Wedding Planning : Importance of Muhurtham

As wedding planners we are often given the task of fixing auspicious dates and time for the conduct of a wedding or event. Every individual looks forward to the successful completion of any happy occasion/ task undertaken minus the presence of untoward incidents and negative energy.

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Muhurtham refers to an unit of measurement of time that is preferred to perform/ start an important event / action in life.  Muhurtham is the auspicious time in a day that helps to harmonize your energies with those in nature increasing your percentage of success in the venture undertaken. This time is calculated based on the planetary positions in relation to one’s horoscope. A Muhurtham is said to comprise of 2 Ghadiyas or 48 minutes approximately. 

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The effect of  radiation on all terrestrial phenomena is an accepted scientific fact.That this was discovered by our ancestors long ago is testimony enough of their superior intelligence. We all know that the gravitational forces  between the planets in the solar system have a certain influence on the living & non – living things on earth.

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Low tides & high tides are due to the influence of the waning and waxing of the Moon. It is a well known fact that the Sun’s rays has a certain effect on the biological process and the moon plays an important role in our psychological activities. So when the auspicious time is arrived at, it is believed that the positive energy prevailing at that time is ideal in contributing to the success of the task on hand.

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In fact this is the reason why our elders insist on rising early in the morning – to reap the benefits of the Brahma Muhurtham which is the early hours of the sun rise when the rays radiated by the sun is said to possess special  qualities that activate the brain cells and help in increasing the positive energy in us to perform better. The electric and magnetic energy in the body when activated at this time provides you with extra powers of discerning, grasping and clarity of thought.

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A lot of thought goes into the fixing of the Muhurtham for a wedding keeping in mind five important aspects –  the Vara [ week day ],Thithi [ lunar day ],Nakshatram [ Stars], Yogam  & Karana. Hindus are more likely to stress on this factor than non – hindus. Although the traditions and rituals are aplenty and varied when you take the various Hindu communities, the underlying factor is that they stick to a particular time slot as the auspicious time.

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While the initial proceedings and rituals related to a wedding usually begin at any time other than ‘Raahu Kaalam’ or ‘Yama Kandam” the more important aspects of a traditional wedding are performed during the Muhurtham time only.

As event managers we ensure the smooth functioning of all aspects to have the successful completion of wedding rituals within the said time.

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As Event Managers people tend to think that only weddings have a great amount of work involved for us. That is not so. Every event has to  be planned with a difference. As event planners that is what is foremost in our mind when we take up an assignment.

As wedding planners we go by the traditions followed by the respective families of the bride and groom. Same applies to life events like Sashtiabdhapoorthi. Each coupe involved in the celebrations has a different idea about going about the rituals.

While some like to make it a socio – religious event, some others prefer to have exclusively as a religious function at a  temple  with just the close family members.

Either way it is an event that requires a lot of planning by us in coordination with the client as it involves elaborate rituals.

Shashtiabdhapoorthi is a Sanskrit word {Shashti = 60; Abdha = Years; Poorthi = Completion} that signifies the completion of 60 years in a person’s life.

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Although it has taken up the connotation of a socio – religious ceremony in recent times, the term as such has deep significance.

According to the Vedas the life span of a man is supposed to be 120 years and completion of 60 years is considered a milestone – completing 50% of his lifetime.

The Hindu calendar also follows the 60 year cycle [ Interestingly the Chinese Calendar too has the 60 year cycle] So on this day all celestial bodies are said to be in alignment just the way they were at the time of the person’s birth.

The rituals undertaken at this time is said to rejuvenate and bring good health and happiness to the couple celebrating the occasion.

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Elaborate homams are performed at the end of which the couple reaffirms their marriage wows with the re-enactment of the wedding rituals especially the Maangalya Dhaaranam.

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The general itinerary begins with the Ganapathi Homam, followed by the Sankalpam, Nandhee Shradham [invoking the blessings of the ancestors] punyaham, Mangalasnaanam and Mangalya dhaaranam.

An important aspect of the proceedings is the Kalasa Sthaapanam. The number of Kalasaas used can vary from 60, 33 or 12.Various Vedic mantras are chanted a particular number of times and the water in the Kalasaas are thus charged with positive energy.

The water from these kalasas are then poured on the couple during the Mangala Snaanam and it is said to energize and endow the couple with good health hence.

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Various homams like the Ayush Homam, Navagraha Homam, Dhanvantrii Homam, Maha Mrithyunjaya Homam and Jayaathi Homam are performed. All these are performed to bless the couple with good health, longevity & prosperity.

No ceremony of this nature is complete without the ‘Dhaanams’.

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10 types of Dhaanam or offerings are given away by the couple to be blessed with happiness and prosperity. This is known as Dasa Dhaanam. Dasa = Ten.

  1. Cow or ‘Gho’ Dhaanam: Cow is scared to the Hindus and Gho Dhaanam is said to bring about peace and good fortune. Nowadays in lieu of it, Gho Mooplya [price of the cow] or even Coconut can be offered to get the same effect.
  2. Gold or Hiranya Dhaanam is supposed to free the giver from all sins.
  3. Bhoo Dhaanam or Offering Land: This is now completed with the offering of a sandal wood log in lieu of land.
  4. Vasthra Dhaanam or Cloth offerings
  5. Jaggery is offered as Dhaanam to appease Goddess Lakshmi for prosperity
  6. Salt is offered in charity to appease Lord Rudra for good Health
  7. Food Grains are offered as Dhaanam
  8. Silver is offered in charity to please our ‘pithrus’ or ancestors and Lord Vishnu as well.
  9. Ghee Dhaanam is given in a bronze vessel and is said to purify and free the soul. Offering Ghee is said to please all Devathas.
  10. Sesame is offered in an iron or copper vessel. It helps the giver to wash away all his sins and enjoy a renewed life.

Besides these the Pancha or Five Dhaanams are also offered by many.

These Include:

A religious book

Vasthram or clothes

Deepam.

Udhaka Kumbam [water taken in a brass or copper vessel]

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Finally the Phala dhaanam and the Bhoori Dhakshina are done to seek the blessings of all the scholars present and participating there.

It ends with the Maha Aashirwaadham.

As you can see the poojas are held on two different days and as event planners we normally recommend the first day’s poojas to be performed amidst close family at home. Day 2 is made elaborate due to the presence of extended family and relatives who look forward to the chance of blessing and being blessed by the couple.

NALANGU

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Event Management, fun as it may seem from the outside involves  a lot of preparation in terms of understanding the various traditions of the different religions and communities spread across India. Event planning as the term denotes is simply making available all the things required for the conduct of a function well before time and in the required manner.

The term ‘Nalangu’ is used in different connotations during weddings across various communities in the South of India. As wedding event managers it is important for us to have a good understanding of the various rituals and traditions followed by each community to be able to make the necessary arrangements.

In some communities the term  ‘Nalangu’ refers to the ceremony that is held on the evening prior to the actual wedding. Here the bride is bedecked and seated and all the Sumangalis in the family apply sandal paste to her face, hands and legs. Kumkum is then applied on the forehead. Rose water and flowers are then sprinkled over her head as a form of blessing. Aarathi is then performed to end the ritual.

This is considered by some as a cleansing as well as a beautification ceremony of the bride. Whatever be the actual significance the presence of aromatic elements like sandal paste, flowers , rose water etc lends a harmonious and auspicious note as a precursor to the wedding.

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In Tamil Brahmin weddings ‘Nalangu’ refers to the fun filled game session that comes immediately after the wedding is over. It is looked forward to as an opportunity for both families to interact in a relaxed manner sharing a sense of bonhomie and camaraderie after the hectic wedding preparations. A lot of music and cheer fills the air with both parties taking sides in supporting the bride and groom in the course of the small games that are conducted.

A few decades ago this ritual was mostly skipped as most felt it was unnecessary and not suitable to current day scenario. But in recent times the young couples evince great interest in the conduct of this wedding ritual. As event managers we are often asked to bring in innovative games to make it a participative ritual.

The bride and groom are seated opposite each other on a mat on the floor and the session starts with a small ‘make – up’ session where the couple have to apply sandal paste, kumkum, powder and other beautifying elements on each other. This is followed by rolling of the coconut across the floor to each other which is followed by a tug – of – war contest to see who is stronger of the two in retrieving the coconut, exchange of rice & dal, and breaking of the appalams to the accompaniment of loud cheers and shouts.

In some sects this tradition is  a part of the wedding function and is therefore not taken out as a separate event.

These games were of significance in olden days where at times the bride and groom were not given an opportunity to meet each other before the wedding.  Such games helped them tide over their inhibitions and facilitated physical proximity. It is also said that when child marriages were the order of the day in yester years such games were conducted to entertain the child bride & groom. Now it is more of a fun filled entertainment session.