Wedding are very signicficant in India becuase they are more than just the union of two individuals, but they are the binding of two families; a connection that greatly affects their commuinty. Families were so deeply involved in making this connection that up until a few decades ago the bride and groom met on their wedding day. While a marriage for love has become much more common the connection it makes it still just as crucial to the Idian family.
This is the engagment ceremony that takes place months before the actual wedding. The two families come together to perform rituals that make the engagement official, the date for the wedding is set and the bride and groom are blessed by the elders of both families.
A traditional Indian wedding will last a week not just a day or two. The actual wedding ceromony usually lasts three hours. The cermony is held eitehr at the home of the bride or at a wedding hall.
This is a holy bath ritual in which turmeric, oil and water are applied to the bride and groom by the married women of the ceromony.
This is the ceremony in which the bride’s hands and feet are decorated with intricate patterns of Henna or Mehendi. It is believed that the deeper the color of the Mehendi then the stronger the love the groom had for his bride. After the wedding, once the birde is at the house of the groom, she is not to do any house work until the Mehendi has faded from her hands.
Which means music, is the ceremony hosted by the bride’s family in which their is music, dancing and entertainment, but the main focus is for the bride to be introduced to all of her new family.
This is the ceremony in which kumkum, which signifies prosperity, is placed on the forehead of the groom by the male memebers of the bride’s family.
The procession of the groom from his house the place of the wedding. The procession involves family member and friends. Traditionally the groom would ride a elaboratly decorated elephant or horse, but now it is more common for his to ride in a luxury car.
This is the main part of the wedding. It is the giving away of the bride, which is very similar to our western tradition of the bride’s father walking her up the aisle. The Indian tradition is for the father the give her to the groom.
The bride and groom are not considered married when the groom ties a sacred thread called mangalstram. It is similar to the western idea that the bride and groom are considered married once they kiss. The groom ties three knots symbolizing the three gods; Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshuara. The knots symbolize the grooms promise to take care of his bride as long as he lives. This symbol is similar to the vows said during a traditional western wedding.
This is the ceremony of the lighting of Aghi Aomam. Aghi Aomam is the sacred fire representing the fire god Aghi which the ceremony takes place around. The bride and groom circle the fire seven times for the seven goals of married life.
In this ceremony the bride and groom take seven steps together which confirms their eternal friendship. They take a sacred vow for each step. The vows are…
1. Together we will live with respect for one another.
2. Together we will develop mental, physical and spiritual balance.
3. Together we will prosper, acquire wealth and share our accomplishments.
4. Together we will acquire happiness, harmony and knowledge through mutual love.
5. Together we will raise strong, virtuous children.
6. Together we will be faithful to one another and exercise self-restraint and longevity.
7. Together we will remain lifelong partners and achieve salvation.
After the groom will put kumkum on the bride’s forehead, which is similar to putting a ring on her finger as we see in traditional western weddings, it shows her martial status as well as a welcome from the groom to his partner in their married life.
This is the final blessing. Women from both families whisper to he bride. The couple bows in front of the priest, their parents and elder relatives to receive the blessings.
This is the bittersweet procession of the bride and groom to the groom’s house.
A reception for the families and friends is very common after the bride and groom
The link below answers common questions asked about a traditional Indian wedding and what to expect at these events.