Haldi, or turmeric, is a yellowish spice commonly used in Indian cooking. Turmeric’s yellow color comes from curcumin, a naturally occurring chemical found in the spice. Curcumin is known to reduce swelling and inflammation.

But why is that important for an Indian wedding blog?

Before an Indian wedding, you might witness or participate in a haldi ceremony, which involves relatives of the bride and groom smearing a paste made of turmeric, rosewater, and sandalwood powder onto the skin of the bride and groom. The paste will have the texture of a mud mask from a spa, and it will have a cooling effect on the skin.

The significance of the haldi ceremony varies depending on who you ask. The most common reason I have heard for this ritual focuses on the belief that haldi cleanses and brightens the skin, clearing up acne breakouts and redness, so the newlyweds will glow on their special day.

These events are usually held separately, with the bride’s family and friends attending her haldi ceremony and the groom’s family and friends attending his, though in the modern tradition haldi rituals are more often combined for added fun for everyone involved. Superstitions may govern who can apply the haldi to the couple, or where to apply the paste, but it’s fine to ignore these traditions and do it your own way. It’s your wedding!

Beware: the yellow color in the turmeric powder has serious staying power. Wear clothes you don’t ever plan on wearing again (including your undergarments), or clothes that you don’t mind turning permanently yellow. Some people wear Indian clothes for this ceremony, but it’s fine to wear your old painting clothes as well.

Have a friend or photographer on hand for pictures – the haldi ceremony will not disappoint!