Traditions Associated With Lingayat Weddings

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Article By Jawad Akhta

Lingayats are a distinctive and popular community in the southern part of India. The Lingayat community was formed ages back in the 12th century by the then social reformer and philosopher, Basavanna, and had gained disciples in these ages. Since then the community has evolved by leaps and bounds and is known for being strictly against any kind of caste differences.

The Lingayats are worshipers of Lord Shiva and are pure vegetarian in nature. They are very rich in their traditional culture and rituals and have always adhered to maintain them with sanctity and transparency.

Every festivity every occasion of the Lingayats is beautiful and has unique rituals. Same goes with the Lingayat weddings.

The Lingayat wedding is strictly an orthodox wedding affair and lasts for a span of four days. It involves various rituals, into which various other regional rituals too have been embedded into with the passage of time.

The ‘a typical Lingayat wedding' starts with the ritual of videghalne when the special marriage booths are set up in individually in the houses of the bride and the bride-groom. The videghalne is a pre-marriage ceremony and after deciding mutually upon an auspicious time, the first pole of the marriage booths is set up in both the houses. On this day, videghalne or betel leaves is served along with flowers and nuts which are considered auspicious among Lingayats and the priest announces the wedding among the relatives, guests and prominent community members. After this the bride is the beautifully done up in beautiful and new ornaments and offered sugar candy pieces.

This is followed by the gugul ceremony, when special prayers are offered to Lord Ganesha and Lord Virbhadra. During the gugul ceremony, two earthen pots are cut into pieces from which the widest portion from the middle are taken out and filled with ashes with gugul, sandal-paste, kunku and flowers sprinkled upon it. This is then lighted and then carried to the nearest river or pond by two priests and two kinsmen. After this, the pots are kept on the ground and the head of the family washes the feet of their religious head and seeks his blessings for the Iyenger matrimony. Following this, the pots are broken and betel is served to one and all present.

The third day consists of the devaka ceremony, which is the marriage guardian ceremony. It is a celebration of the devaka, which is the same for all the Lingayats. Post devaka ceremony, the bride-groom sets out for the wedding in a procession.

The wedding generally takes place in the evening and the bride and the bride-groom are seated next to each other on low-wooden stools and are dressed up in simple attire. Unlike other Hindu weddings, there is no saptapadi ritual in the Lingayat matrimony.

The final ritual is comes to an end on the fourth night when the bride and the bride-groom visit the matha on a horse and pay their prayers to the Swami to seek blessings. The procession ends by returning the bride-groom's house and the day is called off with a grand feast and distribution of alms.

Jawad is a web enthusiast and a writer. Jawad has afforded his articles and write-ups autonomously and through various online forums.

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