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Visithra Hindu Weddings


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Published in: Art & Photos, Spiritual, Education

Visithra Hindu Weddings

  1. 1. by Visithra Manikam
  2. 2. Hindu Weddings • The many rituals of a Hindu wedding • In 2 parts - the formal event you get INVITED to - and the super fun ceremony you DON’T get invited to • I will also give you clues as to when each ritual will begin, who to watch and what not to do. • We’ll start the presentation with the ONE shot you must not miss at any Hindu wedding unless you have a dying need to be hunted down by 1000 or more relatives and friends.
  3. 3. The tying of the Thaali • This is the moment they become husband and wife, it’s like missing the exchanging of the rings in a Christian ceremony. • So you know what you can’t miss, now let’s go to the rituals.
  4. 4. Hindu Wedding – the formal • It usually takes about 1 and a half hour to finish but get there early as you’ll need to shoot the bride and grooms separate arrival, the décor and the guests arriving. • The bride and groom are not allowed to meet until the second half of the rituals. • There will usually be gals stationed at the front welcoming guests.
  5. 5. Hindu Wedding – the formal
  6. 6. Hindu Wedding – the formal • The stage will have a dais, the priest, the musicians, the wedding clothes, gifts, fruits, the thali on a turmeric streaked coconut, a kumbham – water filled vessel with coconut on top, the kuthuvillaku (lights), the homam container, an ammikall or stone grinder, a pot to hold the plant sap, the garlands.
  7. 7. Hindu Wedding – the formal The groom enters • The groom enters first with the bride’s brother as his best man. The priest initiates a few manthras. The one part you shouldn’t miss here is the tying of a blessed string by the bestman on the grooms hand. • Usually when you’re the head of a ceremony they tie this string or kappu kathuthal to protect the bearer of negative vibes and to signify they are the host of the event.
  8. 8. Hindu Wedding – the fun • Now 2 days before the ceremony begins there’s this ritual called the nalanggu where the bride and groom are doused with sandal wood paste, oil, turmeric and herb paste by guests in their respective houses. Then they’re given a public bath. • Would you believe they DON’T invite us for this??
  9. 9. Hindu Wedding – the fun
  10. 10. Hindu Wedding – the fun
  11. 11. Hindu Wedding – the groom • The grooms aunts and sisters will now do a set of rituals called the nalungu. This is a tame version of the fun event you weren’t invited to. They then plant a banyan tree into the pot of earth already placed on the stage. The banyan tree is planted to symbolize long life, strong marriage and branches of children. • Now you know why our grandparents had so many kids last time! The tree is replanted by the couple three days after the wedding. The groom is then presented with his new set of clothes to go and change.
  12. 12. Hindu Wedding – the bride • Once he is out of sight, the bride is escorted by the sister of the groom to be seated at the dais. She then repeats the same rituals minus the planting of the tree. You can figure them out by watching the priest give out instructions. So remember he is your friend! So get a nice shot of him! • The bride is then presented with her new set of clothes to go and change.
  13. 13. Hindu Wedding – the bride
  14. 14. Hindu Wedding – the fun
  15. 15. Hindu Wedding – the fun
  16. 16. Hindu Wedding – 2 nd Half • When the musicians start getting up, that signals that the groom is about to enter. When he reaches the doorstep, the best man will do the paada pooja a sign of respect. In olden days men and women wore the toe ring to signify they were married, hence why everyone walked looking to the ground, they were actually checking to see if the other person was single.
  17. 17. Hindu Wedding – 2 nd Half The grooms feet is washed and anointed with sandalwood paste and a silver toe ring is placed on the second toe. The groom then gifts the best man a gold ring. For all the work bridesmaids do we don’t get gold rings! Damn! The groom will usually be accompanied by his family. Sometimes little gals carrying lights accompany them but it’s not a necessity.
  18. 18. Hindu Wedding – 2 nd Half • Once he’s seated, the bride makes her entrance. She too will be accompanied by her family. Now take note the bridesmaid/ best man is supposed to lead, so place yourself on the correct side and don’t tell them to move. You’re just bound to get cursed everytime they watch the video! • One thing you can try shooting is the look of awe on the grooms face as she enters but it depends on how fast the brides maid decides to walk! Photography by Hari - Editing by Visithra
  19. 19. Paada Pooja • The groom will now pay his respects to his parents by washing their feet and seeking their blessings. The bride will do the same for her parents right after.
  20. 20. Paada Pooja
  21. 21. Nichiyadhartham • The parents then sit on opposite sides and exchange respect. They anoint each other with sandal paste and kunkumam. The parents and the couple join hands as the priest announces the marriage. • They then exchange trays to symbolize the agreement of marriage
  22. 22. Nichiyadhartham
  23. 23. Hindu Wedding – the fun
  24. 24. Hindu Wedding – the fun
  25. 25. Hindu Wedding – the fun
  26. 26. The thali tying • The thali (a yellow string with a gold pendant) is usually placed on a yellow streaked coconut. The yellow is actually turmeric. Turmeric is used everywhere as it’s considered auspicious and its supposed to be antiseptic. This is then taken around the hall by the family to be blessed by the guests. Some families have stopped doing this as they don’t want people to step on the rice. Rice is thrown on the couple as the thali is tied so be prepared to get riced! • While its making its rounds, the bridesmaid will take a light and head to the back of the couple, she is usually visible from the front but you might want to get a shot. Light symbolizes new beginnings and purity. • This is usually my favourite moment as the couple will be anticipating the minutes before they officially become husband and wife.
  27. 27. The thali tying
  28. 28. The thali tying • The tray with the thali is returned to the priest who will hand it over to the groom as he recites the manthras. So make sure you position yourself somewhere and you’re allowed to tell people to move. But you’re not allowed to tell the one women standing next to the bride to move, she will be holding the thali while it’s being tied so don’t go chasing her away. • The groom will be tying 3 knots. Hey they’re married!
  29. 29. The thali tying
  30. 30. The thali tying • Now the groom will take the kunkumam and officially hug his wife while anointing her forehead and the thali. The kunkumam is the mark of a married women so now you know! Don’t go hitting on a women wearing the red mark!
  31. 31. Exchange of Garlands • The couple will exchange garlands three times.
  32. 32. Agni Pravesham • Or the walk around the fire. • The five elements play a huge part in Hindu rituals, they must all be present. Water is in the vessel, earth is in the pot, fire is offered as offerings, air is ever present and later stars are shown in the sky. • The ends of the grooms and brides clothes are tied together as the bestman leads the couple around the fire three times. • After the first round, the couple make offerings into the fire from their heart, seeking the blessings of god and all the devas for prosperity, good fortune, and fidelity.
  33. 33. Sapthapadi (Seven Steps) • On the 2nd round, the bride stops and the groom is made to lift her feet 7 times until he places it on the ammikall or grinding stone. The stone symbolizes the hope that their union is firm and steadfast as the grinding stone. He then purifies and anoints each of her feet before placing the metti or toe ring on her feet. It is also a promise to all guest that he will look after and respect her. According to Indian traditions this is the only time the husband touches the feet of his wife. • The meaning of the seven steps • the first step to nourish each other • the second step to grow together in strength • the third step to preserve our wealth • the fourth step to share our joys and sorrows • the fifth step to care for our children • the sixth step to be together forever • the seventh step to remain lifelong friends
  34. 34. Sapthapadi (Seven Steps)
  35. 35. A little Game • On the third circle, the couple play a game where they must fish out a ring or shell. The one who gets the ring the most times is said to rule the house. • Ladies from both sides of the family will welcome the newly married couple with fire and also ward of negative vibes.
  36. 36. Blessings • The couple will now seek the blessings of their parents. Make sure you get shots of the parents from both sides and not just the side that hired you. I love shooting the brides fathers as they’re always the most emotional.
  37. 37. Blessings • Remember the strings from earlier, both bridesmaid and bestman will remove the strings as the rituals are now over.
  38. 38. Blessings • The grooms family will now gift the brides parents with a new set of clothes. • Guests are now free to come on stage to bless and wish the couple. So here’s the time you shoot moments, it may not seem important but on the long run people love seeing their loved ones there to share their happiness. You’ll score brownie points shooting these moments.
  39. 39. Blessings • Temple blessings • The couple may venture to a temple right after to do prayers depending on distance. • Welcoming • Depending on the couples requirement, you may be required to follow them home for the welcoming session. There the couple will be welcomed again with the arathi (fire). At home they will take turns feeding each other sweets.
  40. 40. Extra Moments • Indian weddings are super packed so you might want to tell them you want time to shoot them earlier itself so they can inform their elders as they are very time conscious. They can only arrive at the venue at a certain time, leave at a certain time, so time management is key.
  41. 41. Extra Moments
  42. 42. Extra Moments
  43. 43. Extra Moments
  44. 44. Extra Moments
  45. 45. Extra Moments
  46. 46. Extra Moments
  47. 47. Things NOT to do • Ask the bride and groom to pose during the rituals, they’re moving on specific times so it’s your work to shoot as fast! • Don’t ask the bridesmaid/ best man to walk behind, they’re supposed to lead. • Don’t falter or delay the rituals or ask them to be repeated just coz you missed a photo! • Do not cross over any of the items placed on the podium. • Do no wear shoes on the podium • Do not flirt or give out business cards while shooting, the couple will notice.
  48. 48. • SWAM is inviting photographers based in Malaysia (Malaysians and foreigners) to submit their photos for the inaugural photography exhibition themed BEAUTIFUL IMPERFECTIONS in collaboration with KLPAC. Submissions can only be made on Flickr. So check the link and read the rules before submitting.
  49. 49. Visithra Manikam THANK YOU