Hindu weddings mark the start of a new family and a grand step to responsibility. This is an occasion considered to be sacred and auspicious, with ceremonies conducted in accordance with the centuries old Hindu customs and beliefs. Almost all the rituals are still alive and observed in today’s Hindu weddings. Different sects follow different steps in the ceremony; however, the following is the core of a Hindu wedding ceremony.
The groom and his family arrive and the bride and her parents welcome him outside the house where the wedding is to take place. They all have red marks on their foreheads. Formal introduction of family members is done and the relationship begins with the 2 families. Floral garlands are exchanged between the couple while saying, “Let all the learned persons present here know, we are accepting each other willingly, voluntarily, and pleasantly. Our hearts are concordant and united like waters.”
In this part, the groom is taken to an altar (mandap) and given a seat and a drink to welcome him. The drink is milk, ghee, yoghurt, honey and sugar mixed together.
Gau Daan and Kanya Pratigrahan
Gau is cow in English and Daan is donation. This is the portion where exchange of gifts particularly clothing and ornaments is done. The mother of the groom presents the bride with a necklace (mangala sootra), which tells the marital status of a Hindu woman. Kanya means daughter, Pratigraham is the part where the couples exchange responsiveness. The bride’s father likewise declares that the groom has been accepted by his daughter and requests the groom’s family to do the same.
The sacred mantra is recited by the priest (purokit) in Sanskrit, and a fire is lit where oblations are offered while prayers are recited. The words “id na mama” which transcribes to “it’s not for me” is repeatedly said after the offerings. This ritual teaches that selflessness is a virtue that is necessary in running a family.
This is the part of ceremony where the husband holds his wife’s hands and say.” I hold your hand in the spirit of Dharma; we are both husband and wife”.
The bride climbs over a stone, to show that she is willing and strong enough to overcome the difficulties that may come to her married life. Then the couple walk around the fire four times; the bride leads the first three times and the husband leads the last time. The husband puts a red kumkum powder on his wife’s forehead. The mark is called “sindoor” and it is the mark that a Hindu woman is already married.
This is the legal and main part of the Hindu wedding ceremony. The husband and wife walk 7 steps, saying a prayer with every step. The 7 prayers are recited for these purposes: food, strength, prosperity, wisdom, progeny, health and friendship. In some places, the bride uses her toe to touch 7 stones or nuts, instead of walking the 7 steps. After this ceremony, a matrimonial knot will be tied.
Surya Darshan and Dhruva Darshan
The couple will look at the Sun hoping to be blessed with creative life. Then they both look to the direction of the polar star (Dhruva). They promise themselves to remain steadfast and unshaken like the polar star.
Finally, the couple gets the blessings of the priest and the elders of both families and they are wished to have family life that is long and prosperous.
The Wedding Attire
Hindu brides arrive at the wedding venue in an outfit bought by her parents. For the ceremony, she changes into a saree colored red, white and gold. This saree is provided by the groom. It is important for the bride to change clothes because it signifies the transfer of responsibility from the bride’s parents to the groom. The bride also has accessories such as gold jewelry and flower garlands. The groom, on the other hand, wears a gold embellished white shirt and with either a sarong or pants. He may wear a turban (safa) and/or a necklace.(khanta).
Food is always a part of any Hindu wedding ceremony – before, during and after. For weddings that span a week or a few days, food festivities are included each day, and guests feast on curry, creamy rice, pastas, roasted potatoes and beans and other Indian staples.
Small Banquet HallsToronto
Usually, all banquet halls can accommodate large Hindu weddings. The Boulevard Room was designed to host smaller weddings. The maximum capacity is 110 guests