5th June, 2012 - Posted by Lia - No Comments
Hindu weddings focus on joining a couple together in happiness, harmony and growth in each other and as individuals. As in most cultures, the engagement of a Hindu couple is celebrated. The Mangni celebrates the couple’s love for one another and includes good food and gifts for the happy couple.
The first part of the ceremony is involves the exchanging of garlands between the couple as a symbol of their commitment to one another and respect for each one’s individuality.
Madhupak is the next step. This is the giving of yogurt and honey to the groom by the father of the bride as a gesture of welcoming him to the family.
Afterwards, the bride’s father places his daughter’s hand in the hand of the groom; requesting he accept her as an equal partner in life.
Havan comes next. This is the lighting of a ceremonial fire to the god of fire, Agni. It is the couple’s desire that Agni witness their commitment to one another. Following the lighting of the fire to Agni, someone (usually the bride’s brother) fills the bride’s hand with rice. She in turn shares this with the groom so that they can sacrifice to Agni.
The tying of the nuptial knot is the next ritual on the way to making a Hindu couple officially husband and wife. Scarves are tied around the bride and groom to symbolize their life-long commitment to one another in faithfulness.
The couple then makes four Mangalpheras around the fire in a clockwise direction representing four goals in life: Dharma, religious and moral duties; Artha, prosperity;Kama, earthly pleasures; Moksha, spiritual salvation and liberation. The bride leads the Pheras first, signifying her determination to stand first beside her husband in all happiness and sorrow.
Saptapardi, or steps, is the next phase of the ceremony. The couple takes these steps together to signify their unity. Each step represents a marital vow:
- To respect and honor each other
- To share each other’s joy and sorrow
- To trust and be loyal to each other
- To cultivate appreciation for knowledge, values, sacrifice and service
- To reconfirm their vow of purity, love family duties and spiritual growth
- To follow principles of Dharma (righteousness) Seventh step: To nurture an eternal bond of friendship and love
The remaining portions of the ceremony includes the parents’ blessing on the couple by sprinkling water on them from a red rose that has been dipped in water, the groom placing a dot of red vermillion to his wife’s forehead as a symbol of her being a wife and the couple touching the feet of their parents in a show of respect and appreciation for their blessing. This completes a more modern Hindu wedding ceremony.
There are some older traditions that aren’t always included in today’s ceremonies. The main one includes the ‘painting’ of the hands with a paste made of Henna leaves. Tradition has it that the names of the bride and groom are to be hidden in the painting of the hands and must be found by the groom before the wedding night consummation can take place.
Hindu, Jewish or Protestant; a wedding is the joining of a man and a woman who are committed to living their lives as one.