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Rajasthani Customs And Traditions !!!

A state dipped in age old heritage is undoubtedly rich with numerous customs and traditions. Be it the celebration of a child birth or auspicious occasion of marriage, the rituals and traditions of Rajasthan fill the entire ambience with multiple colour and buoyancy.
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Unforgettable Customs and Traditions of Royal Rajasthan
Rajasthan is a home to magnificent forts and palaces, which have earned tremendous popularity today, in the world tourist map. Beside its rich
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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 husband’s 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 certain deaths.

Major Customs and Traditions Of Rajasthan !!!
Birth : 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.

Marriage : 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 : 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.

Death : 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 father’s mother.

Marriage Ceremonies
Rajasthani Marriage - Most Joyfull Event
Marriages are made in heaven and it is the most auspicious occasion of the entire life of Indians.
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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.

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.
Divine Rituals of An Eternal Marriage
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 boy’s 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 boy’s 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 boy’s 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 bride’s place at an auspicious hour.

As the marriage party prepares to leave for the bride’s 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 bride’s 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 bride’s house, come to have a look at you’. When the party reaches the bride’s 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 bride’s 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.

Auspicious 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.
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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, sorcerer’s 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.

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.
As the Child Comes To World
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 father’s 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 the occasion.

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 one’s 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 baby’s 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 infant’s 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.

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