Indian Wedding Traditions

wedding, wedding catering, wedding foodIndia is a country with varied heritage and customs, but every Hindu believes in the sanskaras (sacraments), and the most important sanskara is 'vivaah' (marriage). Hindu wedding ceremonies are carried out according to shastra (scripture).

The marriage ceremony always begins with 'Ganesh Puja', he is believed to be the remover of all obstacles and the Ganesh Puja is carried out to ensure successful completion for the day’s itinerary. This is followed by 'Navgrah Shanti Puja', then comes some of the most imporatnt rituals that are:

  • Vara Satkaarah: As the groom and his family and friends, together also called the baarat, arrive at the ceremony site amidst much singing and dancing, the bride's parents, family and friends greet them with tilak (a red dot on the forehead), arati (a plate carrying a lighted lamp) and some flowers.
  • Jaimala (Exchange of Garlands): The couple exchanges garlands as a gesture of acceptance of one another and a pledge to respect one another as partners.
  • Kanyadan: The bride's parents gives his daughter to the groom amidst the chanting of sacred mantras.
  • Havan (Lighting of the Sacred Fire): The couple invokes Agni, the god of Fire, to witness their commitment to each other.
  • Pani-Grahan: The groom takes the right hand of the bride in his left hand and accepts her as his lawfully wedded wife.
  • Mangalphera (Walk Around the Fire): The couple 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 (Seven Steps Together): The couple then take seven steps together, making the following seven vows:
    First step: To respect and honor each other
    Second step: To share each other’s joy and sorrow
    Third step: To trust and be loyal to each other
    Fourth step: To cultivate appreciation for knowledge, values, sacrifice and service
    Fifth step: To reconfirm their vow of purity, love family duties and spiritual growth
    Sixth step: To follow principles of Dharma (righteousness)
    Seventh step: To nurture an eternal bond of friendship and love
  • Mangalsutra and Sindoor: In Hindu weddings, one of the most sacred customs is of tying mangalsutra around brides neck. It is basically a black and gold beaded necklace with a gold or diamond pendant. The groom applies a small dot of vermilion, a powdered red lead, to the bride’s forehead and welcomes her as his partner for life.
  • Aashirwaad: The married couple will finally take blessings from both of their parents and any other family elders by touching their feet.