In a Hindu arranged marriage there are various rituals and customs. According to Hindu Sastra there are four stages of life and the second stage is Grahastha Ashram (the householder stage), which signifies married life and it begins when a man and a woman come together and marry. Marriage is treated as an institution, which teaches the actual values of life. Every stage in life has its own charm. A married life also has its own charm and importance. In our Indian society there are mostly arranged marriages and arranged marriages has various steps. The first step starts with the selection of the bride and the bridegroom. As in arranged marriages the parents selects the bride and groom. The marriage among Hindus is not only considered an union of two souls but of two families. A Hindu wedding not only involves the bride and groom but the entire community, friends, family and relatives as everybody participates in their coming together.
After the selection procedure is over the family members of both the girl and boy decides an auspicious date for their engagement also known as Misri or ring ceremony. The priest decides the date. Now the engagement ceremony rituals differ from region to region and community to community. But all these rituals are an indispensable part of Hindu wedding. In this ceremony the girl and boy exchange wedding rings among each other. Sweets and garlands are exchanged among the couple. On this day special arrangements for dinner is also done for the friends and relatives who gathers to wish the couple. After engagement the next important ritual is the mehndi party. The bride’s family and friends mainly celebrate this ceremony. The female friends and family members of the bride celebrate this occasion by painting henna on bride’s hand and feet and on each other while the rest of the family celebrates by singing and dancing. The color of mehndi signifies the essence of love in a marriage so it is put on bride’s hand to strengthen that bond of love.
Among the other important rituals are Sangeet parties where all the family members and friends of the bride and groom celebrate by singing and dancing the night away. Along with song and dance there are arrangements for food and drink. It is mostly seen among the Punjabis and Gujaratis. It is a large affair in most of the families. Ghari puja is also another important religious ceremony, which is performed on the eve of the wedding day at the groom and bride’s place separately. In many regions ghari puja is combined with Pithi the cleansing ceremony during which the bride and bridegroom are pasted with turmeric powder in a beautification process. These were some of the rituals and customs, which were generally followed in all the Hindu marriages. Only the celebration aspect may change due to different culture and traditions of different regions. On the day of the wedding ceremony the place of the wedding is beautifully decorated with flowers. It is called the mandapa where the marriage is performed. The main wedding ceremony is a long and elaborate affair, which lasts for several hours in that the couple takes the saptapadi or the seven steps together before god symbolized by fire and light. The seven vows speak of the real essence and significance of marriage. Each and every ritual and custom is based on Vedic traditions signifying different aspect of married life..
Mangalsutra – The Sacred Symbol of Marriage
A Hindu marriage symbolizes not just a bonding of two individuals but also the bonding of understanding, commitment, mutual love and spiritual growth. In Hindu tradition marriage is not just about celebration and fun it demands sacrifice, companionship, dedication, and surrender by both the partners. Each and every rituals and customs associated with marriage portrays the real essence of wedding. Mangalsutra is one such symbol of marriage. It is not just a jewelry item it has lots of significance to an Indian married woman. It is a sacred thread of love and goodwill worn by married women as a symbol of their marriage.
The groom ties it around the neck of the bride on the day of their marriage signifying their union. It is known by different names in different states of the country. In south it is known as Thaali and Mangalsutra in north India. Mangalsutra is the token of dignity and love given to a bride by her groom. The most common type is made of two strings of small black beads with a locket or pendant. It is also made of small beads of gold and black beads with gold and diamond pendant. The black beads signify protection from evil power. It is believed to protect their marriage and life of their husbands. It is considered auspicious for married women to wear mangalsutra after marriage. Though today the trend is changing, as most of them don’t wear a mangalsutra.
Today the concept of wearing a mangalsutra has changed. It is more a fashion statement than a symbol of marriage. And credit goes to the daily soaps and Hindi movies. Even the style has also changed over the years. Previously women use to wear simple design mangalsutra with small pendants but now the trend is to wear short length with single string and instead of gold pendants they prefer diamond pendants. But the black beads remain constant. But whatever may be the reason to wear it symbolizes the real essence and concept of marriage.
Indian Wedding Facts
Indian wedding is not just about serious rituals and customs. There are various other fun filled rituals and frothy moments in Indian wedding ceremonies that lightens the mood and remains as cherishing moments in the coming years. Wedding marks the beginning of a new relationship not just between two individuals but also between two families. And there are various moments in the wedding ceremonies that help to build new relationships. Every caste and community has its own tradition and culture. India with such diverse cultural background showcases variety of fun filled rituals and customs. And nowadays with Hindi movies becoming so popular among everyone that people are following the customs and rituals shown in the movies. Especially movies like Hum Apke Hain Koun showcasing all the rituals associated with Indian weddings have made us familiar with the rituals. Some of the facts about Indian wedding are as follows:-
Parsee saalis takes gifts from their brother-in-law or jija during the ritual of haath boravanu where the groom puts his hand in water and cannot remove them until he pays money to them, pag dhovanu is another such ritual where the groom is threatened with milk on his shoes and chero chorvanu is a ritual in which seven strands of thread tying the couple are removed on payment. In other community also this ritual is there where the sister-in-laws or saalis hide the shoes of their jija or brother-in-law and return them only in exchange for money. It’s a very fun filled and enjoying ritual. In some communities, there are rituals where the hands of the couple are covered with a sacred cloth to ward off ill omen and evil eye during the pheras. In Gujarati custom the groom’s mother-in-law tries to catch his nose on arrival of the baraat, as a reminder of the fact that he is taking away their daughter and is now responsible for her happiness. Aeki-Beki is also very fun filled rituals among the Gujarati community. It is full of fun and games. A tray or pot of water is mixed with milk and vermillion. A ring and a few coins are thrown into the mixture. The bride and groom are given seven chances to fish out the ring. The winner is considered as having a dominating personality and it is predicted amidst much laughter that he or she will rule the roost! In Punjabi custom the bride’s wear a Chuda, which is a set of red and ivory bangles by her maternal uncle. This custom is considered good omen for the bride as it is said to bring good luck to the bride in her new home. Punjabi brides wear Kaleeres. These are silver or gold plated ornaments tied to the Chudas. It is said that the bride has as many friends as there are leaves in the Kaleere. Another ritual, which is found in almost every community is when the groom brings home his new bride, the groom’s sisters block the entrance to the home and demand money from their brother as a shagun before they let him in. This is a fun filled and enjoying ritual. So these are some of the fun facts associated with Indian wedding, which makes it exciting and enjoying. And these fun memories are cherished for the years to come.