Our travel throughout the rituals around the world continues, leaving Japan and moving to India, a country symbol of fascination, extravagance, uncontrolled dances, gaudy colours and spiced aromas.
The celebration of Hindu wedding is characterized by a sequence of rituals, in order to wish good luck and prosperity to bride and groom, and to unite the family too, which after the marriage will share an indissoluble bond.
Two or three days before the wedding they celebrate the Haldi ceremony: during this celebration the guests apply a paste based on curcuma, chickpea’s flour, sandalwood and roses’ water on bride and groom’s hands, foot and face, in order to light up their skin and wish them good luck.
The day before instead, just like a bachelorette party, the bride with her female friends and relative decorate her hands and foot with hennè, within a technique called Mehndi, to celebrate the journey to the marriage. At the same time a Mandapa, a big gazebo, is built and decorate with flowers in the location chosen for the celebration of the wedding.
The ceremony starts with Baarat, the groom and his family’s arrival, that is honoured by the bride’s family during the Milni ritual. In this ritual each participant receive a marking on their forehead with red kum-kum, a powder based on curcuma and saffron.
After the families’ encounter and the adoration of Ganesha, the destroyer of all the obstacles, bride and groom go to the altar. The groom is the first person who enters and drinks a celebrative beverage. The arrival of the bride, dressed with the traditional sari, is called Kanya, and when she is near the groom they exchange the flower garlands, in a ritual called Jai Mala.
During the Kanya Danam ceremony, the bride’s father gives custody of her daughter to the groom, who promises to assist the girl in the realization of the three sacred nuptial objective: Dharma, Artha and Kama. At this point the Vivaaha-homa begins. It consists in the lighting of a sacred fire, essential element in the principal and central part of the ritual: Saptapadi (seven steps around the fire), in which the couple makes seven steps around the fire, each of them accompanied by a prey and seven promises. In the end the groom ties around her wife’s neck the mangalasustra, a necklace with the symbols of Shiva and Vishnu, that represent the emblem of married woman. This condition is also emphasized by the Sindoor, a red powder that the groom apply on his wife’s central parting and forehead.
The nuptial ceremony concludes with the Aashirvaad: groom’s family offers gifts to the bride and the guests throw flowers’ petals towards the new couple, that after the reception reach their home bringing with them, in a brazier, the sacred fire in front of which they get married.
If you’re curious to discover other traditions of Indian culture, just write to me!
I’ll be expecting you next month with a new ritual around the world ?
Desirée – wedding planner
Images from: Pinterest