Hindu Festival: Tulsi Vivaha


Kartik Dwadashi, the day after Kartik Ekadashi, is the celebration of the marriage of Rukmini or Lakshmi with Krishna. This goddess is represented by the sacred plant, Tulsi. On the evening of this day, the markets are full of s~garcane, berries, tamarind, arnlas as well as festive bridal clothes and gold paper headgear for the bride and groom.

A mandap is made around the plant with sugarcane pillars and the plant decorated with a yellow 'sari', jewellery, vermillion and the bridal paper crown of gold. An idol of Krishna is decorated similarly. A complete marriage ceremony is conducted with sweets distributed at the end. Tulsi Vivaha or the wedding of Tulsi, is the official start of the winter wedding season in India.





The myth which is associated with this divine marriage is fascinating and most relevant to modern life. It is said that Krishna, after completing his work of establishing dharma continued to live in Dwarka with his wives Rukmini and Satyabhama. But in heaven there was chaos. The gods therefore wanted him back. So they hatched a plan and kidnapped him. The two queens were anguished at their husband's sudden disappearance. Narada, the celestial messenger, brought them news of Krishna's kidnapping. He told them that the gods would return him only on one condition. They would put Krishna on one pan of a weighing scale (tula) and the queens would have to outweigh him by putting heavier treasures on the other pan.

The scale was set up. Satyabhama, the arrogant queen, brought out all her jewels, gold and silver pots to weigh against him. The more she piled onto the pan, the lighter her side became. Reduced to angry tears, she finally gave up. Rukmini cleared the scale of all valuables. She plucked a sprig of Tulsifrom a nearby bush and put it in the scale saying, "With all my love, I weigh this leaf against you". Rukmini's devotion won. The pan dropped and Krishna came back to the queens. Since then, Tulsiis considered to be a symbol of love. Each year on Kartik Dwadashi day, she is married ceremonially to Krishna.




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