A Hindu wedding is an exquisite celebration of love, fidelity and family. In the Hindu faith, it’s a significant rite of passage that has a long history of customs. Before you go down the aisle, you should be aware of the following facts concerning Hindu weddings.
Hindu weddings are known for their vibrant colors, elaborate rituals, and deep spiritual significance. Each ritual holds a special meaning and contributes to the overall sacredness of the union.
Before the Wedding
What does a Hindu wedding signify?
Hindu doctrine holds that a marriage should endure for seven lives. Marriage is a significant event in Hinduism because it ushers in a new stage of life known as the “Garhasthyaashram.”
Hindus place a high value on marriage and see it as one of a man’s most significant responsibilities. He completes his obligation to carry on his family’s bloodline through marriage.
Hindu weddings are filled with several ceremonies that might take several days to complete. A Hindu wedding ceremony includes a number of traditions and rituals, each having its own significance.
How far in advance are Hindu marriages planned? It’s crucial to comprehend the needed commitment, whether you are a Hindu getting married or a member of a Hindu wedding party. To avoid disappointment and make sure that your Hindu wedding is everything you want it to be, start preparing at least six months in advance. This will free you up to take care of matters like venue selection, planning, entertainment, food, transportation and decorations.
The Roka ritual marks the beginning of the marriage. It’s almost like the bride and groom’s families are making an official statement that they will be getting married. In a brief ceremony, the families get together and share sweets. Prior to starting their future together, the delighted couple is often blessed by both families.
The Hindu Engagement
An engagement is the time between receiving a marriage proposal and getting hitched. The term “fiancé” refers to a couple at this time. The bride and groom exchange rings during this event a few months before the wedding. Close friends and relatives are invited to the ceremony so they may meet the families and rejoice.
What Dress Code Applies to Hindu Weddings?
Bold hues are typical of wedding attire in India. The attendees will be dressed in eye-catching jewelry and brilliant hues.
A suit is typically seen as proper clothing for males. There are several alternatives available if you prefer to dress traditionally. Indian males often dress in the kurta or the sherwani. Bright colors are welcomed, but the most crucial thing is to choose the one you feel most comfortable in.
What is the Average Duration of a Hindu Wedding?
Indian weddings typically last three days, although can stretch up to five. The Ganesh Puja, also known as the Mandap Muhurat and Pithi, takes place on the first day of a traditional Indian wedding. It frequently is followed by a joyous Mendhi/Sangeet night. Grah Shanti, also known as Sathak/Mandvo or Mamoru ritual, is held on the second day. The wedding celebration will take place on the third day and an evening reception will follow.
The Ganesh Puja, a private ritual attended solely by the couple, the bridal party and intimate relatives, is typically performed by a priest on the first day of the wedding. The rest of your wedding rites start with the Ganesh Puja. Before the ritual, the family will pray to Lord Ganesh and ask for peace and harmony. Obtaining Lord Ganesh’s blessings can bring luck to the beginning of a marriage.
The mehndi ceremony frequently takes place on the first or second day of a wedding celebration. The bride, her close friends and members of her family will have exquisite henna patterns painted on their hands and feet during this ceremony.
That evening is the sangeet. Guests often get the opportunity to mingle with the bride and groom’s family, eat a meal and dance or enjoy other performances. A reception featuring a cocktail hour is conducted on the third day.
Who Will Be on the Guest List?
Hindu couples, their families and friends consider weddings to be important occasions. In line with the Hindu notion that every ceremony should be a show of pleasure and celebration, they are always spectacular, never tiny or personal. Hindu weddings sometimes continue all day or even two days since they are complex and protracted events.
The wedding is open to the bride and groom’s friends and families. Like most weddings, the couple’s wedding is a huge celebration, so inviting plenty of guests is logical. What better way to ring in a new era of your relationship than with a party?
What Will the Food Be Like?
There are several non-spicy Indian recipes, despite the misconception that all Indian food is spicy and vegetarian. Food will be served at the event both during the day and at night. The menu does, however, vary a little bit depending on the time of day. For instance, puri or bathura are offered during lunch rather than naan, which is only available in the evening during supper.
There won’t be any meat served if there is a religious service in the morning, but you can select vegetarian or meat-based dishes at the reception in the evening. Once more, this is dependent on the families attending the wedding. The menu could have vegetarian curries or other dishes, including:
• Puffs or puris
• Savory samosas served with pickles and chutney
• Shrikhand Gulba Jamun, a sweet treat
There will be a variety of appetizers, as there always are at weddings. The main course will be served alongside this and will often include paneer, creamy curries, buttery naans and tandoori meat cooked in a tandoor, a traditional clay oven. Cake, Indian ice cream and sweets made with nuts can all be seen on standard dessert tables.
Hindu Weddings Customs and Traditions
You also don’t want to miss these other wedding traditions we relish:
1. The Jaan/The Baraat
The Baraat, the groom and his family’s singing and dancing wedding procession, begins the wedding day. The Baraat can and frequently does involve a horse, flashy automobiles and loud music.
The bridegroom leaves his house with his baraat (wedding procession), followed by his friends and family and proceeds toward the wedding location. Dhol players, a band or both will start the procession after the guests have arrived at the location to herald the entrance of the groom, his family and his friends.
2. Pokwanu – The Groom’s Welcome
The groom, his family and guests are officially welcomed by the bride’s family. The bride’s mother places a tilak on the groom’s forehead before leading him, his loved ones and guests inside the site. The priest then conducts a brief ceremony inside before leading him inside. The mother of the bride then pulls the groom’s nose in a playful manner to remind him that it was he who came to their house to beg for her daughter’s hand and that he must always do his best to keep her happy and comfortable.
Then, the groom will be asked to use his foot to crush a clay pot, fracturing it into pieces. This shows that he has the ability to go through whatever challenges the pair may encounter during their marriage. After that, the bridegroom is led to the Mandap.
3. Ganesha Puja
The Hindu elephant god, Lord Ganesh, who eliminates all impediments, is invoked by the priest before the ceremony starts as a sign that the wedding is going to take place. The bride’s parents do the Ganesha Puja and the ceremony starts with a prayer to Lord Ganesh, asking for calm and harmony to rule the event. For a happy beginning for the couple, Lord Ganesh’s blessings are requested. Without Ganesh Puja, a traditional Hindu wedding is incomplete.
In a ritual, the bride’s parents wash the groom’s feet and present him with flowers and Madhuparka. The Vedic texts claim that the groom is a metaphor for Lord Vishnu at the time of marriage. A fabric veil (Antarpat) is carried in front of the groom at the conclusion of the ritual to shield him from the bride’s entrance.
5. The Arrival of the Bride
The bride’s maternal uncle(s) accompany her to the Mandap. Verse chanting (Manglashtak) occurs when the bride enters the mandap, as the veil is dropped and the bride and groom exchange flower garlands (Jai-Malas). The bride presents the first garland, announcing that she freely picked the husband. The bridegroom will then pay her back by presenting her with a garland as a welcome to their new life together and a promise to take good care of her.
6. Varmala and Gratibandan
While singing prayers to Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, Lord Narayan and Goddess Laxmi Devi, asking for a strong marriage like theirs, the groom ties his scarf to the bride’s shawl. The knot represents the joining of two souls in holy matrimony.
The bride’s parents conduct this ceremony. By laying their daughter’s hand on the bridegroom’s right hand, they offer their daughter in marriage. The bride’s parents ask their son-in-law to take good care of their daughter in their prayers.
Inviting Agni, a little holy fire is lit in the mandap’s center. When offering ghee, grains and flowers into the flame, the Fire God, a representation of light, strength and purity, is invoked. Since Agni is the one who banishes ignorance and darkness from existence and guides us to eternal light and knowledge, these prayers hold a unique significance.
9. Comic Fera
The priest shouts mantras as the couple makes four circles around the Holy Fire. The first three feras (Circles) are led by the groom and the fourth and final fera is led by the bride, indicating balance in their marriage. The four feras stand in for the four fundamental aims of life: moksha, artha, kama and dharma.
The couple rushes back to their seats after their final round together. It is customary for people to compete to occupy the first seat since it is believed that person would govern the home.
10. The Seven Steps of Saptapadi
The most significant ritual in a Hindu marriage ceremony is this one. Saptapadi, the name, translates to “seven stages.” Seven steps are taken by the couple to signify the start of their lifelong journey together. At the start of each stage, the couple makes a pledge while they are blessed by the priest and everyone else in attendance.
11. Mangal Sutra and Sindhoor
The marriage is recognized officially after the seven steps. Today, rituals start with the exchange of rings and the identification of the bride and groom as husband and wife.
In order to signify that the bride is now a married lady, the groom puts Sindhoor at the parting of her hair. The bride is given a golden necklace with black beads by the groom with the Mangal Sutra as a show of his love, loyalty and respect for her.
12. Ceremony with Sagan and Tilak
The male relatives of the bride’s family pay a visit to the groom to apply kumkum to his forehead during this fortunate ceremony. Nowadays, folks are a little fancier and dance and play music throughout the event. The Tilak Ceremony is viewed as the first step towards fusing the two families’ ties.
14. Mehndi Ritual
A few days before the wedding, the bride has mehndi done to her hands and feet. Mehndi is said to bring luck and good vibes. According to some customs, even the groom decorates his hands and feet with mehndi. The dark mehndi color on a bride’s hand symbolizes their intense love for one another. Additionally, it provides a cooling effect that helps the bride and groom relax after their wedding.
Of all the wedding ceremonies, the mehndi ceremony is, without a doubt, the most exciting, bright and lively. Without the singing of traditional melodies and the playing of musical instruments like the dhol, this joyful festival would not be complete.
Did you know that the word “sangeet” literally refers to singing as a group? Although other cultures have now adopted this ritual, it was originally a Punjabi custom. Ten days before the wedding ceremony, the sangeet ritual began.
During a traditional sangeet ceremony, the family of the bride and the groom get together to sing and dance in order to make the evening more entertaining. It is perhaps the greatest ceremony of all and one of the most anticipated.
16. Haldi Ritual
A holy wash is given before the wedding during the haldi ritual. It is referred to by several names depending on the location, including ubtan, mandha and tel baan. In Hindu culture, the vivid yellow hue of haldi is seen as fortunate. It stands for innocence, procreation and radiant health.
On the morning of the wedding, married ladies apply turmeric to both the bride and the groom. Before the wedding, the concoction is thought to bless the pair. The bride and groom are thought to be shielded from evil by the color yellow.
At the primary ceremony, the couple first exchanges varmalas before taking seven pheras to formally wed in front of a priest and get blessings from family elders. It is such a calm and blessed ceremony.
18. Ceremony Concludes
The final portion of the event is held after lunch and pictures. As the couple exits the mandap, the bride receives a handful of rice, which she tosses over her back as she goes in an effort to compensate her parents for all they have done for her over the years. The bride will bid each family member a tearful farewell as she begins a new life with her husband and his family.
The main ceremony is over now! The grand reception is the next event, which is a separate glamorous one. Naturally, it will be far less tradition-heavy than the wedding event. Prepare yourself for some delicious meals and a fun night of dancing.
Expectations for the Reception
It’s time for the wedding celebration after the ceremony. There will be tons of dancing and celebration at this joyful event! Family and friends sing and dance for the newlyweds as speeches are given.
Hindu weddings are beautiful, spiritual and meaningful celebrations that bring families and communities together. They are unique because of their traditional elements, such as the dancing, clothing and guests. No matter how you decide to incorporate these elements into your own wedding, it is important to remember that it is a special day that marks the beginning of two people joining as one.
A Hindu wedding is not just a celebration. It’s a chance to honor and reflect on the couple’s commitment to each other and their community. As you plan for this momentous event, take time to appreciate the beauty of this tradition and all that comes with it.
Serena & Dominic are a married couple and parents to 3 wonderful children. They plan weddings, run multiple small businesses, and curate wedding events.
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