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Akshata – Rice Sprinkled During Hindu Puja and Weddings

Akshata (अक्षत) basically consists of uncooked rice which is mixed with turmeric. It is used both as an offering to deity and also is used as a way to receive blessings. It is also used to bless bride and groom during weddings. Akshata is also sprinkled during other auspicious ceremonies. Symbolically, Akshata represents prosperity, fertility and bounty.

Symbolic Meaning of Akshata

Ashata is a symbol of fullness. It is pure and complete.

Akshata means unbroken. Only unbroken rice should be used for the purpose.

When Akshata is offered to a deity, it is believed to be the finest offering that a devotee can make. Akshata is believed to be equal to offering clothes, jewelry, food, or any other offering.

It is usually thrown over the head of the devotees during pujas and during functions like marriage and other auspicious events.

Akshata is always used dry - a small amount of rice is mixed with turmeric powder or vermilion. In some regions, it is also mixed with ghee. Mixing unbroken rice with turmeric symbolises auspiciousness.

Showering Akshata on the bridal couple is associated with fertility. Rice is a symbol of fertility. Hence people bless the newly wed couple with healthy children. As Akshata means unbroken, it is said to confer unbroken prosperity.

It is also believed to scare away demons, particularly those that check fertility. The practice of throwing akshata (broken rice) on the bridal couple arises from this belief.

After the puja and ceremony, Akshata is cleaned from the floor and is deposited in the garden or in a place where people will not step on it.