A Guide to Griha Pravesha in Hindu Weddings

A Guide to Griha Pravesha in Hindu Weddings

Griha Pravesha also called grihapravesam or housewarming/entering ceremony is the grand finale of a Hindu wedding celebration. This ritual marks the bride’s entry as a newly married woman into her husband’s home. This ceremony has various rituals specific to different cultures, but the physical act of the bride entering her new home is constant. Read on as we provide an ultimate guide and a step-by-step procedure on performing vadhu griha-pravesh after marriage.

Different Customs in Different States

Weddings in India are the perfect example of how this large country’s culture is so similar yet so diverse. A vast majority of wedding traditions remain the same across the nation but are performed differently in each state of India. Right from the engagement ceremony to the saat phere or saptapadi, the mangalsutra, bidaai, and the griha pravesh, all the rituals hold the same meaning but are visually different from one another.

Similarly, the rules of the gruhapravesam may change from state to state, but the emotion remains. The bride entering her matrimonial household by kicking a pot filled with rice and entering the house with her right foot is a main tradition commonly seen in most states. A few other traditions from various other states are listed below:

  1. The bride, after kicking the pot laden with rice, places her feet on a plate filled with vermillion/sindoor water. After her feet are dipped in the colored water, she takes a few steps into the home, leaving red footprints behind as she walks, symbolizing the entry of Goddess Lakshmi into the household.
  2. In some cultures, the bride also dips her hand in vermillion/sindoor water and leaves hand prints on the wall outside the house to signify her presence. This ritual is also performed during new housewarming ceremonies and Diwali celebrations as well.
  3. In Bengali traditions, the bride is shown a fish at the door before she enters, as a fish is considered to have an auspicious significance in their culture, symbolizing fertility and good luck.
  4. In Gujarat and a few other states, the couple is made to play games as soon as the griha pravesh is over to make them more comfortable and intimate with each other. The most commonly seen game is finding the ring in a pot of water, and the winner is said to have the upper hand in the marriage.
  5. In the North Indian states, it is customary for the bride to prepare a sweet dish for all the members at home as a part of the griha pravesh ceremony.
  6. In Maharashtra and Gujrat, the bride is seen carrying a copper pot filled with rice and coins symbolizing the prosperity that the bride brings to her new home.
  7. In most parts of South India, the bride along with the groom is welcomed home with a traditional aarti. This is also done to ward off any evil eye that may have fallen upon them throughout the wedding ceremony.
  8. Dwar rokai ceremony, commonly seen in the north and western parts of India, is a tradition where the groom’s sisters block the entry of the newly married couple into the home. This is a light-hearted and playful ritual where the groom has to pay the hefty price that the sisters demand to enter with his bride.

Understanding the Sacred Rituals and Traditions

Of all the rituals and traditions in the ceremony, the most important is the griha pravesh rice ritual. A pot or a kalash filled with rice and sometimes coins is placed on the threshold of the house. The bride before entering the house has to tip over this pot with her right foot allowing the rice to fall into the house. This act is symbolic of the bride spilling over happiness and prosperity as she walks in. 

Post this, the bride places her feet into a plate filled with alta/sindoor/vermillion water. The color red of the vermillion is a symbol of a married woman in India and the sindoor itself holds a scientific value in controlling blood pressure. Hence the sindoor is used on the forehead, and in this case, to color the footprints of the bride. These footsteps represent the entry of Goddess Lakshmi into the house. 

After the bride enters the home, she lights the lamp in front of God before continuing to other rituals. Games are played in some cultures as in the olden days the bride and the groom would not have been acquainted before marriage. But this is a good ice breaker and helps ease the bride into her new family. Finding the ring, rolling the coconut, and unknotting the thread are a few common games, each filled with a hidden lesson on how marital life should progress.

TheSignificance Behind Rice Ritual in Griha Pravesha

The main tradition in the griha pravesh is the physical act of the bride toppling a pot of rice as she enters her husband’s home. Sometimes if the groom is from a different city, then this ceremony is done at the wedding venue itself and the bride enters the groom’s room. 

The symbolic meaning of this act is that the bride brings with her abundant happiness to her matrimonial house. The overflowing pot of rice, as she tips it across the threshold, is a metaphor for continued prosperity in the house. This ceremony is celebrated with much cheer by the groom’s family who stand on the other side of the threshold, waiting to welcome their new bride. 

Attire for Griha Pravesha

While there is no specific grihapravesam attire, it is common for brides in some cultures to perform this tradition in the wedding attire itself. In communities that speak Kannada and Telugu, the bride has to wear a red and white saree for the wedding and also enter her new home in the same saree. 

If not the wedding attire, a commonly chosen color for this ceremony is red which symbolizes prosperity and fertility in married women. Jewellery plays a key role in the attire with gold being the commonly found auspicious jewellery. 

The additions seen in the bride’s attire after the wedding are the mangalsutra and specific bangles from the wedding.

The griha pravesha marks the beginning of a new chapter for the bride and is hence more than just another wedding ritual. From here on she becomes a part of a new family that wholeheartedly accepts her and welcomes her into their home. 

The groom’s family even decorates the new home to celebrate the arrival of their new member. This ceremony has gotten a little more informal and comfortable these days as the bride knows her marital family well before the day of the marriage. Nevertheless, this tradition holds a deep meaning passed down from generations.