Indian weddings are lavish affairs and extravagant celebrations. Too many pre and post wedding celebrations make it a grand and majestic affair. Traditions and customs vary with regions, religions, caste and languages. But there are some which are common to all most all marriages. These customs and traditions have their own spiritual and religious significance. Some of these customs are:
Ganpati Sthapna takes place a few days before marriage. A Hawan
takes place with the installation of idol of lord Ganesha. Worshipping Lord Ganesha before starting anything new is considered very auspicious and fortunate that is why before any wedding celebration blessings of Lord Ganesha are invoked.
Pithi or Haldi Dastoor:
Soon after the Ganpati Sthapna the Pithi or Haldi Dastoor takes place both at the Bride and the Groom’s place. This involves applying turmeric and sandalwood paste to the Bride and Groom after which they are not supposed to leave their homes. This is done with the aim of cleansing and beautifying the skin and for that extra glow and radiance needed for the time of marriage.
A very important pre ritual, it generally takes place at the brides place. Applying of Mehendi (Heena) on the hands and foot of the bride is considered very auspicious. It is also an indication of her transformation from a young girl to a loving wife to her husband. It is also a common belief that darker or deeper the colour of Henna the more the husband and in-laws love the bride.
In this dastoor the maternal uncle’s of both the bride and the groom’s arrive with their families to their respective homes. The uncle gives cash, jewelry, sweets and other items to his sister and her family. This is considered as support and a helping hand of the maternal uncle for the marriage expenditure that her sister has undergone.
After the maayera ceremony in the morning, evenings mark the coming of Baraat. The groom is seated on a horse or an elephant, his family, friends and relatives come with lot of fanfare to the bride’s place or the marriage venue. Baraat includes lot of music, dancing and bursting crackers.
The entrance is decorated with beautiful ‘Toran’. Then the groom hits the toran with the neem stick. This custom is symbolic of warding off evil powers. Then the bride’s mother performs aarti and welcomes the groom and his family.
It is, now, time for the Var Maala
ceremony. Both the bride and groom stand facing each other holding garlands of flower after the exchange of garlands they are taken to the Mandap for Phere
Phere marks the most important part of marriage. The bride and groom together take seven circles around the sacred fire which is lit at the center of the mandap. The Pandit pronounces certain Mantras in Sanskrit. All the seven circles are symbolic of seven vows which the husband and wife take together to maintain marital happiness. These seven vows are:
The second step signifies that the couple would develop physical, mental and spiritual powers and would undertake all religious and spiritual functions together.
Continuing the tradition of worshipping family deity and keeping faith in the same.
The groom promises, to earn a living by righteous means and all the decisions regarding money and expenses will be taken by consulting with wife as well.
The husband takes vows to protect the integrity and respect of his wife, family and children.
They also pledge to take work of charity and social interest.
All business related decision will be taken in consent and discussion with the wife.
They also pledge to remain loyal and faithful towards each other and the husband promises that he won’t look at any other women with wrong intention.
After the completion of the Saat Phere its time for the newly wedded bride to leave her home and go away with her husband. Traditionally, the bride was carried in a ‘Dolli’
. However, these days the bride is taken in a car, which is again decorated to suit the special occasion. It’s a very emotional time for the bride, her parents, family and friends. She bids farewell to all and goes with her husband to start a new life.
After the touching farewell to the bride. The bride is then welcomed at her husband’s home. This is known as Ghriha Pravesh.
After this the bride and groom are made to play games which help them to understand each other better and also serve to the change the mood of the bride. Some of the popular games include: Pillow Talk
: In this the bride and the groom are seated back to back opposite to each other. A pillow is held between them and then the third person asks question to both bride and groom about each other. They have to answer with just nodding their heads. This brings lot of fun and laughter and helps in checking compatibility between the couple. Fishing the Ring
: The couple is made to sit facing each other and a bowl full of milk and water is kept between them. Then a ring is dropped in the bowl and the couple is asked to find the ring. Whoever finds the ring wins the game. It is believed that the winner rules the relation for the entire life. Unknot knotted String
: It is used to predict the future relationship of the couple. In this game the couple is asked to unknot the string with only one hand.