Marriage is one of a series of holy sacraments in the Hindu faith, just as it is in the Roman Catholic Church. It’s believed that marriage has a purifying quality.
In India, the Hindu wedding ceremony, which is conducted by a priest, can usually last all day. Here in the U.S. , the Hindu ceremony has been shortened by ninety minutes , even though cultural traditions surrounding the wedding can last several days. It doesn’t have to be performed in a temple and is often conducted in a bride’s home.
During the ceremony, whether of a duration of ninety minutes or an entire day, the couple is instructed in lessons for married life. There is a frequent chanting of mantras, or prayers in Sanskrit, which ask for blessings on the union. A traditional Hindu mantra is “I am the word and you are the melody. I am the melody and you are the word.”
The bride usually wears a sari made of a single piece of red fabric embroidered in gold. She is also adorned with 24-karat-gold jewelry, presented to her by the groom’s family. The groom usually wears white trousers, a tunic, and a ceremonial hat. However, since this groom is Mexican he will wear a Mariachi outfit.
At the beginning of the service, the bride and groom are seated under a canopy, which is called mandaps where garlands of flowers are exchanged. After emphasizing the importance of marriage, the priest ties the couple’s right hands together with cord and sprinkles holy water over them. The bride’s father then gives his daughter to the groom. A sacred flame is lit, and the bride and groom make an offer of rice to symbolize their hope of fertility. Here’s the most important part of the service, “The Seven Steps”. The marriage is not completed until this has been completed. The Seven Steps symbolize food, strength, wealth, fortune, children, happy seasons, and friendships. Together the bride and groom either take seven steps around the sacred flame or walk around it seven times. Once married, the bride and groom feed each other five times with little bits of sweet food, and the ceremony ends with prayers and readings.
As a wedding coordinator, this is what I have to look forward to on July 23, 2011 with Shantel and Audel’s wedding. Can’t wait!
Beverly Harris Weddings & Events