Weddings in India are the ultimate ‘IT’ factor. It is a festival, in all probability and possibility, which includes all things extravagant. Brimming with opulence and the lethal combination of band-baaja-baarat, this celebration is marked by several holy rituals which the couple and their family have to complete before the marriage. Every custom comes with a set of beliefs, cultural significance and tons of good wishes for the man and wife-to-be. Amongst our favourite ones is to witness are the chooda and kalire ceremonies held for every bride-to-be! In case you haven’t watched one, here, Parineeti Chopra in Namaste England makes for a beautiful Punjabi bride.
The set of red and white bangles you see on her hands in the film are called the chooda. These red and white bangles are as if the key to identifying a newlywed around you. But have you ever wondered what might be the importance? Traditionally, a set of 21 such bangles are picked by the bride’s maternal uncle (Mama) and (Mami). While off late you can find the colour ranging from purple, orange, pink and more, as per the custom it ideally has to be red or maroon with white or ivory bangles.
On the day of the wedding, a pooja is held and the bride is made to wear the chooda. The wrists are then covered with a white cloth for the Mrs.-to-be cannot see it until the wedding ceremonies. The bride has to, however, continue wearing the chooda for the next 40-45 days. Popular beliefs suggest that these bangles are symbolic of prosperity and bring good luck in the lives of the new couple. Also, the colour red is believed to strengthen the love between a husband and wife. Chooda is a very important part of a bride’s solah shringaar.
In combination with the chooda are these hangings, believed to represent happiness and love, called kalire. The bridesmaids and sisters usually perform the ritual of tying the kalire to the chooda. While the colour can vary between gold or silver, the bride-to-be has to shake this set over her friends and sisters. It is said that if a part or piece of kalire falls on any girl, she will be the next to get married! Kalire is said to symbolize good wishes and wealth, and that the bride-to-be will never run out of food at her new home.
A day after the wedding, the bride must leave one kalire with the priest at the temple to seek blessings while another one is kept by her parents as a token of her sweet memories! Contrary to the modern-day norms where perhaps some refuse to believe in the institution of marriage, these customs remind us of the solid foundation that is being laid for a bright future! Not only are these traditions promising but also full of fun n’ frolic.
Were you one of the brides who wore a chooda and kalire at her wedding? Share your designs in the comments box with us below!
Catch Arjun and Parineeti’s stellar performance in Namaste England on ZEE5 now!