A Hindu Marriage Ceremony Mehendi The night before the wedding the bride and groom go through a ceremonial bath, to cleanse them for the ceremony. The bride will have her hands and feet decorated with henna- mehendi.
Fertility Wealth & Royalty – the couple are treated like Rama and Sita for a day.
Event image Quotes and meaning Bridegroom and his family is welcomed at the bride’s house The bridegroom is brought to a specially decorated altar called a ‘Mandap, offered a seat and a welcoming drink a mixture of milk, ghee, yoghurt and honey. He will be accompanied by all his family members Songs of blessings The bride and groom stand facing each other. A silk cloth is held between them by the priest and to form a curtain. Rice grains are distributed amongst the guests. Songs are sung and guests shower the couple with rice
Having a plentiful relationship – growth of the family Fertility Nourishing the bond between the couple Offering to the Gods
Daughter is given in marriage by her father Father puts the daughters right hand in the grooms hand. Father asks the groom to promise to be moderate in the observance of his moral duty (dharma), the earning of money (artha) and the enjoyment of good things in life (Kama).
Is to guide the daughter in law in life and the new household If a bad relationship is formed life can be difficult for the new daughter in law Symbolic exchange of gifts The groom’s mother gives an auspicious necklace (mangala sootra) to the bride
The sacred fire is lit and the priest recites the sacred mantras in Sanskrit The priest invites the groom to make offerings to the fire as certain prayers are said. The bride shares in this act by touching his shoulder. The groom says to the bride “ I am the sun you are the earth…… The end of the bride’s sari that hangs over her shoulder is then tied to the grooms scarf. (signifying unity – husband and wife as one)
Sacred fire used in ceremonies Goddess of fire – power, passion, light, anger, warmth Agni
There is unity between husband and wife through their sacred duties. The taking of vows. The husband holding his wife’s hands, says “I hold your hand in the spirit of dharma we are both husband and wife.” The couple offer roasted rice to the sacred fire. Mantras are then said – the ghee/rice in the fire is what energises their vows (brings them to life)
She is someone who is strong enough to hold her family together – a great responsibility What does this show about the character of the bride? The bride steps on a stone Which symbolises a rock and her willingness and strength to overcome difficulties in pursuit of her duties.
The first is for food the 2 nd for power the 3 rd for prosperity the 4 th for wisdom the 5 th for children the 6 th for health the 7 th for friendship The seven steps The fire is both a witness and sanctifies the vows. This is the main part of the ceremony. The couple walk seven steps around the sacred fire reciting a prayer at each step 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Bride’s brothers pour barley into the couple’s hands to be offered to the fire and to symbolise that they will work together for the welfare of society. The husband marks the parting of his wife’s hair with red powder for the first time. It is called soodar and is a sign of a married woman
The wife is vowing to be stable presence in her new family and for her marriage to be strong. Viewing the pole star If the wedding is in the daytime, the couple will look in the direction of the sun in order to be blessed, and if it is at night they will look in the direction of the Pole Star. The wife resolves to be unshaken and steadfast like the star. “ The Pole Star is Dhruva, constant. May I be Dhruva in my husband’s family.”
The blessings The couple are blessed by the elders and the priest for a long and prosperous married life . This will be followed by a sumptuous feast. When the bride enters the house of her husband’s family for the first time, she has one more ceremony to perform. She must kick over a metal pot containing wheat with her right foot so that the grain, spilt over the threshold, signifies she will bring prosperity.