India is ethnically and religiously a diverse nation. With deep-rooted belief in religion and culture, the traditions and rituals of the country are simply amazing. And when it comes to weddings, the diversity is breathtaking. Be it Hindu, Muslim or any other religion, everyone celebrates the wedding with great enthusiasm.
In Hindu Dharma, sanskaras need to be performed during 16 principal events of life to move closer to God. One of the most important is “Vivah Sanskar”(Hindu wedding).
Dharma in Hindu weddings
Dharma plays a crucial role in every Indian wedding. In a Hindu wedding, when two individuals get committed for the life they pursue Artha (possessions), Dharma (duty) and Kama (physical desired). The main objective of a wedding is, two individuals, tie a knot and seek blessings from God to lead a happily married life.
For this, it is important that the wedding is performed followed by all rituals and as per the scriptures.
Hindu community has some spiritual perspectives as well when it comes to marriage. According to Hinduism, marriage between two people is a sacred affair which continues up to seven lives. It is not just a formal union of a man and woman recognized by law, there is a lot more the Hindu marriage ceremony offers to the bride and the groom.
In Hindu Dharma, human life consists of 4 states, called “ashrams” and every Hindu should ideally go through each of these stages.
- Brahmacharya – The student stage
- Grihastha – The householder stage (Marriage stage)
- Vanaprastha – The hermit stage
- Sannyasa – The ascetic stage
Since marriage is a major part of life, a lot of importance is linked to marriages in Hinduism. Every single ritual and practice in Indian wedding has deep spiritual and philosophical significance. Let’s get to know about some interesting Hindu wedding rituals.
Key Hindu Wedding Rituals
The term “Kanyadaan” is formed by combining two different words: Kanya that means a girl and Daan which indicates donation. So, it means the donation of a girl (bride) by the parents to the groom.
Kanyadaan has a strong significance in Hinduism. The groom is considered to be Lord Vishnu and hence, this ritual is considered to be the biggest donation that any parent can make to God. It is believed that by performing these rituals their sins get purified. The Kanyadaan ceremony takes place after the Varmala ceremony. The bride’s father takes his daughter’s hand and places it in the groom’s hand.
The ceremony takes place after the Kanyadaan. In which, bride and groom pray to Agni Devta (the lord of fire) in hopes of bringing the presence of Lord Vishnu into the marriage. The Agni (fire) symbolizes knowledge, happiness, and power. This ritual ensures the purity of the upcoming rituals. Therefore, it is quite important.
It is another important ritual of Indian wedding without which the marriage isn’t considered complete. The groom takes the bride’s right hand in his left hand and accepts her as a lawfully wedded wife. The ritual is performed right after the Kanyadaan ceremony symbolizes the union of the couple. The groom takes his responsibility towards the bride in the presence of deities Aryama (stands for heaven), Bhaga (stands for wealth), Purandhi (stands for wisdom), and Savita (stands for a new beginning.
The ceremony involves oblation to the sacred fire. The bride’s brother puts fried rice into his hands, half of which slips into the bridegroom’s hands, which then slips into the fire. The ritual indicates protraction of the links between the two families. After that, the couple circles the fire together and feed the fire with rice on each round.
The word “Saptapadi” is composed of two words “Sapta” that means seven and “Padi” which stands for steps. This ceremony takes place after tying Mangalsutra (Wedding necklace) in the bride’s neck. The couple walks around the Agni (fire) seven times while the priest recites mantras. The first three rounds are lead by the Groom while the last four by the bride. Each step of Saptapadi marks a different aspect of marriage. After then the couple legally becomes husband and wife.
A Hindu marriage is followed by a lot of traditional rituals and religious activities without which the marriage is not considered complete. So, if you’re getting married outside India and are working with an Indian destination wedding planner, make certain they understand how to execute all important Hindu ceremonies.
Hindu weddings are based on sacred scriptures, called “Veda” dates back to at least 4000 years. By the wedding union, the bride and groom prepare to fulfill their physical, social and spiritual goals. Rituals of Indian weddings may vary depending on which part of India the bride the groom come from, but they are mandatory undoubtedly.