About Indian Traditional Wedding
Mehandi and Peethi
Bride's hands and feet are decorated with "Mehandi." Various individual ceremonies are organized at the homes of bride and groom.
Baarat (Wedding Procession)
In wedding procession, the bridegroom sits on horse and reaches to wedding place along with relatives and friends. They are greeted by bride's relatives and friends at the entrance of wedding place. The bride's brothers escort groom to the Mandap. The white curtain "antarpata" held in front of the groom signifies that the bride and groom are still separate individuals.
Ganesh Puja (Worship of God)
The bride is escorted to Mandap by her maternal uncles. The curtain is lifted & the bride and groom garland each other. This signifies the beginning of the ceremony that will unite them.
Commencement of Marriage
A canopy is made which is a makeshift structure to conduct wedding ceremonies. The priest commences the marriage & chants vedic mantras.
Kanya Danam (Giving Away of the Daughter)
This ceremony marks change of status of an unmarried lady to a married one. The bride's parents offer her hand to the groom. He places his hand over hers symbolizing his acceptance. The bride's parents then place a long garland (varmala) around the couple, which represents unity, strength and a long prosperous life together.
Paanigrahana or Hasta Milap (Holding the Hand)
The bridegroom stands facing west & the bride sits in front of him facing east. He seizes her hand & recites Vedic hymns for happiness, long life, and a lifelong relationship.
Now the bride's saree is tied with groom's shirt, connoting spiritual and lifelong bond between the two. Both exchange the rings and take oath to be lifelong partner before nuptial fire. Fire, symbolizes divine witness. Samagree (worship material) consisting of crushed sandalwood, herbs, sugar, rice, ghee & twigs is offered into the sacred fire to seek God's blessings for the couple.
Agni Parinaya : The Circumambulation of the Fire
This is the most important rite of the entire ceremony. Here the bride and the bridegroom take 7 steps together around the nuptial fire (Agni) and make the following seven promises to each other.Each of the 7 steps represent the vows made by the couple:
- The first step connotes nourishment; encourage and motivate each other's hopes.
- The second step connotes consolidating relationship.
- The third step connotes preserving wealth.
- The fourth step connotes shared existence by sharing dreams, sorrows, happiness & all other situations.
- The fifth step connotes care for our offspring.
- The sixth step connotes inseparable bond & strive for better future.
- The seventh step connotes lifelong co-existence & respecting everyone in the family & respecting spiritual values.
In some communities, only four steps signifying Artha (wealth & prosperity), Dharma (religion & ethics), Kama (love, fertility & family) & Moksha (spiritual liberation) are taken.
Mangal Sutra Dharana
Then, mangalsutra is tied around the neck of the bride symbolizing lifelong bond establishment. Mangalsutra is a thread tied around the neck of the bride.
Sindhoordana or Suhag
The groom places sindhoor (red powder) on the bride's hair symbolizing her as a married woman.
Married women from the bride's family come forth to wish her eternal happiness.
The priest blesses the newlyweds on behalf of the Gods and Goddesses and brings the ceremony to a close with a prayer. He asks the congregation to join him in showering the couple with blessings & good wishes.
The groom's parents bless the couple and offer cloth or flower to the bride (now their daughter-in-law), symbolizing her joining of the groom's family. All those assembled shower flowers on the couple & bless them completing the marriage.
Grahapravesha - Entering the Home
The couple depart from the girl's house after the vidai , for the groom's house. The bride enters the home placing the right foot - considered auspicious, first. When the bride & the groom enter the groom's house, the mother of the groom welcomes the bride by doing an aarti. They sit silently until the stars are visible.