Jyotishacharya Shastri Pundit Roshan Singh
In recent times the hardi ceremony is carried out a day before the wedding. It is when hardi or turmeric paste is applied on the face, neck, arms, hands and feet of bride and bridegroom in their respective homes. The word hardi is derived from the Sanskrit word harad and the ceremony itself is called haridra lepana. This has come down for millions of years and is mentioned in various scriptures. A mixture of fresh turmeric root, mustard oil, curd and youghat when applied brings a special lusture and glow to the appearance. Yellow denotes the colour of a celebrate or brahmachari and is also a very auspicious colour. It stands for celebracy, chastity and spirituality. Hardi is also known for its Ayurvedic medicinal properties and used widely in the preparation of herbal products and skin cleansers and superseads all modern cosmetics. The mustard oil allows a deeper penentration into the pores of the skin thereby rejuvernating the body.
On the day before the wedding after the Manar pooja, Matkor, Harish Stapna and Kalash Stapna is concluded the Punditji conducts a ceremony where special mantras are recited and the hardi paste is first offered to Lakshminarayan who have appeared in the form of the harish and the kalash. It is then applied on the palms of the bride and groom in their respective homes. This is followed by the application of the hardi by the mother which is followed by the paternal aunt and thereafter in order of protocol by the rest of the members of the family.
Generally the application of the hardi is done in a set of seven time and is applied by seven persons in every set. The set consists of the physical application on the face, neck, arms and feet of the bride or the groom. After the application of hardi the seven persons will choomo the couple with rice that is placed in the joint palms of the bride or the groom. In the palms on the rice is placed a ladoo (a sweet which is made of gram flour), a stick of raw hardi, a gold ring and a tuft of doob (find running grass). A pinch of rice is taken from the hands of the joined hands of the bride or groom and touched on both feet of the bride or groom. They would then proceed to touch the knee, shoulder and drop the balance of the rice into the achal of the mother who would be standing at the back of her son or daughter. This will be done seven times by each of the seven persons.
When this is concluded the bride or groom will then stand up and a lota of water will be turned around their entire body three times. After the third time a little water is droped on one side of the bride or the groom. Each person applying the hardi will do the same one after the other.
The first hardi is applied by the Punditji. He applies the hari on forehead of the bride or groom and on their palms.
The next hardi is done by the mother.
This is followed by the third application which is done by seven married ladies. After they have completed the application of the hardi, concluded the chooman and turned the water. The bride or the groom will then be guided into the home to an area that has been set aside for the offered rice to be placed in a soop or thari. This area is known as the kohobar. When he or she is being taken into the home water from a lota is sprinked in front of them with the aid of a mango leaf.
They would then return to the Mandab or Maroh to continue with the balance of the four sets of the application of hardi, chooman and turning of water.
The balance of the four sets of applications is done by sets of seven other members of the family.
The area where the hardi is being conducted is sacred as it has been sanctified and nobody is allowed in the maroh with their shoes. The ceremony is sacred but full of joy and happiness and this mood is heightened by the singing of hardi songs that are sung by the older ladies of the family. The following is a typical hardi song.
Beti sukumkari ho
Koyireen je hardi oupjaye la
Beti suhageen ho
Kekar sir hardi chadhe la
Chadhe ke suhagan ho
Son eke katoriya mein
Hardi chaadhawe lan baba ji
Hardi chadhawe lan chacha ji
Beti sukumari ho
Koyireenje hardi oupajaye la
Beti suhageen ho
Kekar sir hardi chadhe la
Chadhe ke suhagan ho.
“O farmer’s wife, my daughter is very dear to us. O farmer’s wife who cultivates the turmeric, my daughter is on the point of reaching the marriage status, the hardi will be applied on her body and this will give her the marriage status.”
Sone ke katoriya mein
Hardi chadhawe lan baba ji
Hardi chadhawe lan chacha ji.
“In the golden katora the paste of pounded turmeric is kept. Father is applying the turmeric, chacha (uncle) is applying the turmeric.”