-:Hinduism Wedding Ceremony:-
In India, the bridegroom and his family is placed in high regard. Therefore, after they get ready for the wedding the first ceremony which locks the seal is Tilak ceremony. It is usually attended by the male members of both the families. The father of the bride along with other associates visits the house of the groom. There he applies the auspicious tilak on the forehead of the groom to ensure that the he is finally ready for marriage and also that the bride's family has accepted him as their would-be son in law.
A small hawan and pooja also takes place, wherein the priest chants mantra to seek blessings of the Lord. After this the brother of the bride applies tilak to the groom as a mark of respect and acceptance. He then endows him with gifts such as clothes, sweets, fruits, flowers, garlands and token money. All the other male members of the bride's family such as uncles, cousins etc also perform the same ritual to state their loving approval of the groom. The ceremony is followed by refreshments to celebrate the new accord between the duo families. After this, the family of the groom also sends gifts for the bride.
It is one of the first ceremonies that takes place between the two families and the would-be bride and groom. The engagement ceremony is basically a brief ritual wherein the couple exchanges gold rings. This ensures both the parties that the girl and the boy are now hooked. This is why it is also called the ring ceremony. This is followed by exchange of gifts between the families like sweets, dry fruits etc. this is followed by either a lunch or dinner party.
In some families the sagai ceremony is clubbed with the engagement itself. This is another pre wedding ceremony, which strengthens the bond between the both families. In sagai, the bride is given jewelry, clothes, make-up kit and baby toys, by the mother of the groom. On the other hand, the groom is put tilak and given gifts by the family of the bride. A havan is also performed at times. Here also a lot of gifts such as fruits, sweets, clothes are exchanged between the two.
These ceremonies are performed differently in different parts of the country and are even called by different names, such as aashirwad ceremony, chunni chadana, sagan ceremony, magni etc. However, the essence of all these ceremonies is the same. Besides, quite often, the date of the marriage is also decided and confirmed at these ceremonies. These ceremonies thus, conclude with the blessings of the elderly and the Almighty.
Sangeet ceremony is held few days before mehndi ceremony and comes as a time for joy and merriment amidst the hectic hustling bustling activities before marriage. Traditional the family of the bride invites female relatives and associates for Ladies sangeet, wherein all of them sing folk songs dedicated to marriage and bride. It is accompanied by Dholak and spoon, for the tune and beat. After this all the unmarried girls perform dance on different songs.
Amidst celebration, ladies, crack jokes, tease the bride, merrily reminisce their youthful days and bless the girl for a prosperous married life. The environment quite often becomes emotional as the bride and her mother experience the pangs of separation from each other. After all the dance and singing is done, its time for refreshment. It mainly contains a number of snacks and sweet dishes. Women enjoy themselves to the fullest, making the environment light.
Mehndi ceremony usually takes place just before marriage. According to the ritual, the bride does not step out of the house after this ceremony. Mehndi ceremony is essentially organized by the family of the bride and is usually a private affair which takes place in the presence of friends, relatives and family members. However, the scale of the ceremony depends upon individual choice. Some people celebrate it with great pomp and show. Sometimes, the Mehndi ceremony resembles another sangeet ceremony.
Nevertheless, during the ceremony, turmeric paste is applied on bride's face, feet and hands. After this, the Mehndi application begins. For applying Mehndi to the bride, a skilled Mehndi expert is called. He applies Mehndi on bride's hands, arms, feet and legs. Traditionally, the Mehndi applied to the bride was obtained by drying the leaves of the Henna plant. Nowadays there are various types of Mehndi designs available in the market. Some of the popular Mehndi designs include Arabic Mehndi, Rajasthani Mehndi, Crystal Mehndi, Tattoo Mehndi, etc.
This also points towards the fact that Mehndi has become more of an accessory. However, no matter whatever might be its form, it is still an essential element of the bride. According to popular belief, the darker the color of the Mehndi, the more her husband will love her. As a tradition, the bride is not allowed to work in her marital house till the time her Mehndi does not fade away. This ceremony is primarily a women function, which takes place amidst musical beats of Dholak, with women singing traditional songs for a prosperous marital life of the bride.
-:Var Mala Ceremony:-
Once he arrives there, the mother of the bride welcomes him on the doorstep with a pooja thali. She applies tilak and performs aarti to bless him and to ward off any evil. After this the groom proceeds towards the main stage, where he awaits the arrival of the bride. After a while, the bride reaches the spot with a garland in her hands. Seeing this, the groom also stands and is given a garland. All the close relatives, friends and family members flock around the couple, for the ceremony.
The Jaimala ceremony begins with the bride trying to put garland around the neck of the groom. This is prevented by groom's friends, in order to tease the bride. To enable the bride perform the ritual, the associates on her side help her to do the same. This is one of the most awaited moments of the wedding as everyone enjoys the tussle between the two parties as well as the new couple. Finally, the groom also puts the garland around bride's neck. This ceremony indicates that the bride has accepted the groom as her loving husband.
This attributes to the fact that Indian weddings are around five day long. There are a number of rituals that take place before, after and on the wedding day itself. Mandap ceremony is also such ritual. After the var mala ceremony is over, the couple is blessed by the elderly people of both the families. This is followed by the mandap ceremony, which is performed under a canopy supported on four pillars. This is called Mandap. It is usually made of bamboo and is decorated with red and silver colors.
The four pillars of the mandap signify the parents on both sides, which toiled hard to bring their children up. The mandap ceremony usually takes place at the house of the bride or otherwise it is held at the wedding venue itself. All the rituals during the mandap ceremony are performed in front of the sacred fire and hymns recited by the priest, from Vedas. The main rituals conducted here are Saat Phere, Kanyadaan, Maang baharai etc.
In India, Vidaai is a post wedding ceremony, which takes place after the wedding rituals are completed. This means that after the seven pheras and kanyadaan this is the major ritual that takes place. During the vidai ceremony the bride is accompanied by her parents and associates, which lead her outside the doorstep of the house. Before crossing the doorstep, she throws back three handfuls of rice and coins over her head, into the house. This symbolizes that the bride is repaying her parents for all that they have given her so far.
Moreover, in India girls are considered the manifestation of Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth and prosperity. Thus, while leaving, the bride practices the ritual to keep wealth and prosperity intact in her home. This is the most emotional moment of the complete marriage ceremony as the bride's family and friends bids her a teary farewell. With this they also bless her for a happy married life. The father of the bride takes her to the car or the Doli and hands her to the groom.
After this he requests him to care of her and to forgive her for any mistake, guiding her constantly through their marital journey. The occasion presents mixed feelings as everybody is happy for the bride as she is going to start her new life but at the same time tears well up to think that she no more belongs to them. The pain of missing her and the joy of marrying her overwhelms the heart of her parents. After this the brothers and cousins of the bride push the car, to help her leave and start her new life. Once the car starts, coins are also thrown to ward off any evil.
This is a celebration time for both the families as they rejoice over their new accord. The reception ceremony also serves as an opportunity for the bride to know the acquaintances and associates of the groom's family. This is the time when the bride finally represents herself as an important member of her new family. Reception ceremonies are therefore arranged from the groom's side to make the world know that they have a new member and they celebrate her arrival. It is an extension of the marriage celebrations.
Reception parties are laid with sumptuous food to treat the guests a little more. It is accompanied by good music and ambience to add to the zing. Unlike all the ceremonies, the reception does not include any rituals. It is a light event which is basically organized to provide opportunity to those people who could not attend the wedding. Nevertheless, this celebration of this ceremony depends totally upon the whims and fancies of the groom's side. It is a matter of individual choice to organize a reception party, as it is not deemed compulsory.