All of us have seen the bride throw rice//Akshintalu at her wedding ceremony, but have you ever wondered why does she do so? When you will start to research it, you will find out how the old tradition has been wonderfully accepted by the modern age.
The reason for throwing the rice at the wedding is that this practice is followed since the ancient Roman times, where guests would the newly wedded couple with luck and prosperity. Back then, rice was a sign of fertility and prosperity, so the practice made a much bigger sense back then. It was a way by which the couple was blessed with health, finance, and off-springs.
It is lovely how the tradition has been kept alive over all these years and not forgotten. Though there are modifications and the rice can be replaced by things like confetti and flowers. Yet, the sentiments and blessings remain the same irrespective of what is thrown. All that matters is the hope for positivity and a great future together.
There are also a few more reasons why the rice is thrown. It is believed that when the daughter leaves her parent’s house after marriage, she throws the rice in order to reassure them. It means that no matter what and even if she is leaving the house right now, she will also be praying for their wellness and spiritual prosperity.
The preparations of Indian weddings begin well in advance. To make the day memorable and special the families preferably book the best caterers, decorators and the venue to keep all things in harmony and lively. The weddings are also filled with the traditions and rituals that have been followed for years, which may not make much sense to people who lack the knowledge of the ancient texts and the spiritual meaning behind each ritual.
One of these rituals is the Vidai when the bride leaves her mother’s house and sets off to go to her new husband’s house. Here at this ceremony, the newly married bride is requested to throw a handful of rice behind as she walks ahead to her new house along with her husband. While stepping ahead why does she throw it behind and why doesn’t she look back? We have the answers for you.
The Hindi term for the wedding is Vivah. In the Northern parts of India, the ceremony is called the Vivaah Sanskar and in the South as Kalyanam. The ceremonies are bright and colorful with a lively atmosphere. Hindu weddings take place in a structure that is called the Mandap. The Mehendi or henna is put on the bride’s hands and feet as one of the rituals before the wedding begins. Also, there are other rituals like the Ganesh Pujan which is performed to eliminate all the hurdles from the function, The Vara Yatra which is the arrival or the entry of groom or dulha and party, The Grahashanti is a ritual performed to maintain peace and harmony at home, The Kanyadaan in which the bride is taken to the mandap by her brother or uncle, The Hastamilap is like sangeet where all come together to celebrate the happiness and joy for the marriage, and then the Vidai and the wedding ceremony. The meaning of Vidai in English is Goodbye. After the Vidai ceremony, when she is stepping out of her house, the bride throws three or five handfuls of rice behind, which is also mixed with coins and flowers from the top of her head. This rice is collected by the women or parents and friends in their Pallu or clothing. After this, the bride goes to her car without looking back. The Celts who were mighty warriors of the agronomist culture threw rice, millet, and grains to soothe the spirits and ask for blessing the couple with fertility and prosperity. The Romans used wheat. And the Italians tossed candies or sugar-coated nuts. Even I different cultures across the world this ceremony is believed and followed.
In Hinduism, a daughter is said to be regarded as Goddess Laxmi who is the goddess of food and prosperity. And so, when the daughter is going away from the home it is considered auspicious to throw behind the symbolic food for the blessing her family with materialistic and spiritual wealth. The bride is also said to leave behind the spirituals debts that she owes to her parents. And so she can start a new journey at her new home with no leftover baggage.
To the weddings who have utmost importance in rituals and ceremonies. For then every aspect attached to the weddings holds a lot of significance and meaning, from applying Haldi (a paste of turmeric and milk) to the groom and the bride, to taking promises around the Agni. None of these traditions is done for just enjoyment but has deep meanings behind them.
The Vidaai is one of these ceremonies where the newly bride throws handfuls of rice throws rice over her head after the final rituals are done, and she says a Goodbye. Many consider it to be a wastage of grain but the ritual has a wonderful meaning behind performing it.
Vidai is a lovely and expressive ritual in Hindu marriages. It signifies a time for the bride to leave her house. The ceremony is full of emotions and is a painful moment experienced by her parents and family.
The ceremony takes place post the wedding once all the rituals have been completed and she has been married to her husband. The ritual shows how the bride is giving back to her parents all that they have given her in over the years and time.
She is given a tearful farewell and with this, the family and friends also bless her to live a happy and joyous family life. Then the father takes her to the Doli or car and gives her to her groom.
The Significance of the Ritual
The Hindus consider their daughters to be a form of Goddess Laxmi who attracts wealth and prosperity in the house. So, when she is performing the Vidai ceremony is a way to express reassurance of her goodness and blessings to always be with them. She promises to pray for security, health, and spiritual wellness even though she may not be living with them anymore. She also thanks them for taking care of her and fulfilling all her needs since childhood. The action is a token of thanksgiving and love. She also thanks to them for the love they have showered upon her and treated her well enough to reach this stage in life. And not just the parents but also her relatives and friends are thanked and appreciated by this ceremony.
Significance of Rice
The rice grains have a great significance in Hindu customs. It is believed to be a symbol of prosperity and wealth. And may it be any part of India, rice is one of the one main grain that surpasses cultures and is a very essential part of Indian weddings. In the west, it is a symbol of wellness, fortune and fertility. Rice is also chief of the Indian diet has many life-sustaining qualities in its nutrients. Also, it is considered to remove all the evil out of the ceremony and future thus it is considered as the ideal grain for the process.