Hindu weddings like weddings in other cultures consist of many traditions and facts. Weddings are a special occasion marking the union of two souls in a relationship of a lifetime. Every culture and religion has their own ways to conduct and celebrate the auspicious occasion. All the customs and rituals that we see in any culture’s wedding have a story or a reason behind them, which gives meaning to the entire process.
If we look at the traditional Indian Hindu marriages, there are a lot of interesting rituals that are followed rendering the celebrations unique. Here are few:
Hindu Wedding Date
The wedding date is not picked up at random. The astrologers declare a certain time period marked as auspicious, which usually falls around months of January, February, June, July, November and December.
Hindu weddings are considered not just the union of two people but also two families. So, almost all the customs involve participation of all the family members from both sides. The engagement ceremony sees the families, friends and relatives from both sides exchange gifts. This builds relations.
Hindu Wedding Duration
The weddings are a week long affair. Starting with the “Haldi” ceremony, where both the bride and the groom are smeared with turmeric paste, separately. Turmeric is considered to be a natural agent that brings glow to the skin. The bride and the groom are forbidden to meet or move out of their respective homes until the wedding day.
Mehendi in Hindu Wedding
Another lavish ceremony is the “Mehendi” where, all the female relatives and friends of the bride gather together and apply henna to the bride hands and feet, with the groom’s name hidden in the beautiful pattern.
Sangeet in Hindu Wedding
The “Mehndi” is usually coupled with the “Sangeet” ceremony, where all the friends and relatives come together and dance to the beats of the traditional songs.
Wedding Day and White Horse
On the wedding day, the groom arrives on the bride’s doorstep, seated on a white horse. This is a tradition carried ahead since the olden days in India, when horses were the only means of transport, and white horses are considered auspicious. Nowadays the white horse is replaced by a wedding coach car but many people who can afford it, still prefer the symbolic white horse.
The grooms journey till the bride’s home is in the form of a procession with much fanfare. This is called the “Baraat”. The groom is surrounded by his friends and relatives who dance all the way till the wedding venue where they are welcomed lavishly with gifts and garlands.
The mainstay of the wedding ceremony are the “7 Pheras”. Here the bride and the groom walk around the holy fire with the priest chanting mantra’s alongside. Each round (Phera) around the holy fire represents a vow. So, the couple exchange their wedding vows in presence of family and demi-gods bless them. After the vows, the groom fills the bride’s hair parting with a red powder called “Sindoor” which now marks her as a married woman.
On the wedding day, sisters of the bride steal the groom’s shoes and the groom has to pay whatever amount of money they ask for in return. The money given is also considered auspicious.
The morning after the wedding, bride is given a lavish farewell, by the entire family. The ceremony is called “Vidaai”. This usually turns emotional with everyone becoming tearful at the impending separation. Nevertheless, the couple is blessed by all the elders as they leave for groom’s house where host of other celebrations await them.
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