Telugu is the name of the language spoken by the people of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states in South India. There are about 8.5 crore Telugu people living in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh state when this census was last taken in 2011 and the telugu language was spoken by a little over 7.9 % of the Indian Population.
The customs for a Telugu wedding are unique. Telugu weddings are performed by a purohit and are usually held in the evenings as they follow the lunar calendar. There are regional and local variations in the wedding ceremonies based on caste, community and religion. The following ceremonies are for the majority Hindus. Some minority Christian sects may also follow some part of the ceremonies given here.
Pendlikoothuru/pendlikodugu: The respective families apply oil and turmeric to the bride and the groom. Bangles, flowers, betel leaves and nuts and sweets are given to elderly women and their blessings are sought.
Mangala snanam: The respective maternal uncles apply oil on the bride and groom.
Snathakam: This is for the groom wherein he is asked to wear a silver thread on his body, this is done a few hours before the actual muhurtham.
Gauri pooja: The bride worships Goddess Durga in the form of Gauri and while doing so inserts both her legs and hands into a bamboo basket. Gowri Pooja is done by most Hindu married women for a happy married life. The bride sits inside a huge basket (Gowri Gampa).
Ganesha pooja: While the bride worships Gauri, the groom worships Lord Ganesha and seeks his blessings for an obstacle free wedding.
Kashi yathra: This is a unique ceremony, the groom pretends to leave for Kashi thus disowning the worldly pleasures. The bride's brother requests him to come back and accept the bride and lead a family life. He wears a 'pankollu' (wooden sandals) and declares to leave the materialistic world. On this route to sanyasam, he is stopped and requested to enter grihasthashrama.
Kanyadanam: The bride's uncles carry the bride in a bamboo basket and bring her to the mandapam for the kanyadanam. A screen is held in between the bride and the groom and is removed at the time of tying the mangal sutra.
Jeerakaalu-bellamu: The priest recites shlokas from the Vedas and the bride and the groom place jeerakaalu-bellamu on each others heads. This signifies that as two different ingredients mix together so should a husband and a wife.
Tying the mangalsutra: The screen is removed and the groom ties the mangal sutra on the bride's neck with three knots. The bride and the groom hold their hands and are asked to see the pole star or Dhruva. A thick wooden rod 'kade' is held above the bride's head. The bride and groom wear white silk. The bride's saree is white with a colored border. The groom pours holy water over the mangal sutralu that is tied from the kade. This is to the accompaniment of mantras.
Kanyadaan akshatha: After the mangalsutra is tied, the bride and the groom exchange garlands and elders shower akshanthalu (yellow rice) on the newly married couple.
Saptapadi: The bride's sari and the groom's angavasthra are knotted together and they go around the sacred fire seven times.
Sthaalipakkam: A silver toe ring is slipped into the bride's feet by the groom and she is asked to see the Arundathi star and seek the blessings of God.
Talambralu: The Talambralu event is a fun-filled ceremony. The newly wedded couple pour 'talambralu' (mixture of flower petals, colorful beads and rice grains anointed with turmeric) on each other's head like a shower.
Grihapravesh: The bride enters the groom's house for the first time. There is exchange of gifts between the groom and bride's sides. The Appagintalu is the ceremony where the bride is handed over to the groom.
Uniting the mangalsutra's: After 16 days the two separate mangalsutras tied on the day of the marriage are united into one. The yellow thread is removed and is replaced with a gold chain.
The bride wears a bright colored sari; red color is considered very auspicious. She wears gold and pearl jewelry and lots of flowers on her hair. The groom wears dhoti and if it is a Brahmin wedding they are bare bodied on the upper torso and wear an angavasthram alone.
Telugu wedding feasts comprise pachadi made from neem leaves, banana, jaggery, sugar cane and tamarind. The feast includes a variety of sambar, curry and sweets. Special sweets such as Chalimidi (made with rice flour and sugar syrup), mysore pak, laddu and kajalu (made with maida and sugar syrup) are served at the wedding feast.