Sumangali is a term for a married woman whose husband is still alive. Sumangali poojai is one of the rituals that is associated with the wedding. While some families perform this pooja before the wedding (mostly in the bride’s family), there are some that conduct this pooja after the wedding, when its conducted by the bridegroom’s family. It is one of the special poojas that follows the customs of each family.
How is the Pooja Performed?
The pooja is performed in the presence of a Vedic scholar. The powerful mantras they chant bring in positive vibrations around the house.
Usually, an odd number of sumangalis are invited. (In Hindu rituals, there is a lot of significance given to odd numbers as it is an indication that the odd one is for God. There is also a belief that when you use odd numbers, the ritual is left incomplete and such similar rituals carried will be carried out in the future). The ritual is complete when the women together sing the traditional sumangali pooja songs.
The sumangalis are invited by offering turmeric powder, kumkum, gingely oil and shikakai (Shikakai is a traditional herb powder made from the leaves, fruit pods and bark of the Acacia concinna tree) on the previous day of the pooja. They have head bath on the day of the pooja, wear nine-yard sarees and participate in the sumangali pooja. A lamp is lit and prayers are offered to the goddess. During this time, the departed souls of the family are remembered. The ritual is also a way of saying thank you to the mother and praying for her wellness.
Generally, sumangali women wear the traditional nine yards saree. Some families have the custom of gifting blouse bits and essential make-up items like kumkum boxes, mirrors, and combs for sumangalis as return gifts for attending the ceremony. The sumangalis bless the Brahmin Iyengar bride for a happy and prosperous married life.
Benefits of performing Sumangali Pooja
- Helps in seeking blessings of ancestors
- This pooja is also performed before any auspicious event in the family
- Longevity of life for the husband is sought through this pooja