Hindu Wedding Ceremony
The “Shaadi” (Wedding) is based on traditions and rituals originating over forty centuries ago. The ceremony will be preformed in the most ancient language, Sanskrit by Pandit Sharmaji. Marriage is one of the sixteen sacraments of Hindu life and the ceremony represents an eternal bond between the bride and groom, as well as a union between the two families.
The “Baraat” is a marriage procession whereby the groom arrives on a white horse accompanied by his family and friends in full festivity with music and dance.
The “Milni” is an official meeting between the families of the bride and the groom. Both families greet each other by exchanging garlands.
Upon arrival, the groom is greeted by the mother of the bride. She applies tilak, does aarti and offers sweets.
The bride, arrives and is escorted to the “Mandap” (Wedding Canopy) by her father and brother. She wears bridal “chuda”, special bangles that signify her status as a bride and represent purity, wealth, and fertility. These bangles have been placed upon the bride’s wrists by her “Mama” (maternal uncle).
The bride greets the groom and garlands him with flowers, acknowledging him as her betrothed in the presence of all assembled. The groom reciprocates and this gesture symbolizes the unifications of their hearts and the giving of their consent to marry each other.
The groom arrives at the Mandap and the ceremony of the “Var Poojan” is performed in which the groom is worshipped and observed as a form of the Lord. Once the Var Poojan is finished, the bride is brought to the Mandap.
Lord Ganesh is deemed to be the most benevolent of the Hindu deities and prior to any undertaking or journey a “Ganesh Puja” (worship of Lord Ganesh) is performed. At all auspicious occasions, His Divine Grace and Blessings are invoked to provide an atmosphere of tranquility.
“Daan” in Sanskrit means “to give away free”. “Kanya Daan” is the proper giving away of the bride and is stated to be the most supreme daan. The bride’s parents are giving their daughter away so that the groom’s family can continue their family line. The bride’s parents, perform rituals for the giving away of their daughter, and declare to all gathered that they hand her to the care of the man of her heart.
Granthi bandhan – tying the knot
A sacred knot is tied between the bride and the groom as a symbol that the couple is now tied in body, mind and soul. The tying of the knot also symbolizes that the virtues of the bride and groom become stronger when they are combined.
The bride and the groom request God to invite them into sacred matrimony by giving offerings into the “havan” (sacred fire).
Saptapadi – Saat Phere
The ancient custom of “Saat Phere” (Seven Rounds/Four Rounds) or “Saptapadi” (Seven steps/vows) holds a vast meaning in the marriage, and is the main and most important part of the Shaadi rituals.
The bride and groom walk clockwise as a significance of firmness, and each round begins with the right foot first. During the four rounds, the couple seeks the four basic goals of human life.
Dharma: To lead a life of religious and moral duties
Artha: To lead a joyous and fruitful life of wealth, prosperity and happiness
Kama: To love each other and have a happy family life
Moksha: To lead a life of purity, compassion, and kindness so that it can lead to liberation
As the Panditji (priest) recites mantras for Saptapadi, the bride and the groom pray and take the following vows:
First – to lead a life of love, faithfulness, understanding, loyalty, unity, friendship, and companionship.
Second – to acknowledge the presence of God and to prosper by sustaining the truth, having devotion, upholding righteousness, maintaining the environment and be generous to Humanity.
Third – to embrace each other’s families as their own.
Fourth – to acquire knowledge, happiness and harmony by mutual love and trust, and to share in each other’s joy and sorrow.
Fifth – to have pure, nourishing food, and live a life that is noble and respectful.
Sixth – to develop physical, mental and spiritual strength, and to lead a healthy, peaceful life.
Seventh – to be blessed with strong, noble and honorable children, and for the welfare of all living entities.
At the completion of the seventh step, the bride and the groom are said to be married and the bride leaves her maiden gotra (lineage), becoming a member of her husband’s family.
Sindoor & Mangalsutra
The groom applies the traditional mark of “Sindoor” (vermillion) to the bride’s hair signifying her as a married woman. He then places a “Mangalsutra” (A sacred and significant black-bead necklace of love and goodwill) around her neck, symbolizing his enduring commitment to their marriage.
Ashirvad – Blessings
The newlyweds seek Ashirvad of the eldest members of each family, the Panditji, and their parents by touching their feet. The bride also receives special blessings from five married ladies and the couple also receives the blessings of all assembled.
Bidaai – Doli
Bidaai denotes the farewell to the bride by her family. She throws rice backwards over her head, conveying good wishes for her parents, and thanks them for loving and caring for all her life. By doing this, the house of her childhood remains prosperous and happy.