Weddings in India aren't just ceremonies, they are festivals! Which is why wedding planning starts at least six months in advance. And it's not an "I have a gown to wear to the ceremony type of event"!
Not just the bride and groom, but from the cousins to the friends, everybody needs at least five different outfits for each ceremony – the Wedding, the Reception, the Mehendi, the Sangeet and the yellow event – Haldi. The Haldi or turmeric ceremony is the only Indian ceremony named after a spice. Imagine how special this spice must be to have an event named after it!
Auspicious – Turmeric is considered extremely auspicious for Hindu rituals. There's a role for turmeric in every ritual as it signifies purity, fertility and good health.
Purification – Turmeric is considered purifier both literally and symbolically. As the bride and the groom make promises for the new beginning, the Haldi ceremony is a purifying ritual for the body as well as the soul.
New Beginnings –The wedding ceremony signifies the beginning of a new life for the bride and groom. The colour yellow is associated with new beginnings, peace and happiness. It is considered an auspicious colour in Indian culture. In the ceremony, the bride and groom wear yellow clothes to invite peace and prosperity in their married life.
Blessing – The Haldi ceremony is also an occasion for the elders of the family to bless the bride and groom as they set forth on their new life together.
5. Purifying the surroundings by eliminating evils – This is another belief that holds a strong place in Indian culture. According to traditional beliefs, turmeric removes any bad omens present in the surroundings. Application of turmeric paste to bride and groom before their wedding is believed to purify the surroundings and save the couple from Buri Nazar or the evil eye.
Relaxation – The colour yellow relaxes the mind. Massaging turmeric paste onto the skin relaxes the body and takes the mind off tension. The antioxidant curcumin present in turmeric acts as a mild counter to depression and anxiety which helps the bride and the groom stay calm for the wedding.
Addition of a golden glow – Long before the days of foundation and concealer, brides used turmeric to get a golden glow on their special day. Turmeric also minimizes scars and makes the skin look flawless. Turmeric paste ensures the bride and the groom look fresh during the most important occasion of their lives.
Antiseptic properties – It's a know fact that turmeric has antiseptic properties. Turmeric is applied to the skin of the bride and groom to keep them safe from any diseases or infection.
The occasion is an intimate affair celebrated prior to the wedding, with only close family members and friends taking part in the ritual. Regardless of whether it is driven by superstition or by scientific reasons, this ceremony brings in a playful mood amongst all the stress of a wedding. That's the power of turmeric – the Queen of spices! It makes its mark wherever it is used!
In Meghalaya being a predominant Christian state turmeric is used in food, home remedies and as a natural dye.