All About the Traditional Hindu Wedding Customs Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra May Honor
Pre-wedding festivities continued on Wednesday when Jonas, 26, and Chopra, 36, held a puja, a traditional Hindu ceremony to ask Lord Ganesh to look over the couple and block any obstacles to happiness, at her house.
The couple intends to hold two wedding ceremonies, one honoring each of their backgrounds. “It is super important to Priyanka to have an Indian ceremony that honors her heritage and culture, just as it’s important to also have a Western ceremony that honors Nick’s Christian upbringing,” a source tells PEOPLE. “They are doing both.”
Hindu weddings can include numerous pre-wedding day ceremonies and many day-of rituals, so ahead of the couple’s upcoming nuptials, here’s a look at some of the other elements the “Chains” singer and the former Quantico actress may incorporate into their celebrations.
A Ganesh Puja
Possibly the ceremony that Jonas and Chopra held on Wednesday, the puja is performed to ask Lord Ganesh for good luck because he is believed to be the destroyer of evils and obstacles. The ceremony prepares the couple for their new beginning together.
A Mehendi Ceremony
This ritual can be considered a traditional Hindu bachelorette party, which usually takes place a day or two before the wedding ceremony. (Chopra celebrated an American-style bachelorette party with Turner and other female friends in Amsterdam on the weekend of Nov. 3.) All the women in the bride and groom’s families and close female friends will gather at someone’s home as the bride has elaborate henna designs applied to her hands and feet. The guests usually get a few designs on their hands too.
A Tilak Ceremony
If this didn’t take place at the engagement ceremony months prior — Chopra and Jonas held an engagement party in Mumbai in August — the couple will hold it about 2-3 days before their wedding day. At the ceremony, one of the most important among all of the Hindu marriage customs, the father of the bride lets the groom know he’s worthy of marrying his daughter. The dad applies a white/grey tilak paste to the groom’s forehead as a sign that he’s accepted by the bride’s family before God. Male members of both families are usually in attendance.
A Haldi Ceremony
Normally held a couple of days prior to the wedding, a haldi, or turmeric paste mixed with sandalwood, milk and rose water, is applied by family members on bride and groom’s faces, necks, hands and feet during this ceremony. The turmeric’s yellow color brightens the couple’s skin tone and its medicinal properties are believed to prevent numerous health issues. Hindus also think the turmeric application wards off all “evil eyes” and eases the couple’s nerves before the big day.
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This over-the-top party typically takes place 1-2 days before the wedding. Guests enjoy endless food and drinks and perform songs or dances in honor of the couple. The party usually begins in the evening and can last all night.
Similar to a second Line parade in New Orleans, this tradition involves the groom arriving at the wedding venue riding a costumed horse and surrounded by his family. His family dances and sings all the way to the venue, and there are often drummers and musicians in the procession. When the groom finally arrives, he’s greeted by the bride’s parents, who welcome him with a small blessing.
There are a lot of customs during the actual ceremony, like opening the service with a prayer to Ganesha. To give the bride away, a moment known as kanyadaan, her father will place his daughter’s hands into the groom’s hands. Sometimes the father of the bride will also pour water into his daughter’s hand, which will then flow through her fingers into her future husband’s hand.
Couples typically get married under the mandap, a pillared, open-air structure. A fire burns in the mandap to serve as a witness to the ceremony and offerings are made. In northern India, the pair circles the fire seven times, each representing a specific blessing they ask of the gods. For this ritual, called the saptapadi, the bride and groom’s clothes are tied together.
The couple exchanges vibrant floral garlands during the jaimala to symbolize their desire to spend the rest of their lives together, as well as the love and respect they have for one another. The groom also places a black and gold beaded necklace called the mangala sutra on his bride. The Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity is said to be represented in the mangala sutra, giving the bride blessings for her marriage.
Traditionally, a bride wears a red sari or outfit but will often change into another colorful outfit for the reception. She’ll also wear chura, red and white bangles that are traditionally only worn on a woman’s wedding day. Some couples incorporate the chura ceremony, during which a male member of the groom’s family will gift the bangles to the bride.
To symbolize she is married, a red-orange powder called Sindoor will be applied to the bride’s hair.
A Vidai Ceremony
Also known as bidai or bidaai, this service takes place after the wedding ceremony. The bride will be led outside by her parents and close friends, and before stepping out the door, she tosses three handfuls of rice and coins over her head into the venue to show that the new Mrs. is leaving her maternal home to establish one with her new husband, and that she’s repaying her mom and dad for everything they’d given her during her single days. Rice is used throughout the wedding festivities to symbolize prosperity and that the family will never want of anything throughout their marriage.