S: Hindu Marriage Customs and Beliefs
FC: Hindu Marriage Customs and Beliefs
1: One or two days before the wedding, a mehndi takes place. | Friends and family of the bride will gather to cover her in henna tattoos. | Henna tattoos cover the bride's hands and feet and are drawn in specific patterns. | Besides henna tattoos, the bride will also be adorned in traditional jewelry.
2: Hindus believe that marriage unites two souls and families for life. As man and wife, a couple will pursue Hindu responsibilities together. The Vedas, sacred Hindu texts, outline the rituals involved in a Hindu wedding ceremony. In ancient times, Hindus practiced polygamy, but it is now considered immoral and illegal because of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955.
3: During the vivaha samskara, wedding ceremony, the bride wears a traditional saree, and the groom wears a sherwani.
4: After an opening prayer, the purohita, the priest, makes an opening statement about the ceremony. Then, the bride's elders arrive at the mandapa, the alter. Once the groom arrives, he is presented with a puja from the bride's elders. He is offered a seat, water for washing his feet, and a mixture of honey and yogurt. | Vivaha Samskara
5: After the puja to the groom, the bride enters the mandapa and takes her seat on the left side of the alter. | Next, a prayer is lifted to Lord Ganesha to bless the couple and remove any obstacles he may encounter.
6: To truly begin the ceremony, the bride and groom each tie a string around their partner's wrist to show their commitment to perform the ceremony. Next, the bride and groom hold a copper tray containing a pebble, water, leaves, grass, and flowers. As they do so, the couple states that they accept each other to take on the duties of the householder stage of life. | The Rituals Continue
7: The Kanya Danam, the giving away of the bride, involves specific customs. The bride's mother pours holy water into the bride's father's hand, the groom's hand, and the bride's hand. This tradition represents the groom's responsibility for his bride. The groom verbally claims his bride and is given advice from the bride's father. | Kanya Danam
8: Once the bride is given away, the bride and groom sit facing each other with flower garlands in their hands. A curtain separates them to symbolize their separate identities before marriage. Then, eight verses are sung by the priest and family member to bless the couple. The curtain is then removed, and the couple exchanges garlands. The removal of the curtain symbolizes the oneness of the bride and groom.
9: As the couple remains seated, they state their expectations for their marriage, and shower each other with rice. Then, the groom adorns the bride with a mangala sutra and kumkum powder. These items declare the bride's marital status and symbolize the groom's commitment to protect the bride.
10: Following the adornment of the bride, the purohita guides the bride and groom in an offering to Lord Ganesha. After the offering, the groom's stole and the end of the bride's sari are tied together until the end of the ceremony. This knot represents a bond for life. Then, the groom accepts the bride's hand in marriage.
11: The next ritual to take place is the homa, sacred fire worship. It signifies their entry into the householder stage of life. The groom prepares the fire, and the bride pours rice into it. Then the bride and groom circle the fire as they worship Hindu deities.
12: The Rite of Seven Steps | Following the homa, the purohita prepares seven rice mounds for the bride and groom to step on. Each step taken represents different duties and blessings for the couple's marriage. The rite is said to be the essence of a Hindu wedding. After the final step, the couple's minds become one.
13: the | At last, the bride and groom stand facing each other with foreheads teaching as the priest sprinkles water over them. | Finally, to end the ceremony, the priest blesses the couple and the congregation. The bride and groom meditate on a prayer to the Hindu deities and bow down to those in attendance. The priest says a final blessing, and the bride and groom exit. | Final Moments