Like most things in India, Hindu weddings are done with a little more flair and colour than you’d be used to seeing at a wedding! Marriage is very important to Hindu people, the celebrations usually last for several days and are very colourful indeed.Hindu weddings are very traditional, though of course there are variations from wedding to wedding. The ceremony is called a ‘vivaah sanskar’ and is usually conducted in Sanskrit, which is considered the language of holy ceremonies. There are pre and post-wedding rituals as well as, of course, rituals that are undertaken on the wedding day.
The engagement is a pre-wedding ritual that is crucial, because without it there would be no wedding at all. The arrival of the groom’s family to the bride’s residence is also an important ritual prior to the wedding. One of the biggest post-wedding celebrations is the welcoming of the bride to her new home.
The primary witness of a Hindu wedding is the fire deity Agni, along with family and friends. During the wedding ceremony there are three traditions that are always absolutely performed: the kanyadaan, the panigrahana and saptapadi.
The kanyadaan is the giving away of the bride by her father. It is one of noblest acts that a bride’s family can perform in their lifetime. Next is the panigrahana, where the bride and groom hold hands and they recite vedic hymns for happiness, long life and prosperity. This is to signify their union.
Then there is saptapadi ritual; this is where the bride and groom take seven steps together, each step being a vow that represents an aspiration for their married life. They go something like this: with the first step we will provide for and support each other, with the second step we will develop mental, physical and spiritual strength, with the third step we will share worldly possessions, with the fourth step we will acquire knowledge, happiness and peace, with the fifth step we will raise strong and virtuous children, with the sixth step we will enjoy the fruits of all seasons and lastly, with the seventh step we will always remain friends and cherish each other.
All of these rituals are undertaken with colour and lots of life. There will never be a boring moment during a Hindu wedding. From the outfits, to the decorations, music and dancing and of course to the food, no detail is done without flourish!
If you’re ever lucky enough to be invited along to a Hindu wedding, make sure you save the date. And who knows, perhaps if you come on one of our tours you will be. Anything is possible in India!
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