Hindu Wedding Ceremony

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Hindu Wedding Ceremony Introduction The tradition Vedic wedding ceremony is about four thousand years old. The ceremony is a religious occasion solemnized in accordance with the Vedas, the sacred scriptures of the Hindus. It is a collection of rituals performed by the bride’s parents. Each steps in the ceremony has symbolic philosophical and spiritual meaning. The Maharaj (priest) conducts the ceremony by chanting Mantras (bridal altar). The ceremony is performed in Sanskrit, the most ancient surviving language. Lagna, the marriage, is performed to unite two souls so firmly that after marriage although their bodied remain separate, their souls merge and become harmonious. They become spiritually one. Swagatam (Welcoming the Groom) Jay arrives amid much celebration with his family and friends at the doorsteps. Hiral’s mother welcomes Jay and asks him if is prepared to make the life long commitment and is ready to deal with the bittersweet experience that marriage will present in the future. He is then asked to brake a clay pot filled with curd, honey, ghee (clarified butter) and cottonseeds. The clay pot represent the world and the materials symbolize the different experience he will encounter in the journey of life ahead. Hiral’s mother then leads him to the Mandap (bridal altar) where the wedding ceremony will take place. Ganesh Puja, Kalash and Navagraha (Invocation to Lord Ganesh) The wedding ceremony begins with the worship of lord ganesh, the remover of all obstacles. Hiral’s parents attend the ceremony with jay, and the Maharaj (Priest) guides the rituals. The kalash (pot) contains sacred waters with coconut and flowers symbolizing the universe. Prayers are rendered to the kalash. This portion of the ceremony represents the worship of five basic elements; earth, air, fire, water and sky. The Navagraha (the nine planets of the solar system) are involved for their blessing. Kanyagaman And Manglashtak Hiral is brought to the Mandap by her maternal uncle(kanyagaman).A white curtain, antarpata ( a symbol of traditional barriers) is held between the couple. The bride’s relative (Mangalashtak) chant blessings. The curtain is then removed and Hiral and Jay exchange garlands. Madhuparka, Kanyadaan, and Hastamelap (Giving Away of the bride and joining of the Hands) Hiral’s father offers jay ghee and curd... ... middle of paper ... ...a necklace made of sacred black beads (Mangal Sutra), signifying his abiding love, integrity and devotion. Then he places sindoor, a reddish powder in her hair. The priest then blesses the wedding ring and the couple exchanges them. These acts represent Hiral and Jay’s new status as a married woman and man. Kansar Bhojan (Nourishing the relationship) Jay and Hiral feed each other four times with sweets, signifying their pledge to love and care for each other, and accept the blessing to have a harmonious marriage. Khand Saubhagyavati (Blessing from the married women) Hiral and Jay now seek the blessing of their parents and their elderly relatives by bowing to their feet (ashirvaad). Married women form the bride’s side bless the couple by whispering “saubhagyavati Bhav”(blessing for abiding martial happiness)into the bride’s right ear. Then seek blessing from relatives and friends. Vidaai (Farewell) The last ritual of the ceremony is a touching and emotional farewell to the daughter. Hiral now begins her new role as a wife and as a member of the Warner family. She throws a fistful of rice, so that the house of her children remains prosperous and happy.

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