The first main portion of the ceremony is the Kanyadaan which is when the bride is given away. Before the Kanyadaan is performed the bride and groom must enter the room.
The Vara (groom) is welcomed to the Mandap by the bride’s parents.
The wedding ceremony starts with the Ganesh puja because it marks the beginning of all Hindu festivities. The significance of this puja is to ward off any evil eye so that the marriage may take place without any obstacles.
Kanya (bride) is escorted to the Mandap by her close family members.
Kanyadaan is one of the most vital rituals in Hindu Culture. ‘Gift of a girl’, the literal meaning of Kanyadaan, signifies the custom in which a girl is gifted by a father to a groom. As a condition for giving away his daughter for marriage, the father of the bride requests a promise from the groom for assisting the bride in realizing the three ends: Dharma (living life righteously to attain salvation), Artha (money to live life comfortably), and Kama (never-ending love and loyalty). A dutiful act, Kanyadaan is believed to bring fortune and relieve the parents of bride from all the sins. In this emotional ritual, father places the right hand of the daughter in the right hand of the groom and the mother pours holy water on the palms of bride and the groom. Then, the sacred verses are read.
The ritual of seven pheras (encirclements) is considered as one of the most significant of the hindu wedding. The seven pheras refer to the ceremony of walking around the sacred fire seven times at the wedding. As in Hindu religion, it is believed that the “fire or agni” is the maintainer of life and all the Gods and Goddesses are always present around this sacred fire, so the bride and groom are required to take this ritual together around the holy fire that is believed to be representing Agni Devta or God of Fire.
Here, traditionally the bride’s sari is tied to the groom’s kurta. The first three pheras are completed with the bride leading and in the rest pheras groom leads the way. With each phera, they throw small bits of puffed rice into the fire, representing prosperity in their new life together. This is considered the most important part of the ceremony, it seals the bond forever.
- The couple invokes the gods for plenty of pure and nourishing food.
- With the second step, the couple prays to the Gods to give them the mental, physical and spiritual strength to lead a healthy life.
- The third step is for preserving wealth and prosperity in life.
- With the fourth step, the bride and groom invoke the gods for attainment of happiness and harmony by mutual love and trust in all walks of life.
- They pray for the welfare of all living beings in the Universe and pray for virtuous, noble and heroic children.
- They ask the gods to give them a long, joyous life and togetherness forever.
- With the seventh, and last, step, the couple prays for understanding, companionship, loyalty and unity.
This portion of the ceremony the bride and groom take seven steps together, again around the fire. As the couple circles the sacred the couple they make seven promises, one for each “step”. The significance of each sacred step is as follows:
Lets promise to each other that our love shall become more intense with each passing day. We will help each other in every possible manner. You will cook food for me. I will bestow my love and affection upon you and shower my goodness during this journey of our married life. I will treat you kindly along with lots of love, so as to keep you happy and healthy.
I will wholeheartedly accept your judgment. I promise you that I will fulfill all the responsibilities of your family with utmost care and dedication. I will take care of your honor and remain abided by your love forever.
Let us promise to each other that we will stand by each other forever. You will be initiating my strength and courage along with me. Together, we shall defend our home and family from all types of odd things and evil power.
I will always fill your heart with exuberant courage and strength. I pledge that I will utter only pleasant words. I shall be supporting you in protecting our family and children from evil powers. You shall love only me as your life partner.
Let us promise each other that we will remain spiritually abide by each other. I will look towards other woman only as my sisters. We shall grow and flourish together under the sacred and holy sanctity of God.
I will love you for whole of my life. I will consider all other men as my brothers. My love and respect for you will never fade. By virtue of my love and devotion I will remain as a chaste wife.
Let us promise each other that we will provide utmost aid to our elders and parents. You will bring fortune and sanctity in my life. May god bless us with an ecstatic life and healthy children
I will decorate myself with jewelry, flowers and garlands just for you. Euphoria of my fragrance will be bestowed on only you. I will serve you and please you in every possible way.
Dear, we have walked four steps together. By taking this fifth steps with me, you have enriched my life. May you be blessed with every happiness. May our loved ones live long and happy life. Please come and share my duties for all charity acts. Come with me so we can enrich our family and get blessed with noble, righteous and brave children.
I will be with you in all the circumstances. I will share your happiness and joy and I will also share your grieves. Your love will give me strength to trust and respect you. My utmost concern would be your wish fulfillment. I pledge to do all possible tasks to carry out your wishes.
My Love, you have added immense happiness to my life, by taking six steps with me. My heart is filled with joy. I wish to have you always by my side. May you be with me forever and glut my life with pleasure and peace
I assure you that I will always walk beside you. I promise you that I will happily participate with you in all your noble acts. I will stand with you to perform the jobs to enrich our mercenary prosperity and enjoyment. I will also extend my efforts for all your devotional duties
My beloved, we have performed seven steps together and now we have a single identity. Henceforth we would be incomplete without each other. Our existence is entirely devoted to each other. I am completely yours and you are completely mine. Our bond has become perpetual. May we have an everlasting marriage.
With the pious of seven steps, I have been privileged to be your wife. I promise you to be always truthful. We will love each other forever. All the promises we have taken during this holy ritual, we will do all the possible to carry out the same with pure intentions. We pledge to be transparent with each other
Mangal Sutra and Sindoor
The bride, seated on the right hand side of the groom up to this point, goes over to the groom’s left where she seats herself. This signifies that from that day forward, she takes the place in his heart, which is on the left side of the body.
In this portion of the ceremony the groom places a red powder (Sindoor) on the brides head for the first time. The sindoor is placed in the brides hair along the part. In traditional Hindu society, wearing sindoor is considered must for married Hindu women. It is a visible expression of their desire for their husbands’ longevity.
Groom also ties a Mangal Sutra (gold necklace with black beads) around the bride’s neck. In traditional Hindu society, wearing Sindoor and Mangal Sutra are considered mark of a married woman.
After the sindoor the ceremony is another chance for fun. It is considered very disrespectful for the groom to step off the mandap without his shoes on. Since the grooms shoes were stolen before he must now buy them back. At this point an intense debate will begin with the brides sisters in which the groom will bargain for his shoes back.
Vidai & Doli
During the vidai ceremony the bride is accompanied by her parents and associates, which lead her outside the doorstep of the house. Before crossing the doorstep, she throws back three handfuls of rice and coins over her head, into the house. This symbolizes that the bride is repaying her parents for all that they have given her so far.
The father of the bride takes her to the car or the Doli and hands her to the groom. After this he requests him to care of her and to forgive her for any mistake, guiding her constantly through their marital journey.
This is a fun and game portion of the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom will engage in a series of games which each have an inherent meaning. Some families will do this portion at the end of the wedding, while others will wait and do this portion with just the groom’s family at home.
Kangana involves untying the sacred red thread, which was tied during Baan on the bride and groom’s wrists.
In Jua, the bride’s wedding band is put into a dish filled with milk, untied Kanganas and some grass. The bride and groom dip their hands in the dish to fish for the ring.
Mutthi Bandh (closed fist) requires the bride and the groom to make a fist while the other person tries to open it. They both take turns doing this.
In Chhand, the groom is asked to recite some verses of poetry in this last game. This is his chance to be creative.