Hindu marriages are celebrated over a period of four to five days. Hindu marriages are highly traditional, lavish, and extensive and strongly adhere to the ancient customs and traditions. Hindu marriages are not just the bond between two people but also between two families. Moreover, it is considered an important religious practice. It is held as one of sacred sixteen sanskaras or sacraments. Hindu weddings are primarily divided into three segments that are pre wedding rituals, wedding rituals, and post wedding rituals.
Pre Wedding Rituals
Engagement, Tilak, Sagai, Sangeet and Mehndi are the pre wedding rituals of Hindu marriages. The Engagement is also known as Ring Ceremony, wherein the prospective couple exchanges rings. After this, the Tilak ceremony is conducted, in which the bride's brother applies Tilak to the groom and gives him gifts & blessings. Next is the Sagai ceremony in which both the parties exchange gifts. After that all are enjoying the Sangeet ceremony, wherein the female members sing and dance to rejoice the occasion. This is also known as Ladies Sangeet. A day before the wedding, the Mehndi ceremony is organized, in which Mehndi is applied on the bride's hands and feet.
The wedding rituals begin on the day of the wedding with the Jaimala ceremony, in which the bride and the groom exchange flower garlands in the presence of friends & family members gathered around the couple. All guests enjoy the mouth watering food dishes & also overjoyed on the tunes of songs. After this, the couple is taken to the mandap where the Kanyadaan ritual is performed. In this ritual, the bride's father gives away his daughter to the groom, while the priest chants mantras & all near & dear gives the blessings. After this, the Mangal pheras take place around the sacred fire. The couple also takes the seven vows called Saptapadi, and promise to abide by them throughout their lives. Then the groom puts sindoor or vermillion in the bride's hair parting. Finally mangalsutra tied around the bride's neck by the groom.
Post Wedding Rituals
The post wedding rituals are comprised of vidaai and reception. At the time of Vidaai ceremony the family of the bride gave her a sobbing farewell. Before leaving her parents house, the bride throws back three handfuls of rice and coin over her shoulders, towards her parental home. This is done to ensure wealth and prosperity remains in her home forever. On the arrival at the groom's house, the new couple is welcomed by the groom's mother, with a traditional aarti.
At the entrance the bride is asked to knock a vessel filled with rice. She then dips her feet in a mixture of red vermillion and enters the house, leaving footprints on the floor. The thinking behind this that bride is considered a form of Goddess Laxmi. After this, a number of wedding games are played to make the bride comfortable. Then a reception party is organized by the groom's family in the evening or the next day. This is organized to welcome the new member in the family and introduce her to the associates.
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