The Kapu Telugu matrimony rituals are very traditional. It is quite an elaborate affair and consists of several ceremonies and procedures over several days.
The word Kapu or Kaapu means Protector. The community also is referred to by its caste title Naidu, which means leader. The Simaneli sects of the Balija Naidus perform a ceremony called Krishnamma Pentalu a day before the wedding. It involves worshipping the soul of a married woman. This is done to invoke the blessings of a ‘sumangali’ on the bride. This ceremony ensures that the forthcoming marriage will take place smoothly.
Marriage rituals are very traditional and have several meaning and symbolism attached to each and every event. There is emphasis on spirituality. The rites are conducted by a priest and in the presence of 5 elements which are considered auspicious.
The Naidu marriage ceremony is arresting as well as magnificent. It has the girl’s mother or the maternal uncle carry the bride in a bamboo basket to the mandap. She carries some betel leaves, nuts, coconut, sandalwood and a red pumpkin. A curtain is placed between the bride and groom at the mandap, so that they do not see each other until the wedding is completed.
At the end of the marriage, the father and mother of the bride clean the boy’s feet with water. This is done because the community believe the groom is a form of God.
In this ceremony, the boy and the girl wear a white cotton dhoti and cotton sari with a red border. The bride and the groom are expected to place jeerakaalu-bellamu (a jaggery mix) on each other’s heads while a priest will recite some prayers and shhlokas. This symbolises that as two different ingredients mix together so should they as husband and a wife.
The groom ties a Mangalsutra which is a gold chain with gold and black beads around the neck of the bride. This necklace is tied with three knots.
Kanya Daan Akshata
After this ceremony, the couple garlands each other and are showered with flower petals and rice as a blessing. This is Akshata or an offering of raw (uncooked) rice coloured with turmeric.
Here, the bride’s dupatta or saree and the groom’s dhoti are tied into a knot so that they can take seven steps together around the fire making 7 promises, each one strengthening and blessing various aspects of married life. During this ritual, prayers are chanted and the end of which there is an indication that the marriage ritual is completed.
On the 16th Day after Marriage
The 16th day post marriage is considered significant for Kapu Naidus. 16 is a divine number and it is also the number of days a bride takes to understand her in-laws. She wears new clothes and two plates which form the pendants of her mangalsutra are separated by a few beads so they do not clash, symbolising harmony between the families.
Now that you are well-versed with the main customs of a Kapu traditional wedding, rituals and the temples you must visit, go impress your in-laws with your knowledge!