Akshadai or showering of rice grains coated with turmeric and saffron is an integral part of the South Indian Wedding. But, Do you know what is the importance of this ritual?
As per the Hindu traditions, every religious ritual is believed to be followed as part of the ‘Dharma’ or the code of living in accordance with the law of the universe. Wedding marks the acceptance of ‘Grihastha Ashram’, the second of the four age-based stages of the Hindu Ashram System. It is an agreement towards leading a family-centered and dharmic social life. Hence, the ancient society gave a lot of importance to every aspect of their wedding ceremony.
The tradition of throwing Akshadai or rice grains coated with turmeric is called “AksHata ArpaNa” and is a regional practice. Various scholars give various interpretations to this tradition, but in general, it signifies the blessings of prosperity and spiritual well being for the couple.
As per the ‘Shasthras’, among the ‘Nava Grahas’ that influence us, the moon governs the ‘Manas’ (Mind and Soul). Rice is the corresponding grain of the Moon God. The bride and groom shower rice mixed with turmeric (turmeric signifies auspiciousness) to express their desire and wish/bless their partner for progeny and wedded bliss. In other words, the rice symbolises their desire for emotional and spiritual well-being. By covering the rice with turmeric, symbolises the acceptance of Grahastha Ashrama.
Rice also is the means by which the human body grows and survives. In the Hindu theory of evolution, earth gives rise to annam, which is the causal agent for human life or the physical body. And turmeric is significant in keeping away all the doshas, and ensures health and wellbeing. Therefore, blessing each other with rice and turmeric, also signifies their desire for physical strength and prosperity.
Not a Regional Practice?
The Rice throwing ceremony at weddings is not limited to Hindu Weddings or Indian Weddings. Some of the oldest wedding traditions in many cultures around the globe involve rice-throwing, originally showering the newly weds in some sort of grain, symbolizing wishes such as fertility, wealth and prosperity for the newly married couple.
In the Western hemisphere, this tradition goes all the way back to Ancient Rome, where rice or wheat grain (which was often more readily available) were thrown to symbolize fertility, hitting the bride as she exited the church, and then collected by the young girls to assure their own future wedding, believing that the fertility would be transferred through the fallen seeds.
Watch these english bride and groom walking out of church to rice throwing!
What is the Significance of Rice Shower In South Indian Wedding?