Ever Wondered Why Betel Leaves Are An Integral Part Of Indian Weddings?

By TGB Desk / On April 26th, 2017

Trust me, being a wedding blogger has it’s own share of advantages and disadvantages. No doubt, you get to witness tons of gorgeousness but whenever you come across anything remotely related to wedding your mind goes into an overdrive – mentally drafting next blogpost. Recently, I received traditional engagement ceremony (Pradhaanam) pictures from a photographer friend. The alliance was being sealed by both the families by formally exchanging ‘Tamboolam’ (Betel leaves & Areca Nut).

PC: Duet Photography

That’s when I decided to write about importance of betel leaves in Indian weddings!

PC: Ashwin Kireet Photography

Significance of Betel Leaves In Indian Weddings

Unarguably, betel leaves play a prominent role in Hindu weddings and other religious ceremonies. A betel leaf is considered auspicious as it’s a symbol of freshness and prosperity. It’s believed that the betel leaf was generated during ‘Samudra Manthan’ (churning of the Ocean) and ‘Tamboolam’ is a manifestation of the Hindu Trinity (Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva).

PC: Lakshmi Photography

This is exactly why betel leaves are mandatory for any auspicious event. From wedding invitations to return gifts and from offerings to the God to seeking blessings from elders, betel leaves are a must in every ritual. It can be said that betel leaves have been an essential part of Indian hospitality from times immemorial.

PC: Duet Photography

Jeelakarra Bellam

In Telugu weddings, the couple is asked to place paste made of cumin (jeelakarra) and jaggery (bellam) on each other’s head exactly at the muhurtam time. The cumin-jaggery paste is placed on a betel leaf. This ritual is followed by Mangalasutra dhaarana (tying the knot) ritual. This ceremony pronounces that the relationship of the newly married couple is inseparable.

PC: Ashwin Kireet Photography

Shubho Drushti

PC: Vermilion Diaries

A Bengali bride encircles the groom (seated on piri) seven times while covering her face with betel leaves. After the Saat Paak ritual is completed, the bride removes the leaves that were obscuring her vision to look at the groom for the first time. This beautiful ritual is called ‘Shubho drushti’ (meaning auspicious sight) and is accompanied by the sounds of conch shells and ululation.

                      PC: Vermilion Diaries


In Rajasthani weddings, bridegroom’s family would have dinner only after the bride’s family serves them betel wrap (paan). This ritual is called Niyona.

Thamboola Charvanam

In South India, it’s believed that Tamboolam symbolises love in a marital bond. In some communities, the newly wed couple are made to share the Tamboolam (a betel wrap or paan) as they believe it increases love and affection between the couple. This ritual is called ‘Thamboola Charvanam’ (Chewing of betel wrap).

PC: Lakshmi Photography

And it’s very common for the elders to bless the couple to be together forever – just like betel leaf and areca nut. It’s used as a metaphor to denote long-term marital bliss.

PC: Duet Photography

Sixteen Adornments of a married woman

Having betel leaves as a mouth freshener is an age-old Indian tradition. Betel leaves are said to possess certain medicinal properties and their health benefits are even mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic texts. Apart from using as mouth freshener, betel leaves are also used as a cosmetic. In olden days women depended on organic cosmetics such as betel leaves to enchance their natural beauty.

                     PC: Duet Photography

Betel leaves were very popular with women as these leaves when had with areca nuts and slaked lime left a rich red hue on the lips. Oh and by the way, do you know that it was also considered as part of Solah Shringar or Sixteen Adornments of a bride (married woman).

                      PC: Say Cheese Captures

Hope you enjoyed going through today’s post!

Stay Happy!!

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