One of the oldest religion and culture of the world, Hindu wedding ceremony is instigated under various beliefs and customs where a couple has to undergo many rituals during the entire marriage. As we know that weddings are made in heaven, and as per Hindu beliefs the bond is supposed to sustain for seven lifetime within an altogether pure and blessed union.
A Hindu wedding ceremony has numerous rituals that are performed step-by-step one after the other. On the foundation of Vedas, our life is divided into four different stages i.e. Student life, Household, Old Life and the stage of purification. Marriage is the stage when a person undergoes a transition from his student to household.
Given below are some of the rituals that are common to Hindu wedding to many castes or communities.
Lord Ganesha Pooja:
Hindus believe that any auspicious occasion needs the blessing of Lord Ganesha to begin with. Ganesha is believed to bear goodwill and remove all evils from the ceremony. Thus, his worship is essential and takes place during every wedding ceremony.
“Var” meaning the groom and his family arrive at the site of with complete pomp and show. Reception of the bridegroom takes place with chanting of few mantras by the bride’s mother who greets them with Tilak (a mark on forehead) and rice.
This ritual takes place before the beginning of the ceremony and under this ritual the nine planets are invoked to make peace with them and for them to give blessings to the couple for a happily married life ahead. Since Hindu wedding date is fixed as per the position of the stars, the rituals involving planets is an essential one indeed.
One of the sentimental and important ceremonies in wedding, this ritual takes place when the groom awaits the arrival of his bride and her parents offer her hand in marriage under this solemn ritual. After the garlands are exchanged during the Varmala ceremony, the bride and groom are seated opposite to each other with the holy fire in between. The groom’s right hand is forwarded and the bride places her right hand over his. This is called Hastmilap which is showered with flowers and some sacred threads. This ceremony marks a new beginning for the bride and confirms that she is no longer a responsibility of her father.
The Wedding or Vivah:
Here comes the longest ritual of all in the entire ceremony. The wedding takes place around Agni or holy fire and the entire marriage is proceeded by a priest who is chanting holy mantras to shower happiness in the life of couple. The bride and groom walk around the fire for four times exchange their vows of love, duty, respect and honor that they will maintain for the lifetime and the guests surrounding them shower flower petals to show their blessings.
Bidai or Vidai:
This is the ritual where the bride bids farewell to her family and begins her role as a wife and daughter-in-law. This is a most sentimental ceremony all across the world and signifies the ‘Goodbye’ for the bride.