How to: Give your guests a traditional Indian welcome

I hope you enjoyed the rangoli post. Now, if you are planning on having an Indian-themed party, try incorporating an Aarthi welcome for your guests.

Aarthi the traditional Indian welcome extended to guests
Pic courtesy Sandeep

The Aarthi is the traditional Indian welcome extended to guests. It is a very simple gesture, but can make any guest feel welcomed, wanted and special!

Before the guest arrives, decorate your doorstep with a rangoli as per my previous post. Then, keep the following items ready:

    rangoli at the doorstep

  • A garland for each guest.
  • Lighted diyas. If one member of the host family is doing the aarthi, then use just one diya. If 2 of you are doing it, use 2. If you find it difficult to get your hands on diyas, use a simple T light in a small holder.
  • If you have some vermilion powder, place some in a small decorative box, and arrange it on a brass plate or a decorative thali with the diyas around it. Also place a flower on the plate. Special aarthi thalis like the one shown in the pic are available here.
  • Wear Indian attire, and a big warm welcoming smile.

When the guests arrive, greet them at the door. Since they might not be expecting a traditional Indian welcome, ask them to pause a moment.

Guest with garland and vermilion tikki
Guest with garland and vermilion tikki
pic courtesy: Don

Then garland each guest, and request him or her to wait at the threshold. Proceed to do the aarthi as follows:

  • Wave the aarthi in front of the guests in 5 clockwise circles.
  • Then apply the vermilion on their foreheads with the tip of your thumb.

Remember to wear a smile throughout the welcome, and gently usher in your guests after the ceremony.