Hindu marriage rituals
According to Hindu Sastra there are four stages of life, of which Grahastha Ashram or married life signifies the second stage. It begins, when a man and a woman come together and marry. In India, marriage is treated as an institution, which teaches the actual values of life. Every stage in life has its own charm and a married life is no exception.
Hindu marriage rituals and customs: A Hindu wedding not only involves the bride and groom but the entire community, friends, family and relatives as everybody participates in their coming together of the to-be couple..
The mehendi party. It is believed that the color of mehendi signifies the essence of love in a marriage, so it is put on bride’s hand to strengthen that bond of love. The bride’s family and friends mainly celebrate this ceremony.
Among the other important rituals is the Sangeet party, wherein all the family members and friends of the bride and groom celebrate, by singing and dancing the night away. A large affair, Sangeet party is most popular among Punjabis, Marwaris and Gujaratis, although most of the regions today also practice this ritual. Ghari puja is also another important religious ceremony, which is performed on the eve of the wedding day at the groom and bride’s place separately.
On the morning of the wedding day, Pithi or Haldi, the cleansing ceremony is practiced during which the bride and bridegroom are pasted with turmeric powder in their respective homes, as a part of their beautification process. Talking about the actual marriage ceremonies, the Hindu wedding mostly takes place in a mandap or a tent, which is beautifully decorated with flowers. The main Hindu wedding ceremony is a long and elaborate affair, which lasts for several hours and is attended by a large number of relatives, friends, acquaintances and so on.
One of the most significant rituals the bride and the groom perform is the Saptapadi or Saat phere around a scared fire and light, which is symbolic to God. While the bride and the groom take the seven circles, the priest or purohit recites the mantras and speak of the real essence and significance of marriage. It is also during this time that the groom fills vermillion or sindoor in the center parting of the bride and puts mangalsutra around her neck. Both sindoor and mangalsutra have strong religious implications and are sacred symbols of a married woman. These were some of the rituals and customs, which were generally followed in all the Hindu marriages.