to cover my head. I went to the beauty parlour for hair and make-up.
Before 9.00pm, all my family and I arrived at the venue. Due to the monsoon season, it was raining heavily. Everyone told me that the rain was a good sign for weddings. Anyway, all of us were waiting for the groom and his family to arrive for the ceremony. When they arrived, I was asked to go to the room upstairs so the groom and family could be welcomed and when everything was ready, I was to enter the room where the mandap was set.
In this mean time, my dad and uncles welcomed the groom and his family. They put Tika on the groom’s forehead, garland around his neck and escorted him to the mandap room. Once everything was settled, my cousin asked me to come down. I had my veil to cover my face and I was looking down as I walked towards the mandap.
When I saw AS , I was so happy. He was wearing a Daura-Suruwal, Nepali national costume in light grey colour with dark blue coat and Nepali Dhaka topi. I was asked to sit next to him and the ceremony began.
There were two priests, one from my family and one from his. They both told us to do lots of things, like doing Puja and saying mantras in Sanskrit and we were meant to repeat it after them. Vedic hymns and prayers invoked the blessings of all Hindu gods and the support of every element under the sun that will have a role in the conjugal life of the couple. The five basic elements of earth, air, fire, water and sky are highlighted time and again.
The Swayamvar ceremony continued with me circling AS thrice holding the Supari (from the Supari ceremony), Dubo ko mala (garland made out holy grass) and Ful ko mala (flower garland). Once I was done, I stood in front of him.
We exchanged Dubo ko mala and Ful ko mala.
Then my aunt bought the tray with two traditionally dressed dolls (Bride and Groom) and all the jeweleries nicely displayed.
Now AS put the diamond necklace and Tilahari around my neck and golden bangles on my hands. Then we exchanged rings. It was followed by me putting a gold chain around his neck and watch on his wrist.
Then priest asked me to sit down for the most important Sindoor ceremony. My aunt put golden and red clothe around my face covering my eyes, holding it from the back. Then the priest instructed AS to take a pinch of Sindoor in between his ring finger and thumb. He had to put that first to his forehead and then put on my forehead. He had to then move it into my hair partition still touching the forehead.
Under the Hindu (Newar) tradition the sindoor and tilahari are the signs of a married woman. Finally, the priests pronounced that AS and I are husband and wife. He explained that as his wife, it is his duty to protect me and to make me happy.
Now the priest asked us to share yogurt from the plate. AS ate a spoonful and then hand it to me. I had one spoon too. It was a bit hard to eat when everyone is watching. After this, we bowed to all elder relatives to get their blessing.
Family photos followed the ceremony and yes a Bhoj (party) as well. Once the ceremony was over, everyone was relaxed and started enjoying the food and company.
AS and his family left after the ceremony and we went home as well. I was so tired after such a long day but I was a married woman that day. It felt good.
More on the wedding in the next post.
M from nepaliaustralian
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