When we know the reasons for the various rituals in our weddings, it makes the whole process a tad more interesting. Many of us keep wondering why the garland in our Meitei marriage ceremony is made up of white “Kundo lei” and not with any other flowers. Well, here’s what we found out. Of the many explanations given for the use of the Kundo, we found this Sanskritic interpretation quite interesting!
Kundo is the non-scented odorless variety of jasmine flower. The name jasmine might easily be confused with the fragrant variety. It blossoms throughout the year and specially is available in abundance during the Phairen/Lamta: the wedding season. According to a local lore it is said that Kundo lei is ordained to be used only for weddings and not to be offered to Gods.
The Kundo is considered sacred as it is auspicious to Lord Vishnu. This white flower is used to compare with Lord Vishnu in VISHNU SAHASRANAM; “HE WHO IS PURE AND BEAUTIFUL LIKE THE KUNDA FLOWER”( “KUNDA” is the Sanskrit name of kundo flower.) KUNDAH is one of the 1000 names of Lord Vishnu. This is why kundo lei is considered pure.
Why is the Kundo flower used by the Vaishnavite Meitei during Weddings?
The popular believe among the Manipuri Vaishnavite is that the Kundo garland was first used by Goddess Mahalakshmi to Lord Vishnu. Kundo lei is believed to be the flower of love. And by offering this flower to each other by the bride and the groom, the couple is bound in an unbreakable tie.
It signifies the unconditional love which is symbolised by the Kundo itself and the scentlessness of the kundo signifies selflessness. This sacredness of the flower washes off the ego, pride and negative feelings of the couple and the couple is eternally bound to surrender to each other! While the purity of the heart between the couple, knowledge, beauty, growth, strength, prosperity, patience and selflessness embodied by the kundo brings the couple closer to each other!
Kundo Pareng Lengba Rituals
In the morning of the wedding day this opulent flower by the name of Kundo is to be collected in a ” lukmai”, a plate made up of bamboo and cane. The bride is then instructed by the arangpham on how to make the garlands. The garland has to be made by the bride herself with little help from her younger unmarried sisters or friends.
The bride is to wear new phanek and inaphi bought and especially arranged for this occasion called Lei Lengba. Clean and unused thread and needle is used for this purpose. One of the highlight of this ritual is to needle the first Kundo flower from the green stem through the centre of all the petals. The second flower is to be needled from the centre of the petals through the stem.
In this way the two kundo flower would be facing each other. This is another symbolic way of binging the couple together, uniting both the spirits of the bride and the groom.
Divinity is present in the union of the bride and the groom. Vishnu is the Preserver in the Holy Trinity. Lord Vishnu will bless the couple through the Kundo Lei that they may procreate life and fulfill the path of preserving life.
The meaning and significance of Kundo Pareng is however different among the Sanamahi believers. We will be updating more on the Kundo rituals and various other minor details surrounding Manipuri Weddings in the times to come. Till then read our elaborate post on the meaning and significance for Luhongba here!
This piece is written by Eliza Nongthombam. She is a regular contributor at ManipuriWeddings. If you would like to contribute to ManipuriWeddings please click on the Contribute link.