Customs and Rituals
The royal state of Rajasthan is steeped in art and culture that reflects the Indian way of life. The people of Rajasthan celebrate their traditions with great pomp and fervour. Rajasthani traditions, rites and rituals can be traced back to a thousand years, right up to the Vedas. Every important occasion comes with particular procedures and processes that are very unique to this state. Here's presenting a few of them:
The birth of a child is celebrated in an exhilarating and unique way in Rajasthan. Copper plates are beaten together accompanied by celebratory gunfire to announce the arrival of the child. A family priest is invited to bless the child and read its horoscope. The festivities continue into the night with music being played and sweets being distributed.
Eleven days after the birth of the child, a naming ceremony called Namkaran takes place. Women from the family join in singing songs of praise and offer their good wishes, while a priest blesses the child by reciting mantras from the sacred text, after which a name is given to the child.
A new-born's first hair is associated with negative traits from ones past lives. Hence, the hair of a child between the ages of one to three is shaved off in a ceremony called Mundan. This ceremony is accompanied by reciting lines from the Veda till the shaving of the child's hair is completed. This signifies that the child is now free from his past.
Weddings in Rajasthan:
Wedding celebrations in Rajasthan are a lively and extravagant affair! There are numerous ceremonies starting with an engagement and going all the way through to post-wedding!
This engagement ceremony usually takes place at the home of the groom-to-be. The name of this ceremony is derived for the act of applying a tilak (vermilion mark) on the groom's forehead in the presence of both the families. This act cements the alliance between them. Gifts such as clothes, fruits, sweets and sometimes, even a sword are gifted to the groom. Once these formalities are completed, a celebration is initiated with a grand feast to mark the occasion.
Toran - Bandan
The groom makes his way to his bride's home on a horse, followed by his wedding procession. While mounted on the horse, he touches a floral decoration hanging above the entrance called toran seven times. The groom is then greeted by his mother-in-law who anoints his forehead with curd and mustard.
The wedding ceremony is performed under an exquisitely decorated havan where the bridegroom takes the hand of the bride and the oath of marriage. Both of them walk around the holy fire seven times. The bride leads the groom for the first three rounds, while the groom leads during the last four rounds. During these rounds, the priest recites mantras from the Vedas. During the first three rounds the bride is still a part of her family but the fourth round signifies that she now belongs to another family - the bridegroom's. The songs sung by her friends on this occasion are relevant to this moment.
Music and Dance
Rajasthan has a rich tradition of folk music and dance, with each region possessing its unique style. The music has strong religious undertones to it and is sung with devotion. Most songs are folk idioms of saints such as Surdas, Kabirdas, Meerabai and others famous worshipers. They are often sung during night long celebrations.