Hindu wedding is considered to be a sanctified bond which brings two people who are said to be compatible. Hindu wedding ceremonies are traditionally conducted at least partially in Sanskrit, the language of most holy Hindu ceremonies. They have many rituals that have evolved since traditional times and differ in many ways from the modern western wedding ceremony and also among the different regions, families, and castes. The Hindus attach a lot of importance to marriages, and the ceremonies are very colourful and extend for several days. The couples are believed to be chosen by god in the heaven itself. The marriage ceremony especially in case of Hindu Wedding is an elaborate affair. Both the boy and the girl who are going to tie the knot have to follow intense rituals on and before the wedding take place. The couple has to take various pledges before they are pronounced to be a married couple.
The start of ceremony starts by invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha asking him to make the ceremony run well.
‘Vara’ means bridegroom and ‘Satkaarah’ means their reception. So, according to this ritual the bride’s relatives have to receive or welcome the bridegroom and his relatives at the entry of the wedding menu. The bridegroom is blessed by the bride’s mother. She welcomes the groom with a garland and is applied a tilak , a mark of auspiciousness. It is put on the forehead with sandal paste, sacred ashes or kumkum, a red turmeric powder. Then the groom steps down from the horse and taken to the wedding place.
Garlands Exchange (Jai Mala)
The next ritual is to exchange garlands. The bride & groom exchange garlands of fresh flowers acknowledge their lifelong bondage in front of all the people. At this time family members and relatives of the bride gives various gifts to the bridegroom and his family members. The bride & groom are then escorted to the mandap by their parents.
This is also a part of the wedding ceremony in which the bride's parents entrust their daughter in the safe hands of the groom.The ceremony takes place along with chanting of various mantras.
The Pundit explains to the couple their responsibilities and duties in their married life towards each other. It is holy fire ceremony that establishes that all important occasions start in a spiritual atmosphere. Hindu religion believes that fire is a sustainer of life.
According to this, the bride’s right hand is kept in left hand of the bridegroom. While chanting some mantras the bridegroom accepts the bride as his lawfully wedded wife.
The bride and the bridegroom walk around the holy fire, the bride leading, taking vows of loyalty, life-long fidelity and never ending love to each other.
The bride steps on a stone slab with the help of her mother and counsels her to prepare herself for a new life.
Puffed rice offered as oblations into the sacred fire by keeping their hands in each other’s hands.
The scarf of the groom is tied to the dress of the bride in a Marriage knot that symbolizes by tying one end of the groom's scarf with the bride's dress. Then they take seven steps representing nourishment, strength, prosperity, happiness, progeny, long life and harmony and understanding, respectively.
This is commonly known as the ‘seven pheras’. During this ritual, the groom walks with the bride to the right side of the sacred fire. All along, he holds his wife’s right hand in his right hand. The couple has to take seven rounds of the holy fire along with the mantras chanted by the priest. This according to the Hindu Marriage Act legalizes the marriage.
Water is sprinkled while meditating on the pole star and the sun.
The couple makes food offerings into the holy fire then feed a morsel of food to each other expressing mutual love and affection.
Blessings of the elders are garnered by the couple.
In this ceremony, after the wedding is over, the bride’s parents gives a warm send off to their daughter. They wish her a very good and harmonious long married life. From now onwards their daughter does not belong to them.
These ceremonies are duly followed by the Hindus so as to attain marital bliss for the couple.
During the whole wedding, the house is filled with enjoyment. The specially prepared sweets and food add flavor to the celebration. Hindu wedding rituals and customs are based on the Vedic traditions that mean various aspects of married life.