All weddings set forth tiny institutions regardless of cultural grounds on which
they are done. When it is Indian wedding, the emphasis is more on upholding this
aspect and all else, it is believed, will fall into place.
The customs on which Indian weddings are held bind the new couples to commit for
each others’ well being, in every aspect of life, till death does them apart. It
is really interesting to know how this works and what place the love enjoys in a
The Indian wedding customs begin with Kanyadaan in a majority of cases, but for
Brahmins and Kshatriyas it is Upanayana, preceding kanyadaan, which marks the
beginning. Upanayana is a custom to recognize the attainment of manhood (read
maturity) and that the man is ready for higher responsibilities for example
running a family.
Well, Indian wedding customs stand on two
principles which begin with the groom accepting the bride as his equal partner
for life and for all aspects. The oath ‘Dharmecha, arthecha, kaamecha’ by the
groom promises to the bride that he will see her as an alter ego (saha dharmini)
in his ‘Duties, Professions and Pleasures.’ The groom takes this oath
immediately following a sequence of rituals leading to ‘kanyadaan’ – acceptance
by the bride’s parents for the marriage. Even though acceptance on the day of
wedding appears ceremonial, it is customary before solemnization. Kanyadaan also
signifies that the bride no more belongs to her parents’ family.
What follows kanyadaan is exchange of garlands between the couple and tying up
of nuptial knot (mangal sutra) by the groom. Mangal sutra is a gold necklace
studded with black beads of semiprecious stones and one or two traditionally
designed pendants. It is this mangal sutra that ensembles a married woman in
India and married women will never remove it for any reason as long as their
husbands are alive. For a bride, wearing mangal sutra is a matter of pride and
promise of protection made to her by her groom.
The final solemnization custom is through what is known as sapta-padi which
plainly means seven-steps and it stands symbolically for all the steps the new
couple takes jointly in their new life ahead. The seven steps are taken by the
couple by going round a holy fire which again symbolizes that the couple had
vowed by the fire to stay together till death.
Different Indian religious groups, not excluding Muslims and Christians, may
have slight differences but all Indian wedding customs are built around this.
He’s finally popped the question and of course you
said yes. Now the work starts. Your wedding plans must begin right away.
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