In the Haldi ceremony (also known as Tel Baan in some cultures), the family members ‘prepare’ the bride and groom (in their respective homes) for the forthcoming wedding. They apply a paste, also known as ubtan, made from herbs, vegetable oils, fresh milk curds, sandalwood powder and primarily turmeric on the face, arms and feet of the bride and the groom. The ingredients used in this ceremony are known to be good for complexion and have been used for many ages. Its almost like an ancient Indian Spa Treatment!
All the ingredients for the ceremony are separately put in bowls made of clay, put together in a plate. The ingredients are applied by the means of brushes made of grass. The family members of the bride/groom take these grass brushes and dip them in the ingredients and apply it symbolically to their feet, knees, hands, shoulders and head seven times from bottom to top and then top to bottom. This is accompanied by some singing of folk songs.
As the ubtan is applied, it can get very playful for the bride/groom as well as the family members. At this time, the bride/groom are also supposed to give a portion of the paste to the unmarried girls/boys in the family. This is supposed to bring them a good looking husband/wife soon.
During the ceremony, kangana or sacred thread is tied on the right wrists of the bride and groom. The kangana is a red thread strung through an iron chaaku (small iron knife for protection), turmeric sticks, supari (areca nut, but commonly known as betel nut) and kaudis (shells). These are all symbols of good luck and to protect the bride and the groom from the evil eye and so that wedding happens without any obstacles.
Enjoy this haldi folk song: Banno teri ankhiyan.