10 Indian Wedding Customs Decoded For You
A typical Hindu wedding is full of traditions that bring together the two families of the couple in many sacred, meaningful rituals. The wedding is said to have begun as soon as the ‘Rishta’ is set. So lets take a walk through this journey that marks days of rituals filled with love, prayers and music.
1) The Importance of the Star Signs for the Wedding Date
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Before any wedding can actually happen, it is important to set a date. In Hindu tradition, there is normally an auspicious time which is known as the muhurta. It is during this time that astrologists calculate the way planets and stars are positioned and the effects this celestial alignment will have on the union of the couple.
The gotra or ancestry of both bride and groom are read through to make sure that they aren’t from similar families.
2)The Traditional Mehendi Ceremony
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This tradition is carried out in almost all religions and cultures across India. During the mehendi ceremony, henna or mehendi is applied in various intricate designs on the bride’s hands and feet. This ceremony usually takes hours to finish, so it happens at least a day in advance. It is believed that the darker the colour of the mehendi, the more blessings the bride receives.
3) The Traditional Haldi Ceremony
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This is another ceremony that has been modified by various religions and cultures across the country. On the morning of the wedding or the day before, this tradition takes place. The two families get together and spread a lotion of oil, water and turmeric on the bride and groom. This mixture plays a role in blessing the couple. An added bonus is the way it moisturizes their skin before the wedding.
4) The Importance Of A Mandap
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The Mandap in Hindu weddings is a sacred place for the bride and groom under which they take their wedding vows. It’s origin dates back to the Vedic period where this ritual was supposed to be performed indoors for the purpose of Hygiene. This tradition of maintaining the ritual between the four walls has been improvised into the modern-day mandap.
5) The Importance of Fire/ Agni
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The centre of the mandap is where the wedding altar is and a fire is kept burning throughout the ceremony. As a sacrament in Hindu law, the fire is kept as a witness and offerings are made to the flames.
6) The Importance of the Floral Garlands or Jai Mala
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These floral arrangements express the desire that the bride and the groom have to wed each other. This is usually a time where they flirt with each other or are humoured by the guests.
7) The Importance Of Tying The Dupattas
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An important ritual in North India, the saptapadi is when the bride and groom have a part of their garments tied together to indicate the union of the couple. They take seven rounds around the pyre, each round signifying a specific blessing they request of the gods. This ritual establishes friendship and trust, the basis of all Hindu marriage.
8) The Importance Of The Red Powder Put On The Bride’s Forehead
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Known as the Sindoor this red-orange powder is now the new status of the woman. It signifies that she is married. Her husband is the one to apply this powder to her forehead which is a mark of their new union.
9) The Importance Of The Mangal sutra
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This necklace of gold and black beads signify the blessings of goddess Lakshmi. She is believed to bring prosperity to the marriage and loads of love to the bride.
10) The Significance Of Throwing Rice
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During the ceremony, the brother of the bride pours rice into her hands, some of which slips into the groom’s hands cupped below hers, and then into the sacred fire. This ceremony is known the Laja Homa
These beautiful traditions make every Indian wedding an experience to be remembered always.