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Wedding » Indian-customs » Newly-wed-puja-070824
 
Sumangali Prarthanai
A Prayer For The Welfare Of The Newly Weds

Sumangali Prarthanai The Sumangali Prarthanai is a prayer to the departed Sumangalis to bless the bride and the groom. It is similar to the prayer North Indian families conduct to the women who died 'Suhagan' and seek the blessing of 'Sada Suhagan' for the bride-to-be.

A Sumangali is a married woman living with her husband. The Hindu dharma has always considered the blessings of ancestors as important for the happiness and well being of the future generations. No important function is considered complete without invoking the blessings of the ancestors.

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Sumangali Prarthanai is an important puja performed in South Indian Brahmin homes a week or fortnight before auspicious occasions like weddings and thread ceremonies. It is essentially a women's function and is performed by both the bride and grooms families to invoke the blessings of the departed sumangalis (women who have preceded their husband's to death) in the family.

The function centres on the eldest married daughter of the family. The special invitees are the daughters of the entire family and older sumangalis.

Generally five or seven sumangalis, including a kanya girl (less than twelve years of age) are requested to take part in the main function. Saris and dress for the kanya girl are given as gifts in addition to auspicious items in the thamboolam like bangles, mirror, comb, kumkum box and blouse pieces.

The sari bought for the eldest daughter or oldest sumangali is dipped, dried and beautifully pleated up and placed on a wooden plank. It is adorned with the jewels bought for the bride and all the gifts including fruits and flowers are placed before the decorated sari. This sari represents all the departed sumangalis of the family.

The special invitees have a traditional oil bath and are invited to lunch by the other women members of the family. The women folk clap their hands and invite them to a sumptuous lunch served on banana leaves. The menu depends on the family tradition.

After lunch, the gifts are given. The daughter wears the sari that has been decorated, and all the sumangalis bestow their blessings on the bride-to-be.

Great care is taken to please the special invitees'. The sari and blouse pieces should not have any black thread or colour on them, as this is considered inauspicious.

The function is performed in the bride's home before the wedding. The groom's family celebrates this puja after the wedding and the bride's parents and close relatives also take part in the function. This puja is performed with great care and reverence to the departed souls.

Geetha Dasarathy
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