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The Hindu Wedding is conducted in accordance with the age-old Vidhi (rites) prescribed in the ancient scriptures ‘The Veda.’
The Hindu dharma: Marriage is viewed as a sacrament and not a contract. A Hindu marriage is a life-long commitment of one wife and one husband and is the strongest social bond that takes place between a man and a woman .
The following is a succession of Vidhi (rites) commonly occur in Hindu marriage ceremonies:
The groom arrives with his family and is welcomed by the bride’s family. The bride’s mother then performs a short welcoming ritual by placing a ‘Tilak’ (a mark on the forehead with sandal paste, sacred ashes or kumkum /red tumeric). She will then ask the groom if he is ready to make a lifelong commitment.
The groom proceeds to the room and is greeted by the guests who are standing. He then makes his way to the Mandap (canopy) and waits for the arrival of his bride.
The bride arrives with her maternal uncles to the Mandap.
Next to the Mandap, the bride and groom greet by placing garlands of flowers on one another. The guests remain standing throughout this rite.
The wedding ceremony begins with the worship of Lord Ganesh- the remover of all obstacles. The Kalash (pot) containing sacred waters,coconut and flowers is worshipped. The Kalash symbolises the universe. This is the worship of the five elements: earth, water, air, fire and sky. The bride’s mother places Tilak on the bride and groom. The priest places a cotton loop over the bride and groom. The bride’s family offer her hand in marriage to the groom who then accepts. The bride’s parents ask for God’s blessing and the priest brings the couple together by placing the bride’s hand into the groom’s hand with recitations. Cheda Gantha
The bride and groom face each other and the priest ties their garments (the bride’s sari and the groom’s scarf) in a knot, symbolising the sacred union and unbreakable bond between the couple.
Havan (Lighting of the sacred fire)
A small fire is lit, inviting the fire God, Agni , Agni, to witness the ceremony. Everyone in the Mandap will offer a mixture of herbs and grains (saamagri) to the fire. The priest recites holy verses and invites the presence of the Sun (the God of light and energy). The bride and groom then put ghee (clarified butter) and other ingredients into the sacred fire. They pray to the sun God to give them energy, knowledge, happiness and purity in their life.
The bride’s siblings or other relatives may be called to participate in this part of the ceremony where they fill the palms of the couple with grains of rice, oats and leaves which signify wealth, good health, prosperity and happiness. This is offered to the fire as a sacrifice of all the worldly possessions in return for the blessing given during Kanya Danam (giving away of the bride). The groom then takes the bride’s hand as they both walk around the nuptial fire four times. At the end of each round past the fire, Matthew and anita will both step on a stone and offer a prayer for their mutual love to be firm and steadfast like a tone. The groom leads the first three Mangal Feras and the bride leads the fourth.
The four circles signify the four pllars in the couple’s life together: Darma, Atha, Kama, and Moksha.
Satapadi is the most important rite of the entire ceremony. here, the bride and groom take seven steps together around the nuptial fire and make the following promises to each other:
With God let us take-
1. The first step to nourish each other
2. The second step to grow in strength
3. The third step to preserve our wealth
4. The fourth step to share our joys and sorrows
5. The fifth step to care for our children
6. The sixth step to be together forever
7. The seventh step to remain lifelong friends
The perfect halves to make the perfect whole.
The groom blesses his new bride by applying sindhoor (vermillion powder) in the parting of the bride’s hair.
The bride and groom offer sweets to each other and beseech for sweetness in their life.