Indian wedding is all about fun, frolic and food and an array of rituals and traditions. In the Hindu wedding the multiplicity of customs varies with creed and region.
The Hindu wedding lays emphasis on three essential values: happiness, harmony and growth. The ceremony is usually held on the ‘brighter half’ of a day conducted inside a canopy called ‘Mandap’. The Hindu wedding can be primarily segmented into three.
The groom and party is greeted at the ceremony by the bride’s father family with Aarti (plate carrying lighted lamp) and tilak (a dot on the forehead). Before the wedding commences, the 9 planets are invoked by name in a ceremony called Grahasanthi (peace with the planets). The father of the bride places her hands in the groom’s hand requesting him to accept her as an equal partner (Kanyadan).
The Wedding Ceremony
In Hinduism, fire is regarded as a purifier and a sustainer and thus the holy ceremony is presided by invoking Agni (god of fire), while the priest recites various mantras from Holy Scriptures. The bride places both her hands into the grooms and together they offer rice as a sacrifice into the fire (Rajaham). The couple exchange garlands thereafter. The groom then ties a Thaali (Mangalsutra) around the bride’s neck sealing the marriage forever. After this, the groom puts sindhoor or vermillion in the bride’s hair parting welcoming her as his partner for life. In a ritual called managalfera, the bride and groom walk around the fire four times in clockwise direction (each a symbol of the 4 ashrams of life) praying and exchanging vows of duty, love, fidelity and respect. The bride leads the pheras first, signifying her determination to stand first beside her husband in all happiness and sorrow.
Post Wedding Rituals
The parents of the bride and groom give their blessings to the couple. The couple touches the feet of their parents as a sign of respect. They are united forever and from that day on they will be the custodian of each other’s heart. There are also other additional ceremonies like Vidhaai and Vadhupravesh and so on, which has its own style for every region.
For a religion as ancient and rich as Hinduism, its customs are as countless as they are timeless.
-Courtesy World Wide Web