Marriage is a sacred event, and when it comes to Hinduism, marriage is synchronized with the Vedas, the holy scripture of the Hindu religion. What’s uniquely special about the Hindu wedding is the collection of rituals that are performed not only by the bride and the groom, but also by their respective parents and close relatives. During these rituals, there are five offerings that are made,
1) Fresh Flowers: to signify beauty.
2) Coconut: to signify fertility.
3) Rice, Jaggery (brown sugar), and other grains: to signify food, necessary for the sustenance of human life.
4) Ghee (clarified butter): to feed the Sacred Fire.
5) Kumkum (red powder used for marking the forehead): to signify good luck.
The Hindu wedding ceremony takes place in the Mandap, the four-pole canopy at center stage. There are five stages to the ceremony,
1) Barrat and Milni: The reception and welcoming of the Groom and his family. At the entrance gate of the Wedding Hall by the bride’s family.
2) Jaimala: The bride welcomes the groom where they exchange garlands, which symbolize the bride’s acceptance of the groom as her husband. They are then escorted to the Mandap.
3) Kanyadaan: The bride’s family now moves indoor to the Mandap and they perform the Kanyadaan in which they give their daughter away to the groom in marriage.
4) Saat Phera: The bride and the groom’s hands are joined and they then walk the seven steps around the Havan (sacred fire) and take the marriage vows, which symbolize the obstacles that life may throw at them but that they will overcome them together.
5) Badai: The bride is leaving her parents home to build a new life with her husband and members of immediate family with tears of joy and sorrow but carries the blessings of all who witnessed the marriage ceremony.
One stage of the ceremony that really stands out is the Saat Phera—the couple walks seven steps together while reciting hymns, which express their principal household duties. The seven steps are,
1) To provide for the household, keeping a purer diet and avoiding those things injurious to their health.
2) To develop their physical, mental, and spiritual powers.
3) To increase their wealth by righteous means and proper use.
4) To acquire knowledge and happiness and harmony by mutual love, respect, and trust for each other.
5) To be blessed with strong, virtuous and heroic children.
6) For self-restraint and longevity.
7) To be true companions and remain life long partners by this marriage.
All of these unique steps lead to a magnificent beginning!