What Is a Haldi Ceremony?



Haldi – The Ingredient

The word “Haldi” (Tumeric in English) is the vivid yellow spice used in the ceremony. This powerful superfood has been known to have a myriad of health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties and skin benefits. In Indian culture, Haldi is a precious spice used in cooking, Ayurveda and religious ceremonies. Haldi powder is created by drying and pulverizing the rhizomes of this flowering plant, Curcuma Longa, a species of ginger.

The Haldi Ceremony – Introduction

Indian weddings are multi-day events and the first event that kicks off the wedding week is the Haldi ceremony. The Haldi ceremony is practiced in different cultures throughout India and therefore may have different names. For example, in Gujarati weddings it is known as the Pithi. At Muslim weddings, it is known as the Manjha. In Sikh culture, this is the Mayian, Batna (Vatna) ceremony. Bengalis call this event Gaye Holud. Whatever the name, this non-religious cultural ceremony is a jolt of fun to start the Indian wedding celebrations.

What Happens at a Haldi Ceremony?

Typically, the bride and groom have separate Haldi ceremonies at their respective homes. At this time, the bride and groom are not supposed to see each other. However, more often I have seen a joint Haldi ceremony as well. The bride and groom’s family prepare a haldi paste that consists of turmeric, sandalwood, rosewater and yogurt.

Now here is where the fun starts…

Each member of the family takes turns to SMEAR the tumeric paste on the bride and groom. It is so much fun to capture the reaction of the bride and groom as cold wet paste touches their face, hands, feet and arms. Sometimes a playful relative will get really creative and rub in the paste where the bride and groom least expect it. The haldi ceremony really gets the laughter rolling!

During the haldi function, you will hear lots music and singing. The women of the family will sing folk songs and beat an Indian drum called a dohl. These folk songs are about love, marriage and finding a partner in life.

Typically, a haldi function will last 2-3 hours followed by Indian snacks, chai and treats for the guests.

What is the Significance of Haldi Ceremony?

The main reason is to beautify the bride and groom’s skin and leave it gleaming for their wedding week. In Indian culture, tumeric is also believed have powerful purification properties and to rid any bad omen’s before the wedding.

What are Haldi Outfits I can wear?

For the bride, anything Yellow is the answer! The bride usually wears a yellow haldi dress such as a lehenga choli, saree or shalwar kameez. The style is totally up to the bride! Here are some great options: Haldi Dress Ideas.

As a wedding guest, you can also wear an indian outfit or any smart casual outfit that you don’t mind getting tumeric stains on. Tumeric stains are tough to remove so if you do get some paste on you, bring a Tide To Go pen.

My Thoughts About Photographing a Haldi Ceremony?

Overall, I get to capture a lot of unscripted moments at a Haldi event. I would highly recommend having a wedding photographer capture these candid Indian wedding moments between family, friends and loved ones. I typically photograph 2-3 hours of a haldi rasam (ceremony). If there is a ceremonial shower, I love to capture those moments as well even if it means that the bride or groom jumping in the pool!

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