Top ten motifs used in Asian wedding stationery – by Ananya Cards
We are delighted to introduce a great blog post, written by the highly talented Vaishali, UKAWP Wedding Supplier Member and owner of Ananya Cards, explaining the top ten motifs used in Asian wedding stationery…..
Weddings are considered very auspicious events in the Indian subcontinent and every effort is made to include all elements considered favourable or auspicious through the entire wedding proceedings, from choosing the right colours to religious objects and symbols. The objective is to create as favourable and harmonious an environment as possible and invoke the blessings of the Gods as the couple tie the knot and begin their married life.
Motifs and symbols are equally important in wedding stationery to represent the physical and spiritual union of the couple. These are Ananya’s top 10 motifs.
Ganesh, the elephant headed God, is one of the most important and most popular symbols used on wedding stationery. He is believed to remove any obstacles and problems that may stand in the way of the wedding, which is why prayers to him are said and his blessings are invoked at the start of the wedding. Since a wedding invitation marks the announcement of the wedding to the guests and the beginning of the wedding process, the image of Ganesh on the wedding stationery signifies his protection during the wedding and married life. The image can either be traditional, abstract or a stylised version if the couple favours a more modern interpretation.
The Om/Aum symbol is one of the most prominent and auspicious symbols in India and is recognised throughout the world. It has deep cultural and religious significance going back thousands of years. Considered to be a sacred sound from which the Universe rose, it is one of the most powerful mantras and represents the three major Hindu Gods; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. This sacred symbol represents ultimate peace, harmony and oneness. Its presence on wedding stationery is to infuse these qualities into the wedding and the couple’s married life.
The lotus has played an important role in several Asian religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. It is considered a sacred flower and a symbol of beauty, fertility, prosperity and purity. As an aquatic plant growing in the mud, its stem rises to the surface of the water and its flowers rise well above the water, signifying the rise of man from materialism to enlightenment.
The Goddess Lakshmi, patron of wealth and abundance, is depicted sitting on a fully opened lotus flower with a lotus bloom in her right hand. The lotus is also considered one of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism. With these qualities ascribed to the lotus, it’s easy to see why it is such a popular motif in wedding stationery.
Asian culture has placed a great deal of importance on elephants for hundreds of years. They appear in various religious and cultural contexts throughout Asia. Associated with qualities of strength, steadfastness, wisdom and prosperity, they are a popular choice as a symbol on Asian wedding stationery. They look majestic and magnificent, and are often used in wedding processions, painted and decorated with beautiful jewellery and fabrics. Also considered sacred, Buddha is supposed to have loved them; elephant statues guard Buddhist temples. Elephants are present in Hindu mythology and statues of them abound in temples. Elephants also have a deep association with the Hindu God Ganesh, who had an elephant head. At Ananya, elephant motifs have been a popular choice with multicultural couples.
This dazzlingly beautiful bird has been associated in the Hindu culture with the divine, such as the Goddess Lakshmi who represents good luck and wealth, and God Krishna, who wore a peacock feather in his crown. The peacock is also a symbol of Kwan-Yin, the Bodhisattva of love and compassion. The feathers of a peacock are considered auspicious and protective in Asia. It is believed that peacocks are able to eat poisonous plants without being affected by them. This is of great symbolic value on a wedding invitation as a representation of the ability of the couple to successfully face any challenges encountered in their married life.
Paisley really is a very versatile motif and lends itself brilliantly to various wedding stationery designs. The paisley motif is not only an elegant and vintage design but it is also rich in spiritual significance. In Indian culture, the paisley signifies the time of harvest and prosperity. In Oriental traditions, the two paisleys represent the yin-yang symbol, a sign of equilibrium and balance. The flow of the two polar energies, Yin (Female) and Yang (Male), seek balance in the natural flow of the universe, constantly replacing each other and eventually, becoming each other. The paisley thus makes a wonderful motif to symbolise the union of two individuals in a marriage, and has worked particularly well in stationery for Ananya’s multicultural clients.
7. Tree of life
The Tree of life, also called the kalpavriksha or the wish-fulfilling tree is a large sacred tree representing the unity of all life forms. Its far-reaching branches originating from a massive trunk symbolise various life forms originating from the same source. Kalpavriksha is thought to be one of five trees said to fulfil all desires; another one is the coconut palm.
The Tree of life has been depicted in textiles, sculptures and paintings for centuries. It is usually shown abundantly laden with flowers and fruit and beautiful birds on its branches. A wish-fulfilling tree is exactly what couples want on their wedding stationery.
Considered as ‘birds of love’ in ancient India, parrots have been featured in ancient Indian texts as well as countless paintings. They represent fertility and marital happiness, and women often made paintings with parrots in the hope that they would be blessed with marital happiness and children. Literature is full of stories of lovers using parrots to send messages to their beloved.
Parrots are also connected to spirituality and heaven. As birds, they represent spiritual freedom and disentanglement from worldly matters. Various Hindu deities are associated with parrots, such as Goddess Meenakshi who carried a parrot on her right shoulder. Religious scriptures show parrots’ ability to repeat what they hear and give us the message that repetition of good things is important.
9. Sacred pot (Kalash)
A kalash is a sacred pot on which a coconut with its husk intact is placed. Around it are placed freshly picked leaves of a mango tree, which are considered sacred. It is of tremendous importance in the Hindu religion, and especially at weddings. The pot is usually made of brass and is believed to be the symbol of life and prosperity, and thus a symbol of good omen to have on your wedding stationery. The coconut is also widely used in religious ceremonies and invokes the blessings of the Gods. The pot is usually decorated with beautiful designs.
Traditionally, a palki is a kind of palanquin with a comfortable seat which is enclosed by curtains and decorated with flowers. It is used to carry the bride from her parents’ home to her new home after the wedding. It is usually carried by male members of her family. Originally, the idea was to provide her some time and privacy to gather her thoughts as she prepared to start her life as a married woman. Nowadays, brides are carried only to the car on the palki for the journey home.
Modern brides are now using palkis to make a grand entrance to the wedding scene rather than leaving the wedding venue. Palkis of every kind are available these days – as ornate and stylish as the bride desires. As a representation of the beginning of a new life together, a palki is an appropriate symbol to have on wedding stationery. In the Hindu religion, this symbol has cultural significance and denotes sacred marriage in Indian style.
There is plenty of choice when it comes to wedding motifs. Although each one may have a different meaning, one thing they all have in common is that they are considered lucky or auspicious – and that is what all weddings can benefit from.
Please contact Vaishali Shah at Ananya for more information.