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Māṭīkhor

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The Māṭīkhor (Digging of the dirt) is an integral ritual in the Hindu marriage ceremony in the Indo-Caribbean tradition. Today, the Friday night, the night of the weekend long activity, is called ‘Hardī Ke Rāt’ (The night of applying the turmeric to the skin of the bride or bridegroom) or ‘Māṭīkhor’. Both rituals are performed on this first night or Tilwān (Application of the mustard oil with turmeric).

The significance of ‘The Digging of the Dirt’ is to worship Mother Earth so that she confers prosperity and fertility to the couple to be married. Remember that both prosperity and fertility are characteristics of the earth. In the video you will see the special prayer to mother earth along with four other divinities. Hindoor, hardi, grains and sweets are offered to the five divinities singing the following song:
हम त धरती पूजा अइली, मनाई झुकती
Ham ta dhartī pūjā ailī, manaī jhukatī
(I’ve come to celebrate in prostration to Mother Earth)

सब देवतन के पाछे पाछे चुकती
Sab dewtam ke pāche pāche chukatī
(All the celestials come steady behind)
धरती मइया के सर पर हजार झुकती
(On the head of Mother Earth thousand offerings)

सब देवतन के पाछे पाछे चुकती
(All the celestials come steady behind)
लक्ष्मी मइया के सर पर हजार झुकती
(On the head of Mother Lakshmi thousand offerings)

सब देवतन के पाछे पाछे चुकती
(All the celestials come steady behind)
गंगा मइया के सर पर हजार झुकती
(On the head of Mother Ganga thousand offerings)
सब देवतन के पाछे पाछे चुकती
(All the celestials come steady behind)
शंकर बाबा के सर पर हजार झुकती
(On the head of Lord Shiva thousand offerings)
सब देवतन के पाछे पाछे चुकती
(All the celestials come steady behind)
देवहर बाबा के सर पर हजार झुकती
(On the head of Lord Deohar thousand offerings)

After the prayer, married women apply sindoor to their parted hair representing fertility of womanhood. Then the hoe is used to dig a bit of dirt to carry back to the wedding house to incorporate in the bedi or marriage prayer alter. It represents Mother Earths blessings of prosperity and fertility to the couple to be married and the permission of the Mother for the marriage to take place.

The Māṭīkhor song was taken from the book Vivaah Geet written by Mrs. Rukminee Holass-Beepath

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