Rituals in Hindu Weddings

The rituals of Hindu weddings have been followed by the people since Vedic times considering the religious norms of Hinduism. Many significant rituals are followed during the marriage.

Hindu marriage rituals are so many and they do not even comprise groom and bride but also their family members and relatives. As per the Hindu mythology, there are four stages of life and marriage is the second stage of life which is known as Grihastha. It is a state of life when two people (male and female) tie a knot and learn the main values of life.

Both the marriage couples have to pursue Kama, Artha and Dharma (physical needs, possessions and responsibilities). There are different steps during Hindu marriage. So many religious rites are performed during the wedding ceremony. All wedding rituals have diverse significances. But the differences come in communities and regional changes.
The numerous Hindu rituals followed while marriage came into existence from customs and ceremonies that have been practiced since Vedic period. The traditional Hindu marriage is carried in Sanskrit. There was a scientific base in the ancient Vedic weddings. They ensured that there would be an intimacy, unity and a lot of lot between the newly couples. And these things remain in their entire marriage life.

The rituals of Hindu marriage have their main importance in the fire-sacrifice or Vedic Yajna. The fire (Agni) is one of the main deities of Vedas that holds a lot of importance during the wedding ceremony. Agni is also considered as a God in Hinduism. During the ancient Aryan times, people used to invoke Agni deity. The Indi-Aryan style of worshiping the Lord Agni became very popular and created alliance and friendship. In today’s time this tradition still survives during the marriage. The bride and groom move around the Agni 7 times and promise to become husband and wife for the upcoming the 7 births as well.

Though the traditions and customs vary in different regions of India and other parts of the world wherever Hindus live, the basic 13 rituals of Hindu marriage remain same.

The pre-wedding rituals start with the ring ceremony or Misri.

Other main customs are:

  • Sangeet ceremony
  • Mehendi ceremony
  • Sagri
  • Vara Satkaarah
  • Vivah Homa
  • Nav Graha Puja
  • Hathialo
  • Ghari Puja
  • Kanyadaan
  • Pani-Grahan
  • Anna Praashan
  • Pratigan-Karan
  • Abhishek
  • Shila Arohan
  • Parikrama
  • Saptapadi
  • Laja-Homah
  • Aashirvadh

During the ring ceremony (Misri), there is an oral agreement between bride and groom families for the upcoming marriage.

Decorations in Hindu Marriage

Hindu marriage decorations play a big role to make the special occasion memorable not only for bride and groom but also for the guests. In Hinduism marriage happens only once in the entire lifespan, so it is really a big day in everyone’s life. To make it more interesting and exciting, parents of the bride and groom consider top class decoration arrangements. They also spend a lot of money for decorating the wedding hall and their house.
Wedding planners are also hired for decoration purpose and make all the arrangements in spiritual, cultural and religious ways. The Hindu wedding decorations comprise several things to give new looks and great elegance making the event glamorous.

Types of Decorations in Hindu Marriage:

Many kinds of decorations can be seen in Hindi weddings. Due to the lavish arrangements in the customary weddings in society, the family members have no choice instead of going for a lot expense.

Here Are Some of the Main Decorations in Hindu Marriage:

  • Wedding Stage Decorations
  • Mandap Decorations
  • Sagan Decorations
  • Engagement Decorations
  • Sangeet Decorations
  • Mehndi Decorations
  • Car Decorations

These decorations can be seen in all Hindu weddings apart from some other ritual and cultural arrangements. These decorations are divided as per the specific requirements and ceremonies. Similar to Hindu marriage decorations, the types of substances used in such decorations are diverse. They vary from artificial flowers to original flowers and a number of decorative stuff. There are many lighting effects used to make the wedding place more vibrant and sparkling.

It is necessary that the decorations match the ceremony. These days, a variety of themes are used to add charm and majesty to the event. Those who like western styles consider innovative themes for a grand ceremony. Today, stylish and designer themes are also employed by the individuals to show their prestige in society. The decoration is one of the main aspects during the marriage. It has derived a lot of fame due to the religious, outlook and grandeur gestures. Let’s find out some of the major decorations of Hindu marriages:

Engagement:

An engagement is a pre-marriage event when ring exchange ceremony happens. It is an important occasion when the relationship begins between two families. The environment of the engagement ceremony is decorated with a lot of colors. But the main rituals vary as per the traditions and religions of both the parties. The ceremony also relies on the theme and budget of the organizers.

Mehendi Ceremony:

Mehendi is one of the main ceremonies during Hindu marriages. Both bride and groom are colored with Mehendi on their hands and legs. Mehendi looks really attractive and astonishing with its darkness. It is known as a body art in a number of contemporary designs and wonderful patterns.

Sangeet Ceremony:

During the Sangeet ceremony, women get together and start singing and dancing including the bride. The decoration of Sangeet ceremony depends upon the individual tastes.

Sagan Ceremony:

The Sagan ceremony is held in the house of groom. A Havan took place during the ceremony by the pandit. Though it is regional ceremony and does not happen in all states of India. During the event, tilak is also applied on the forehead of the presenters.

Mandap:

As per the Hindu customs, the marriage should occur in an open area. The construction of a canopy or mandap is done beautifully with all-important ritual arrangements.

Wedding Stage:

Wedding state is the center of attraction because of bride and groom sit in the stage and guests come to wish them and click photos the couple. Thus, a lot of care is given to arrange the wedding stage. High-quality stage materials, flowers and seats are arranged.

Car Decoration:

The car in which both bride and groom departs to the groom’s house is decorated in a beautiful way. Flowers are decorated with the names of bride and groom.

Sagan Ceremony Decorations in Hindu Weddings

What is Sagan Ceremony?

Sagan is a pre-marriage ceremony that can either be held at the house of groom or any booked hall. All friends and relatives sing and dance. They sing wedding folks songs in the sagan ceremony. During this ceremony, the pandit also executes a havan. Sagan ceremony is mainly took place in Punjabi Hindu families.

Sagan Decoration:

The mostly decoration is done in Punjabi style. The house or banquet hall is decorated with beautiful themes. Several vibrant colors are used to decorate the venue. Long and colorful curtains are used in the decoration.

Punjabi marriages and pre-wedding ceremonies are organized in a grand way. They spend a lot of money to make the events more attractive and vibrant. Sagan ceremony fills the environment with full of joy.

Types of Sagan Decorations:

The pundit gives a list of virtual items that are required for the havan. A tilak is applied by the bride’s father on the groom’s forehead. The tilak is made of rice, flower petails and kesar. Relatives and friends of the bride and groom give their blessings to them.

Decorations may also differ as per the personal taste. Western culture has also influenced in pre-marriage ceremonies. So, their designs, patterns and themes can also be seen in Sagan decorations.

Hindu Engagement Decoration

Engagement is one of the most crucial ceremonies in Indian weddings. It constitutes a huge value in making a relationship stronger between two individuals. Basically engagement is the base of a Hindu marriage that starts relation between the families of bride and groom. Considering the important of engagement ceremony, a big amount is spent in the wedding decoration. In engagement ceremony, the groom and bride exchange rings.

The rituals followed in engagement ceremony are according to the different regions in India. The engagement decoration depends on the budget, specific theme and available resources. The use of artifacts and flowers for decorations are the most common in engagement ceremony.

Abundance of flowers can be seen in such events. Golden and bright colors are employed as these provide the essence of festivity and richness to the ceremony. Candles and colorful lights also add charm to the event. However, the decoration can be personalized as per the individuals’ needs, budget and culture.

The hosts need to be also very choosy for the location as it plays a crucial role to make the ceremony special and memorable. With the help of a good location, it would be much easier to decorate the place properly. These days, a number of types of decorations are in trend. Some of the decorations include Bollywood themes, fairytale themes and royal themes. However, the most traditional decoration is the arrangement of original flowers not artificial flowers.

The conventional theme includes plenty of colorful flowers. The combination of golden and red colors is the most common to decorate the engagement hall.

Pre Punjabi Marriage Ceremonies

Traditions of Punjabi weddings are very ritualistic and complicated. They follow their traditions religiously and ensure that all ceremonies take place appropriately. Punjabis start the pre-wedding ceremonies so many days before the marriage. Roka is the first and foremost ceremony that occurs between the 2 families. It is followed by several interesting rituals such as Chunni Chadhana and Sagan.

As the wedding comes nearer, the celebration of ceremonies become more and more vibrant. Sangeet is one of the most joyful pre-wedding ceremonies in which people sing and dance. Mehendi ritual is held just one or two days before the wedding. Let’s find out more about the Punjabi pre-marriage ceremonies in details.

Roka:

Roka forms the beginning of the relationship between both bride and groom’s families. They get together in one place and fix the wedding of the individuals. It is a commitment from both the sides for the security purpose. Though it is a small occasion, it plays an important role to build a relationship. Both the families exchange fruits, gifts, dry fruits and sweets.

Sagan:

This ceremony is held in the house of groom or any other booked hall. During Sagan, a havan is carried out by the pundit. Then the father of bride applies a Tilak on the forehead of groom. Tilak is made of rice, flower petals and kesar. Friends and relatives of both the parties give their wishes and blessings to prospective bride and groom. Guests also give sweets, gifts and sweets to the couple.

Chunni Chadana:

In Chunni Chadan, the parents and close relatives of the groom visit the bride’s home. Sister of the prospective groom present a red sari to the girl which shows that their family is accepting the girl as their family member. When the girl comes to groom’s house, the same type of ritual happens when the mother-in-law presents a red chunni to the bride. And the girl is also fed kheer (made of boiled rice and milk).

Sangeet:

Sangeet ceremony is basically a musical event held in both groom and bride’s houses. During this ritual, many marriage folk songs and dance happen. The ceremony is too auspicious and enjoying.

Mehandi:

Similar to all Hindu marriages, Mehendi is a crucial pre-wedding ceremony in Punjabi marriage as well. Mehendi is applied in the bride’s hands and feet. Different types of designs are applied in Mehendi.

Mehendi Ceremony Decoration in Hindu Marriage

Mehendi (henna) is known to be an old age body art. The colorful artwork is used to make contemporary and sophisticated designs. There are a number of patterns for the Mehendi body art that are usually applied on the hands and feet. Mehendi is applied in the bride’s hands and feet to make beautify her so that she would look exceptional in her special day of life. In today’s time, both bride and groom apply Mehendi on their body.

The henna can be applied in several designs as per the culture and individuals’ taste. Hindu wedding is incomplete without Mehendi ceremony as it forms a lot of value to the Indian society. The Mehendi ritual is followed in all parts of India and among other religions as well. Bride adorns the beautiful looking reddish Mehendi. Mostly women prefer hiring a specialist Mehendi designer for their wedding day or consider visiting a beauty parlor.

There are various Mehendi designs as per the occasions, parties, worships and marriages. In Hindu marriages, mostly traditional Mehendi designs are applied instead of conventional and ethnic designs. Bride also considers Arabic, tattoo and ornamental designs. Fashionable designs are also very prevalent in young girls who love to make their hands colorful with such Mehendi designs. Mehendi can also be considered in form of navel tattoos, anklet tattoos and necklace tattoos. Henna is a safe and natural so there is no side effects to use it on the body. Even it stays for a number days on hands depending on its darkness.

In a Mehendi ceremony, many women get together and the designer make beautiful designs on the bride’s hands and feet. Close friends of bride and her women relatives also apply Mehendi on their hands for the upcoming marriage.

Wedding Light and Stage Decorations

When it comes to Indian wedding, the wedding stage plays a big role as it is a place where both bride and groom sit and all guests watch them. On the special day for the newly married couples, they should look exceptional than the usual days. Though bride and groom consider makeup and wear costly clothing, it is also important that the stage and light also add something extra to their charm and charisma.
Decoration of the wedding state forms a lot of importance in the marriage of all the religions in India. There are many rituals that occur on the stage, so its decoration should be done magnificently. The main aspect of decorating the wedding stage is to make the event unforgettable. The stage or ‘mandap’ id decorated as per the traditions of Hinduism. However, the wedding is held in an open area. Most of the decoration is done is an ethic way. Nowadays, there are several wedding planners have come up in the market to take care of the decoration part.

Aspects of the Marriage Stage Decoration:

In current situation, a number of elements and amenities are applied to improve the marriage stage. The changing trends of wedding decorations offer an elegant and grand touch to the complete occasion.
Sitting Arrangement

Chairs are arranged in an appropriate way so that guests can sit comfortably and enjoy the food as well as keep an eye on the bride and groom sitting on the stage.

Lighting:

When it comes to the wedding stage decoration, the lighting plays a crucial role. With the help of a proper lighting, the entire environment of the marriage gets flourished.

Traditional Indian Village Marriages

Indian village marriages have a great value in the country’s culture. Wedding is an essential event in Indian society. All types of economical and social obligations are conducted in wedding ceremonies. Many relatives, friends and other guests are invited to be a part of the marriage. A lot of efforts are put in to make proper arrangements. Parents of the bride and groom spend their whole life’s savings on it.

Marriage ceremonies especially in villages have unique charisma than the urban areas. In metropolitan, it is difficult to find the true Indian culture and marriage rituals. Village life in India is more influenced by the tradition and cultural activities that can be seen in the wedding ceremonies as well. Love marriage is rare is villages. Mostly, parents select bride and groom for their children. Arranged marriage is also related to the Indian culture where parents choose their children’s life partners after examining every possible thing that can make their kid’s life better and secure.

In villages, wedding customs and rituals are followed in comprehensive manner. Unlike cities, where people try to follow customs and rituals within one or two days, in villages around three or more days are taken to undergo this process. All members of the family take part in wedding functions. As almost all village marriages are arranged, most of the arrangements are done by the bride’s family. Mostly the venue of the wedding is the bride’s house or nearby courtyard.

The village wedding is celebrated for many days as the entire family gets together. The event is not only for the family but their close friends and relatives too. They gather at one place and enjoy some good moments. People from nearby villages also participate in the wedding ceremony. Instead of wedding planners like cities, relatives play their role to make proper arrangements in the villages. They ensure that the groom’s guests do not face any problem related to food, music, seating and other arrangements. Relatives and friends also divide certain work among them. They take big decisions as well like decoration, menu, entertainment, etc. Glamour is rare in such kinds of marriages, but there you can surely find enjoyment and fun. People participate in song and dance and have fun.

A few decades ago, girls used to get married in the pre-puberty stage. It was a forceful rule in the rural areas. However, nowadays this cannot be seen in Indian villages. Government of India has also set the minimum marriage age (18 years) for girls. The awareness among villagers is rising very rapidly and they are more concerned about their daughters.

Dowry system is one of the biggest social problems in India. Its impact can be seen in rural India as well. Dowry is a big burden for the bride’s parents. It is a big threat to the society. Government has come up with several anti-dowry laws but in vain. Hence, there are many disadvantages in village marriages. But this type of marriage is long-lasting and promises affection and love. It is easier to overcome the drawback with a lot of enjoyment.

In the last few decades, many changes have been seen in the Indian marriages. Several studies have showed that with the economic development and improvement in education the mind-set of people is also changed. Child marriage is rare and strong actions are taken for dowry chases. Though a lot of things yet to be done, the future of Indian village marriages is certainly bright.

There are some people in villages who fix their kids’ marriage when they are born or at an early age, but most of the parents wait until their children become adult. Mainly in Rajasthan, there are few villages where still child marriage is prevalent. Pre-puberty marriage of girls is common. Girls even get groom of double their age.

Wedding Acts in India

India is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country. There are several personal laws in the country. Hence different religious and cultural people have their individual personal law for marriage and divorce. This shows the true picture of unity in diversity. The Indian marriage acts protect the rights of citizens for marriage and divorce. Different types of religious marriages have different rules and regulations.
Hindus follow Hindu Marriage Act 1955, whereas Muslims follow the Muslim Marriage Act. Other religious people like Christians follow Christian Marriage Act and Parsees follow Parsee Marriage Act. They have own divorce acts as well. Additionally, citizens can also consider marring as per the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Under this law, people of any religion can marry. Formal marriage ceremony or civil marriage is performed under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

A foreigner, a PIO and an NRI including British, Canadian and American can get married in India as per the choice of religion. The usual religion marriage ceremonies are known as legal in India. But these days, the registration of marriage has become compulsory in most of the parts of the country. For immigration and visa purpose as well, it is necessary to have a marriage certificate. Different rules and regulations are formed for diverse religions.
Hindu Marriage Act:

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is applicable to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains. A solemnized religious marriage can also be filed under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. This act is applicable when both husband and wife are Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs or Jains, or either of the spouse has to change into these religion. As per the act, the minimum age of bride is 18 years and groom is 21 years. It is important to register a marriage as per the law despite of religion.
The Special Marriage Act:

The Special Marriage Act was started to make a special kind of marriage for bridge and groom in India. Indians or foreigners can marry each other with no restriction of religion. They can marry as per the preferred marriage ceremony, customs and tradition. It is necessary to register this type of marriage under the special marriage act. The act is prevalent throughout India expect Jammu and Kashmir (northern state of India).
Muslim Marriage Act:

As per the Muslim Marriage Act, Muslims organize the marriage ceremony accordingly to the mutual approval of bride and groom.

Sikh Marriage Ceremony In India

Sikhs follow similar types of wedding rituals like Hindus. One of the main differences is that Hindus perform wedding by using Vedic text and Sikhs do it using the holy book, Adi Grantha, which is known as Guru Granth Sahib.

Pre-Wedding Rituals:

There are some pre-wedding rituals in Sikh marriage. Let’s review them one by one:

A Ceremony of Bliss:

A marriage in Sikhism is called as ceremony of bliss or Anand Karaj. It means a joyful union wherein bride and groom tie a knot and pledge to stay together lifelong. First of all Rumalla Sahib (it is a set of 4 embroidered cloths)is purchased during the wedding shopping to cover up the Guru Granth Sahib. Uncles and grandparents of the bride also spend money for clothes, accessories and jewelries. They also acknowledge their contribution in the marriage.

Engagement:

A formal get together of both of the families takes place in engagement. The family of bride visits the home of groom with a lot of gifts such as jewelries, clothes and sweets. The father of the bride or any other guardian offers a gold ring to the groom, gold coins (mohre) and a bangle (kada). Afterward, these gold coins are threaded into a black thread which is offered to the bride. The bride wears it in her neck that is similar to Mangalsutra worn by married Hindu women. However, Sikh women occasionally wear the black thread.

The Wedding Veil:

Once the engagement ceremony is complete, the family of groom goes to the house of bride. On Chunni ceremony close relatives and a few selected friends visit. The mother and aunts of grooms present a chunni to the bride. Traditional Punjabi embroidery is done on the chunni. The mother of groom also puts on henna (mehendi) on the bride’s palms. Cloths and jewelries are also given to the bride.

As the days progress after engagement for wedding, bride and groom get enough time to know each other. Maiyan gives the green signals for starting the singing and dancing of ladies to the beat of drums (dholkis).

Vatna Ceremony:

This ceremony is held before a few days to the marriage. In the morning, a cream made of rosewater, sandal, a paste of turmeric and cream is applied on the body of bride. This paste is known as ubatan. Later on the bride is cleaned under a handmade cotton cloth known as Bagh. Similar type of ceremony happens in the house of groom as well.

Jaggo Ceremony:

Jaggo Ceremony is held the night before the wedding day. In this ceremony, bride’s maternal relatives get together. They beautify a copper vessel known as gaffar, with lamps (diyas). This looks superb and attracts guests. Mustard oil is used to light these diyas. The maternal aunt of bride put the vessel over her head. Other ladies put on a stick with small bells. This custom is also followed by Sikhs in cities and town as well. The women sing and dance in a traditional way.

Mehendi and Sangeet:

Followed by Jaggo Ceremony, Mehendi and Sangeet ceremony takes place. Henna (Mehendi) is applied on the hands of bride and other women in the family. They also sing and dance and enjoy their time. They love to apply Mehendi on their hands in different designs. A special type of Mehendi design is applied on bride’s hands and legs.

Wedding Day:

On the wedding day, the sister-in-law of groom and other women visit Gurduwara and fill an earthen pitcher (gharoli) with water. In the khare charna ceremony, groom takes bath with water. He sits on a stool to take the bathe and 4 girls hold a cloth over his head. It is one of the main ceremonies in Sikh marriages. Similar type of bath happens in the house of bride too. Once the bath is done, the bride wears the chura with twenty one white and read bangles. Her female friends and sisters tie golden metal plates (kalerien) to the bangles. She puts on the bridal outfit that is completely embroidered lehenga-chunni or salwar-kameez. A hair ornament called tikka is worn by the bride in the parting of hair and nose-ring called nath on the nose. Other jewelleries worn by the bride include a circular head ornament (chaunk) made of silver and gold, a gold necklace (kaintha), silver anklets (pajeb) and think bangles known as gokhru.

In the meantime, the groom wears his outfits to leave for the house of bride. Commonly he puts on a brocade ashcan (a type of long coat). The elderly male relatives of the groom’s family wear turbans of pick color. At the time groom is ready to leave for bride’s house, his bhabhi (brother’s wife) applies kohl (surma) to his eyes. Then he gives money to her with gratitude. This ceremony is called as surma pawai and then groom leaves for the house of bride on riding the horse.

The baraat reaches at the house of bride in the middle of music and dance. The relatives of bride welcome the guests. They greet the guests and offer them food and drink. Both family members share gifts and garlands. The groom goes inside and then female friends and sisters of bride tease him. A Sikh marriage commonly occurs before noon. Both families gather in Gurudwara.

Bride and groom sit facing the Adi Granth. There is a priest who informs them about all married life obligations. He chants the hymns of wedding written on the Granth Sahib.
During lawaan, both the bride and groom hold the end of a scarf. They walk around the the Granth Sahib and the groom stays ahead of the bride. Once they complete the 4th round, they are declared as marriage couple. Guests give them blessings and gifts.