|Many Hindu Americans desire a wedding which reflects their native heritage. You must understand where relatives and ancestors may have originated from to plan the wedding reflecting your heritage.We have included many traditions from India and the Hindu religion. Please feel free to contact us with your comments, and any other traditions which you would like us to include. Enjoy!Wedding Traditions
The Indian culture celebrates marriage as a sacrament (Sanskara), a rite enabling two individuals to start their journey in life together. In a Hindu wedding, the multiplicity of creation becomes possible when spirit (Purush) unites with matter (Prakritti). The Hindu wedding lays emphasis on three essential values: happiness, harmony, and growth.
The institution of marriage can be traced back to Vedic times. The ceremony should be held on a day in the “bright half” of the northern course of the sun.Months before the wedding an engagement ceremony known as Mangni is held. This is to bless the couple, who are then given gifts of jewelry and clothing by their new family.
Jaimala (Exchange of Garlands)
Madhupak (Offering of Yogurt and Honey)
Kanyadan (Giving Away of the Bride)
Havan (Lighting of the Sacred Fire)
Rajaham (Sacrifice to the Sacred Fire)
Gath Bandhan (Tying of the Nuptial Knot)
Mangalphera (Walk Around the Fire)
Saptapardi (Seven Steps Together)
First step: To respect and honor each other
Jalastnchana (Blessing of the Couple)
Sindhoor (Red Powder)
Aashirvad (Parental Blessing)
Menhdi (Henna Ceremony)
Mangalasutra (Thread of Goodwill)
As the groom arrives he is welcomed by blowing conch shells, ringing bells and ululation. The mistress of the house touches the silver plate to the groom’s forehead and then the ground, and up to the groom. This is repeated three times, the groom is offered sweets. Water is then poured on the doorstep of the house as the groom enters.
The priest comes with an idol of God and in the presence of the family and friends the ceremony begins. As a part of the ceremony there is an exchange of the floral garlands and other rituals. While the ceremony is taking place, dinner may be served. After the ceremony is over, games are played and the couple is kept awake that night by songs, poetry and jokes offered by the family and friends.
and The Bou Bhat Ceremony
In some houses, the women wash the feet of the bride with milk and flour before offering sweets and sherbet to the couple. In others, the bride steps into the milk and flour and imprints her soles on the the mixture. The bride is then led by the women in the house.
The elders present bless the couple. Ornaments and saris are presented to the bride. She and her groom sit on a wooden plank and the Bou Bhat ceremony begins.
Women blow conch shells, ring bells, and take up wailing. The bride does not eat any food in her in-laws house. That night, the bride wears a new sari. The bedroom is tastefully decorated with flowers. The flowers and clothes come from the bride’s house along with the sweets.
Gifts are exchanged between the bride’s family and the groom’s family before and after the wedding.
A ritual bath of turmeric, oil and water is applied to both the bride and groom’s hair by married women. Both parties wear new clothes.The ritual of wearing conch shell bangles takes place at the bride’s house. These bangles are dipped in turmeric water.
Mariam Aziz, one of our readers, tells us that a Pakistani Bride wears red on the day of her wedding because red symbolizes happiness. Another reason why red is worn is because it is bright. No one else wears red that day except the Bride.
Covering the head during a wedding is a mark of respect to the deities worshipped and the elders present. The ghunghat, which is equivalent to the veil of the Christian bride, is worn by the bride.
It may vary in length, covering not only the head but the shoulders, back and almost down to the waistline. The draping may be done is several ways. The chunri, worn with a ghaghra choli, is tucked in at the waist on one end, pleated beautifully around the body and draped delicately over one shoulder.
An odhnis is usually made of silk with a tie dye pattern. The center of the veil is used as a head covering the ends taken carefully under the arms and tucked inside the neck of the abho or chorio (the upper garment).
The groom will wear a Dhoti, which is an unstitched garment, and a shirt. On arrival at the brides house he will change into another similar outfit. He will cover himself with a sheet and wear the topor (paper mache headdress).
The groom may wear a white silk brocade suit, sword and turban as his wedding outfit.
The groom may sport a safa with its flowing tail-end. Others may wear a nattily wound pagdi, or a topi. White flowers can be tied in suspended strings over the forehead, called sehra.
In northern, central and western India, a golden kalgi studded with precious stones is tied over the right side of the groom’s safa. In the center of the forehead sandalwood is applied and further decorated with gold, red and white dots. This decoration may also be done over the eyebrows.
Special thanks to Lois Pearce, Master Bridal Consultant of Hamden, Connecticut, for her time and energy gathering the majority of information used here. We also wish to thank the Association of Bridal Consultants for their assistance.
Please note that the information contained in this category should be considered general in nature. We believe it to be a true and accurate representation of some of the customs and traditions for this country or religion. Information provided by individuals and organizations is assumed to be correct.
Indian Brides. Provides Indian matrimonial services to Indians and people of Indian origin.
You are welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions for changes, additions or deletions.
Mariam AzizHow to Arrange a wedding; Neeta Raheja, Adishwar Puri, 1995 UBS Publishers Distributors Ltd.