Honouring the Groom And His Family
Varapuje literally means performing pooja for the groom who is also called the ‘vara’. According to Hindu tradition, the bridegroom is considered to be the Lord himself. Varapuje is conducted a day before the marriage, the groom and his family leave for the marriage hall after lighting a deepa in front of the deity in their house. Meanwhile, the bride’s family gets ready to receive the groom. Her relatives welcome the groom with ‘aarthi thate’ which is a plate filled with a kumkum and turmeric water, garland the groom’s parents and Kalashagitti (the girls who carry the Kalasha, usually a sister of the groom).
Significance of Varapuje Ritual In Kannada Brahmin Madhwa Weddings
In this wedding ritual, the bride’s parents respectfully invite all the relatives of the groom to the wedding venue, wash the feet of the bridegroom, apply Kumkum on the foreheads of his relatives and after giving them welcome gifts, lead them to the wedding venue. The nadaswaram is played by the musical band once the groom enters the venue.
The groom is given a suit, Shalya (a piece of cloth worn on the shoulder) and then invited to have snacks and later a light dinner is arranged for the guests. The groom's family also carries goodies for the bride like 5 types of fruits, snacks, and cosmetics. After the rituals are done everyone is given a sweetmeat called 'Kobbari Mithai'. The groom's relatives who are called 'bigaru' are formally invited by the bride's family for a meal called 'bisiladige oota'. The Puja Vidhi depends on family customs.
The parents of the bride, gift shirt/pant or any dress preferred by the groom to him and parents of the groom gift the bride, saree or any other dress preferred by her. In some cases, the Wedding Reception is also conducted on the same day as the varapuje. In such instances, the bride and the groom wear the dresses gifted by their to-be in-laws thereby showcasing their respect for them.