Nature has given human beings everything they want. Nature’s wealth is being used in medicines, beauty treatment and many other things. One such important gift of nature is betel leaf apart from its various medicinal uses it has great importance in Hindu weddings as well. It is an important and auspicious symbol in the weddings and is used in various rituals. The leaf is considered pure and stands for freshness.
In Bengali weddings the bride covers her face with betel leaves and holds her in two hands; the leaf completely covers her face and this is her first step in the process of wedding. In fact, betel leaves are used to initiate weddings; both the households exchange betel leaves when they confirm the wedding. It is at this time that date and venue are fixed for marriage and then the scroll invitations or wedding cards are sent out for printing. Furthermore, when the bride’s side send gifts to the groom’s family they send a basket of red roses decorated with betel leaves this symbolizes purity and happiness. Betel leaves along with flowers add grace to all the gifts and their fragrance is good too. These are also consumed after the meals as they are soothing for the throat and a delicacy to consume. An Indian wedding is considered incomplete without paan and the counters are set in all weddings.
Even wedding cards such as scroll invitations are designed in betel leaf shape and sometimes there are designs on the cards as well. Hindus have a ritual where the betel leaf is tied on the head of both the bride and groom and is later exchanged. These leaves are to be tied throughout the pheras and even at the time when bride reaches her new home. These are kept in puja also and the priest performs all the rituals with these leaves. They are kept in vessels and every now and then the priest pours water through these; they act as the agents of purification and it is believed that the water sprinkled through them makes the place pure and worth worship.
Weddings are considered to be acts which are witnessed by gods themselves and they come to earth and bless the couple; the place where wedding takes place is sanctified and betel leaves play an important role in purifying the same. No puja is complete without the betel leaves.
They are used in all rituals and are integral part of Hindu Pujas. They are considered important because of various other uses they have; they are used in desserts too. Many ice creams and sweet dishes are made out of betel leaves and their taste is mouth watering. Even kids relish the taste and like meetha paan and other sweets made of them. Betel nut is an important delicacy of Thailand and many Thai dishes comprises of betel nut. It has extended its reach not only in Thailand but many other countries that could not resist its tempting taste. Even restaurants these days serve betel leaves at the end to provide a quality and good taste to their customers. Betel leaf has found place in many confectionary items too. The leaf is being used in many things and it has become as important in these things as it is in the weddings.