Thursday, April 11, 2013

Marriage Rituals in India


It is a well-known fact that India is a melting pot of myriad different cultures and religions, which is what lends a unique flavor to this beautifully diverse country. Naturally, in a country with so much variety, one wouldn't really expect the weddings to be similar in nature. Marriage Rituals in India are vastly different and lends a special significance to the occasion of the wedding.
Most of the marriage rituals in India have evolved from the ancient Vedic marriage rites. A look at the process of Vedic marriage is enough to see that how the different wedding rituals all share similar elements, and though the names might have changed, essentially they remain the same.
The Vedic Marriage consisted of the following steps:

As a girl/boy reach the appropriate age for marriage, their parents start looking for a prospective spouse by matching the horoscopes to see whether the Gunas of the girl and the boy matched or not.
Nischitartha refers to the confirmation of the alliance from both sides.
Ankurapana refers to the lightening of the ceremonial sacred fire of the yagna
It referred to the oblations made in to the sacred fire.
It is the graduation ceremony for the boy
It is a sacred thread ceremony that all men have to undergo before they are considered eligible for marriage. It involves wearing a white thread known as jynau on the upper part of the body.
Kashi Yathra was the indecisive journey of the groom as he set out for Kasi for sanyasa before the bride's parents reminded him of his responsibility and brought him to the marriage mandap.
Considered one of the most sacred and pure sacrifices that a man can ever perform, this ritual involved the offering and giving away the daughter by her father to the prospective groom for marriage
Veekshanam is the auspicious moment at which the groom and the bride look at each other during the wedding ceremony.
It refers to the first physical contact between the couple as the groom takes the bride's hand in his.
It refers to the seven steps that the couple must take together around the Agni signifies that the bride and groom go together in all the seven planes of consciousness in performing the dharma

This ritual marks the encircling of the ceremonial fire by the groom and the bride seven times.
This ritual involves placing a thread containing the marks of the Vishnu or Shiva in the neck of the bride by the groom.
It refers to the ritualistic trading on the grindstone where the bride is helped by her husband as she places her right foot on the stone and moves her foot against it.
Here, the couple gazes out together on the Arundhati star as a reminder to the pair about their cosmic responsibilities that they have to perform in the coming walks of life.
Grihapravesam marks the entry of the wife into her husband's home for the first time
It refers to handing over the daughter to the groom after the marriage ceremony is over.
Sobhananu refers to nuptials which first take place in the bride's own house followed by in the groom's residence. It denoted the beginning of the sexual life of the couple.
It refers to the act of sex through which the mother becomes pregnant and gives birth
to another life form or the Jiva.
Indian Marriages are highly unique and each community has its own set of rituals and rites that make these marriages different from the other while still retaining the basic essence of a Vedic marriage in accordance with the Indian traditions.

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