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Unforgettable Customs and Traditions of Royal
Rajasthan is a home to magnificent forts and palaces, which have earned
tremendous popularity today, in the world tourist map. Beside its rich
heritage culture and monuments, Rajasthan holds a strong customs and
traditions with in its geographical boundaries. The warmth of its rich
custom and old tradition can be witnessed, once you are on your royal trail
to its stunning cities of Maharajahs. The impression of its rich culture and
old tradition can be felt at each corner of Rajasthan, wherever you map out
your trip to experience the real Rajasthani style and not to forget try
visiting the interiors of Rajasthan, as it allows the best vision for
enthusiastic travellers to adventure the ages old culturally rich and
extensive tradition, which help in keeping the variant cities of Rajasthan
on top priorities.
Heart Warming Rajasthani Customs !!!
Rajasthan has always served loyalty to many warrior kings and gallantry
queens, which were once the pride of limitless desert and so were their
customs. There were many heart threatening ritual like the Sati Pratha and
Jahur act, which is merely unacceptable in today world, although the
practice of Sati is now rare, but still in some part of Rajasthan, they are
often practiced. According to Hindu funeral custom, Sati practice is that,
in which a widow of dead men used to immolates herself on her husbands
funeral pyre. At the time, when the instances self immolation began, it is
to be marked by inscribed memorial stones and once the sacrifice killing is
done, these stones are used as shrines, where the dead woman became an
object of reverence and worship. Whereas, the Jahur act, simply signifies
that, whenever there is a savior danger at the time of battles, Rajput
community warriors declare the Jahur act, following which the gallant womens
of Rajputana had to commit self immolation, by burning themselves to the
flames, while the Rajput warriors donned saffron robes and rode out to
Major Customs and Traditions Of Rajasthan !!!
According to Rajasthani traditional culture, the
birth of a boy child is greeted with great rejoicing and celebration.
However, the birth of a girl child is considered to be a cause of
commiseration, and therefore not much joyous celebration takes place. After
the birth, the infant babies are offered prayers to ward off evil spirits
known as dakins and chureils.
It is said that marriages are made in heaven,
but in Rajasthan they are arranged by parents. The engagement is announced ,
once a suitable match is found and the horoscope of both the partners
compared by a priest and found to be compatible. According to Rajasthani
tradition, the father of a girl child send her future father-in-law a
coconut. Once the coconut is received, than the marriage is inevitable.
Purdah literally means "curtain",
which is a practice of preventing men from seeing womens. Using purdah has
great significance and importance in Rajasthani custom. Since from the
Rajput times, the isolation of married women, was prevalent among the upper
echelons of society, particularly Rajputs. Maintaining a women in purdah
reflected favourably on her husband, as a symbol of his wealth and position.
For most of the time the womens of royal families used to keep themselves in
purdahs and their were special zenanas for them to see the day today lives
and city procession.
Dowry System :
Rajasthan is highly placed in terms of
dowry at the time of marriages. The parents of a girl children can be
plunged into terrible debt trying to maintain their honor by sending their
daughter to her in-law-home with appropriate gift of cash, jewellery,
luxuries like television, cars, washing machine, furniture and even the bed
with other decorative items. If the family of bridegroom found that the
dowry is not adequate, than further demands can be raised from the bride's
family and if the demands are not fulfilled, at time the bride burning,
dowry deaths, and stove fires are very common in rural Rajasthan.
Divorce and Remarriage :
Traditional among the Jats,
Gujjars, and other scheduled castes and tribes, a married womens is
permitted to remarry, following the death of her husband. However, the new
husband is required to pay the compensation to both the relatives of former
husband and to the bride's parents. Whereas, the divorce, was once
forbidden, but it is now more prevalent among these castes. If a women
wishes to for a divorce to marry other men, than she has to pay a
compensation to the former husband and his family.
According to Hindu customs, once a person is
dead, he or she will be burned to rest in peace, so as to get the heaven
after death. Whereas, Twelve days after the cremation, if the deceased was
the male head of the family, than a symbolic turban tying is performed, in
which, the son of a deceased person is introduced to the local community.
Whereas, the death feast is known as Terwa or Kariyawar, which is held on
the 13th day of death. On the Terwa day, a death feast is offered to all the
relatives of the family, including the elders and children of thelocality.
Music and Dance :
Rajasthani music has strong religious
flavour and most of its songs are sung with full devotion to myriad deities.
Some religious songs are folk idioms of Saints, Surdas, Kabirdas, Meerabai
and others famous worshipers. These songs are mostly heard in nightlong soirées
or in the rural villages of Rajasthan.
Forgotten Traditions of The Society
The custom of pre-natal betrothal still lingers. In two families of great
intimacy, should the wives become the pregnant during the same period, an
agreement is made between the parents that if the children be of opposite
sex, they would be betrothed to each other. The once widely spread custom of
infant marriage is also still prevalent among certain castes but is being
slowly admitted as a social evil which gravely affects the health of girls
who get exposed to child-bearing soon after attaining puberty, and in case
they unfortunately become widowed at that early are, to a lifelong sorrow.
Almost all communities are endogamous with respect to caste and exogamous
with respect to their branch called gotra. No marriage is thus contracted
between persons belonging to the same gotra or that of the mother and of the
Rajasthani Marriage - Most Joyfull Event
Marriages are made in heaven and it is the most auspicious occasion of the
entire life of Indians.
All measures are taken to make this day ecstatic when two people start for
the eternal voyage of life. Relatives from both the sides of bride and groom
take part in every minutest rituals and traditions of the long going
marriage function and this add more hue to the festive mood.
Prosperous Days to Start a New Life
Akhateej, the third day of the brought half of the month of Baisakh (May),
is considered to be the most auspicious day for a wedding. Dev uthani
gyaras, dhulandi, basant panchmi and janam ashtami are days specially
popular with the Jat, Gujar, Ahir, Sunar, Nai and Mina communities. No
priest or astrologer is required to be consulted for this from the
constellations. Similar importance is given to bharla naumi, the ninth day
of the bright half of asadh (June). A pundit is otherwise usually consulted
to recommend an auspicious time for the event. The auspicious time, called
the mahurat, is worked out by finding the most favourable alignment of the
lunar phase with the solar cycle and the conjunction of the nine planets.
Rituals of An Eternal Marriage
Do You Know
The custom of pre-natal betrothal still lingers.
In two families of great intimacy, should the wives become the pregnant
during the same period, an agreement is made between the parents that if the
children be of opposite sex, they would be betrothed to each other.
The sequence of events in a marriage generally starts with a betrothal
ceremony called sagai when the village-barber, who may be accompained by
some near relatives, proceeds to the boys residence, usually in a
nearby village, along with some money to be presented to the boy in the
presence of people invited to witness the function. The boys father
then sends some cloths and a set of bangles called chura for the girl. Later
a date is fixed for the wedding, a communication called lagan or peeli
chitthi, meaning a turmeric coloured letter, is sent to the boys home,
through the barber informing about the mahurat. This also received and read
before the invited guests. Wedding atmosphere then prevails in both the
families and women assemble and sing songs of marriage to the accompaniment
of drums eulogizing the valour of the boy and the beauty of the girl.
The application of this astringent as a ceremony is held every evening till
the wedding day. During this period the boy and the girl are invited
separately by their friends and relatives on meals called bindora and
bindori respectively. Bindora procession to take the bridegroom back to his
residence is very interesting. He walks under an improvised canopy formed by
spreading an ornamented odhni, each corner held by a suhagin (Married Woman)
and the centre of the canopy held aloft with the help of the bridal sword by
the groom himself.
After a ceremonial bath on the wedding day the bride groom is adorned with
a special dress red or pink in colour a long jacket called angarkha,
the tight pyjamas or a dhoti, a turban mounted with a coronet called mor and
a crest turra or Kalangi, and ornamented shoes called pagarkhi. A piece of
red cloth two metres in length is tied to the waist of the boy , the free
end of which holds a coconut. Another piece of pink cloth bordered with lace
is carried by the boy over his shoulders which is required to be joined with
the odhni, the veil of the bride, when the marriage ceremony takes place.
The party of the bridegroom jaan or barat, leaves for the brides
place at an auspicious hour.
As the marriage party prepares to leave for the brides place, the
mother of the boy comes forward and publicly suckles the bridegroom in a
ceremony called boba dena. The party is received on the outskirts of the
village by close relatives of the bride and lodged in a procession to the
residence of the kumhar the village potter, to worship wheel and to
fetch basan, bevra and kalash required for the marriage rituals. The brides
mother heads the procession on its way back holding the kalash in her hands
followed by five suhagin carrying the other earthen vessels on their heads.
Passing through the janwasa, women sing a song noted for its melodic
quality, called jala, its refrain saying : peerless partner of our
gazelle-eyed brides house, come to have a look at you. When the
party reaches the brides house, an important ceremony takes place. The
bridegroom touches toran with his ceremonial sword. Toran is a wooden frame,
decorated with toy parrots and peacocks painted in loud colours, which is
fixed on the main door of the brides residence. Bridegrooms of the
Rajputs and a few other communities perform this ceremony riding a mare,
Jats do this while on foot, and the Rebaris ride a she camel.
Special Arrangements For Marriage Day
According to Rajput tradition, mandap or chenwri, the wedding canopy is
decorated with the family weaponry and possessions handed down from
generation to generation, which people other than their own kith and kin are
not permitted to witness. The phera ceremony conducted by a priest in the
presence of the nuptial fire then takes place when the bridal couple goes
round the fire seven times, the bride leading the first three round. Amongst
the bishnois, phera ceremony is not held. After a sacrificial fire, the
bride changes her seat from the right to left of the bridegroom and their
outer garments joined. After some sundry ceremonies the party returns home
with the bride.
Occasion of Child Birth
Birth, marriage and death are inextricably woven in the pattern of folk
customs and tradition. The cultural cycle commences at conception, passes
through birth and marriage, and continues even after death.
The folks consider barrenness as a great misfortune for a family.
Propitiations are made to gods, treatments taken from wizards, talismans
worn round necks, ants fed daily and many other devices employed to have a
child. Once the pregnancy is established, all precautions are taken to
protect the prospective mother from evil influences.
Rituals Followed To Welcome the Child
Charms are fastened round the neck and waist and a knife put under her
pillow at night to avert the evil eye. She is not allowed to go for near
mahua, khakra or khejara tree where spirits are believed to reside. It is
customary that the daughter returns to her parents well in time for her
first delivery. Festivities start and women assemble to sing songs specially
meant for such an occasion, some describing the changing behavior and liking
of a pregnant woman
When the birth pangs begin, the woman is given some butter oil to drink to
help facilitate the delivery. A cow dung cake is kept burning constantly,
into which drops of butter-oil and some incense is cast from time to time
and offerings are made to gods to ensure a safe and easy child-birth.
Promises are made and vows taken that if the child is safely born parents
will take the infant to the deity in due course and offer obeisance in
person by shaving off the hair on head the baby. If the birth pains are
excessive or unbearable, sorcerers help is resorted to. Many women, to
checkmate such an eventuality, start to wear charms prescribed by wizards as
soon as they realize that the pregnancy has occurred.
As the Child
Comes To World
Do You Know
Children born to parents after they have lost
quite a few babies are given some odious names such as Kachra or Kachri,
meaning trash, to save them from the evil eye. It is also a common practice
to get the nose of the newly born pierced and name the child as Nathya or
nathi in cases where children do not survive.
When the child is born, the naval cord is cut with a scythe and the child
rubbed with wheat flour and given a bath. The cord and the placenta are
buried carefully by the new fathers sister to prevent their coming in
the possession of any animal, evil spirit or magician. The birth of the
child is announced by midwife, the nayan-wife of the family barber or by a
senior relatives and close friends and ties strings of mango leaves at their
doors and with the help of cow dung or red earth draws a swastika, a
symbolic representation of Sun, as a sign of good wishes and good news on
After- Birth Ceremonies
The woman is given a partial bath after the delivery. A regular bath is
given on the sixth or seventh day when she is dressed ceremoniously and is
brought out from the delivery room by the younger brother of the husband to
worship the Sun. the baby, anointed with oil and lamp-black put on the
eye-line and a red or blue string tied round its waist, is brought out along
with her. Both are then taken in a procession to the village well for
worship called jalwa.
Although the birth of a son is the most welcome event, a daughter in the
family is also considered essential. Parents who are not blessed with a
daughter to offer in marriage feel themselves unfortunate, as kanyadan-
bestowing of daughter is one of the samskaras- religious obligations
prescribed by the tradition without which ones life is not considered
complete. Children are named usually after gods and goddesses. The tribal
folks name their children after the genius presiding over the days on which
they are born.
Naming Ceremony For the Babies
Often, the first child is called as Jeewa or Amra and Jeevi or Jeevni,
meaning a long life to the new born. If any sign of new Deepan meaning
enough of it. If, however, the destiny wills it otherwise, and there is one
more addition they name her as Bhooli meaning an omission; and, if there is
yet another, she is called Bhoondi, that is ugly. Children born to parents
after they have lost quite a few babies are given some odious names such as
Kachra or Kachri, meaning trash, to save them from the evil eye. It is also
a common practice to get the nose of the newly born pierced and name the
child as Nathya or nathi in cases where children do not survive. Sometimes
the parents who are blesses with a child after much awaiting, get the babys
nose pierced and name it as Nathu or Nathi and clothe it only with the old
garments received from the neighbours. Mangya, Rarha, Kajor, Ghasi, Chhaju
and Ladhya are some other names given by parents to the children who are
born after long yearning and prayers.
Custom, Traditions Follows As the Child Gows
It is usually in the first or in the third year after birth that the folks
have a tonsure ceremony for the child called mundan or jadula. The village
barbar first worships his razor and then proceeds to shave the infants
head leaving a lock of hair. Amongst most of the communities it is the bunch
of hair at the top which is left from cutting.Amongst all communities the
ear lobes of the children are generally pierced when they are about five
years old. The village goldsmith is called to perform this ceremony. The
left nostril and upper rim of the ears are also pierced in case of girls.