In south indian hindu marriages bride and groom shower each other with turmeric rice. what is the reason/story behind this ritual practice? Some says it is the significance of glory, desire for happiness, enjoyment and contentment. How come it represents desire for happiness, enjoyment and contentment?
Hinduism talks about health with great respect. All the happiness, glory can be enjoyed only if he/she has good health.
For example, there is no joy if one has great sweets(desserts) in his fridge and he has diabetes. Desserts can only be enjoyed only if he has great health but not just great wealth.
So since marriage is the start of life together, bride and groom promise each other that they will take care of each other and as a start they pour turmeric infused rice on each other. (mantras have another added significance in this ritual) Turmeric is one such item (spice) that has many health benefits.
I recently answered a question about turmeric in another post here
Hope that answers all your questions.
This tradition is called "akshatArOpaNa" and is a regional practice. Not all cultures have this as part of their wedding-ritual-set. Various scholars give various interpretations but in general, this is the popular opinion based on the accompanying mantras of this ritual:
Among the 9 grahas that influence us, the moon governs the manas (mind,spirit). Rice is the corresponding grain of the Moon God. The bride and groom shower rice mixed with turmeric (turmeric signifies auspiciousness) to express their desire and wish/bless their partner for progeny and wedded bliss. IOW, the rice symbolises their desire for emotional and spiritual well-being.
Rice also is the means by which the human body grows and survives. In the Hindu theory of evolution, earth gives rise to annam and annam is the causal agent for human life/physical body. Therefore, blessing each other with rice also signifies their desire for physical strength and prosperity.
There is a beautiful sloka related to this episode in the Sita-kalyana. It goes as follows:-
jAnakyAh kamalAnjali puTeya padmarAgAyitA nyastA rAghava mastakEca vilasat kunda prasUnAyaTAh srastA syAmalakAyakAnti kalitAyA yA indranIlAyitAh muktAh tAra subhadA bhavantu bhavatAm zri rAma vaivAkikAyAh
Sita and Rama used pearls instead of rice for akshatArOpanam because they are princely and also because pearl is the gemstone corresponding to the Moon god (They did not violate popular dharma :-)
Here is a rough translation with annotations in parentheses:-
" The radiant pearls that took on the color of rubies in Sita's hands (because her palms have a beautiful rose color), assumed the looks of jasmine flowers when dropping from Rama's head (Rama is a kshatriya prince who would traditionally wear white headgear in weddings.) and , slipping off his dark-complexioned body, transformed into blue sapphires during their wedding ceremony, shall bestow grace upon you"
This is a popular benediction and is said to be taken from Sri Rama KarnamRtam
Every Kriya, puja etc in Hindu ritual when followed as per Shastras has only one purpose ... elevation of consciousness. Elevated consciousness / divinity bring auspiciousness in that person.
When a person is undertaking a new responsibility, he/she has to be prepared well to execute it. How does one go about preparing for it, first raise the "consciousness" / divinity present in the person.
Applying Kumkum (turmeric processed with lime), turmeric is a powerful detoxification technique from the effects of neurotoxins like flouride which penetrate through water esp while bathing.
Ajna Chakra (Third eye) is the link to super-consciousness (God). Activating it necessary for elevating the presence of divinity in one-self.
Additionally in the same area there is a pineal gland it also gets hardened by presence of neurotoxins. The gland gets "calcified"/hardened by these chemicals. The gland is soft when it functioning properly.
Application of Kumkum activates the Ajna chakra and softens the pineal gland by removing the toxins. Neurotoxins like flouride penetrate through the skin from water while bathing etc. Turmeric is a great toxin remover when "massaged" on skin. It has a greater potency when applied on skin than eaten.
Hence, almost all the rituals in Hindu traditions involve detoxication of body by application of Kumkum, turmeric, sandalwood etc. This detoxification process is necessary for the Kriya/puja/chant to have a necessary effect.
"Detoxify Your Third Eye from Fluoride, Neuro Toxins" http://nithyananda.org/video/detoxify-your-third-eye-fluoride-and-neuro-toxins#gsc.tab=0